Tackling coin shortage through schools
By Bandula Sirimanna
The Finance Ministry is mobilising schoolchildren to help tackle a shortage of coins in circulation. They are to be encouraged to break their tills and bring the coins back to circulation under a special bonus scheme devised by the ministry.
Minister of Finance and State Revenue Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said those who return their collected coins will be presented with stationery items including school bags, etc, worth 20 percent of the value of coins handed over as a deposit in a state bank. "If children break their small tills and bring the coins back to circulation we will give exercise books, pens and rulers to 20 percent of their value," Siyambalapitiya said. They could even opt to swap the coins for currency notes and get an extra 20 percent of the coins’ value.
The Central Bank says coins worth hundreds of millions of rupees are held in tills and collection boxes in temples and places of religious worship and replacing them with new coins is an expensive exercise. Siyambalapitiya said around Rs 220 million worth of coins are stored in homes or children’s tills and collection boxes of temples. There is Rs 5.3 billion worth of coins in circulation in the island.