The Reserve Bank of Fiji’s new awareness campaign promoting the modernization of coins and the elimination of the one and two cent coins began in September and was further clarified Friday by Governor Savenaca Narube.
The issuance of Fiji’s two smallest coins ceased as of Monday, October 13, and were eliminated because of lack of use, according to the Governor.
"The major reason why the circulation of one and two cents will cease is not so much because of the cost of minting them but more so because these coins hardly circulate any longer.
Due to the rise in incomes and prices, these coins have lost their value and therefore when issued into circulation they do not change hands or circulate like other denominations. Instead, as we all do, we accumulate them in jars, bottles and containers at our homes and offices.
This signals clearly to us that their value is virtually insignificant and people do not need them any longer. The cost of minting them therefore becomes an unnecessary burden."
Narube said that Fiji will save over $5 million during the next seven to ten years by not minting the coins, plus a reduction in coin handling and storage costs.
In further changes, the Fiji Reserve Bank introduced five new coins — 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent and $1 — that are smaller, lighter and composed of less expensive metals.
"The structure and composition of a country’s currency is not a static issue. It is a dynamic one. It needs to be reviewed over time to take into account changes in spending patterns, consumer behaviour, inflation, rise in income, advance in technology, the cost of minting and the experiences around the globe. We have taken all these into account in this instance," said Narube.
"It should also be reassuring to know that Fiji is not alone in this area. We have learned a lot from the experiences of Australia and New Zealand who have already dropped the one and two cents from their coin structure. As these countries have clearly demonstrated, there is really no practical need to keep a continuous series of coins except perhaps in theory," he added.
Although the 1 and 2-cent coins have been eliminated, they are still legal tender and will be accepted for payment until March 31, 2009.