Bangladesh spends Tk 500cr on printing currency
Bangladesh has to spend around Tk 500 crore to print new currency notes and coins a year, a figure that may puzzle many people including policymakers.
The expenses include costs of printing materials, paper, ink, colour and security thread.
The costs have been increasing fast and have doubled in the last five years to keep up with the demand amid the rising economic growth.
"We are encouraging electronic payments so that the dependence on cash goes down," a BB official said.
As part of the effort, the banking regulator is now offering licences to the electronic payment gateways.
The BB move has also encouraged commercial banks, as they are introducing mobile apps to promote cashless transactions.
United Commercial Bank (UCB), a first generation private bank established in 1983, has launched a state-of-the-art mobile application that seeks to make banking more convenient for its customers.
UCB is the first bank to introduce mobile app in the country to integrate wallets, shopping, payments and banking.
"As a bank, we want to keep up with the trends of the digital age," said Abdullah Al Mamoon, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of UCB.
"As part of the plan, UCB has launched the mobile app Upay to make banking easier and give our customers greater value."
People can buy goods and services and top up their mobile phones with these apps and e-commerce channels, he said.
These will also enable people to exchange money and make payments for purchases, utilities and other services, Mamoon said.
Bangladesh Bank believes more technology-driven banking services and e-commerce channels will help them reduce currency printing costs.
"If we can bring down the currency printing cost by 20 percent, it will save us Tk 100 crore," said the BB official.
At present, the central bank has to spend Tk 0.95 on a one-taka coin and Tk 1.2 on a two-taka coin. A five-taka coin costs nearly Tk 2.
Bangladesh's largest denomination of currency is Tk 1,000, which costs around Tk 8, while a Tk 500 note costs around Tk 7 and a Tk 100 note nearly Tk 5.
Tk 50 and Tk 20 notes cost Tk 3 each while the Tk 10 and Tk 5 notes cost Tk 2.2 and Tk 2 respectively.