COLOMBO Feb 19 Sri Lanka is hoping to buy back
more than 10 tonnes of coins that its pilgrims have donated at
temples and churches in India to cut down on the cost of minting
new rupees, the central bank said on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka has used nickel and brass to its mint coins in the
past - sometimes for sums higher than their face value - and is
looking to cut costs, including by using stainless steel.
Tens of thousands of Sri Lankan Buddhists make offerings at
temples in India, where they believe Buddha lived more than 25
centuries ago, while thousands of minority Tamils and Christians
from the island nation also visit their neighbour's Hindu
temples and churches.
Now Sri Lanka has sent a team to work with Indian
authorities to bring home between 10 and 20 tonnes of the Sri
Lankan rupees from the places of worship.
"Monetary value won't be so much. But if you going to mint
those coins again, that will cost us a substantial sum of money.
That is why we thought of bringing them back," central bank
governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said, without elaborating on the
Cabraal said the central bank would buy the coins at their
face value, not at their metal value, and may offer additional
gifts as incentives. The central bank expects to put the
retrieved coins back into circulation.
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Alison