Feb 20, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s central bank is battling to keep the country supplied with coins as metal prices go up and coins disappear from circulation into piggy banks and places of worship. The Central Bank estimates that 20 to 30 tonnes of Sri Lankan coins are accumulated at Temples and Churches in India as visiting Sri Lankan pilgrims made offerings.
“We are trying to get them back,” Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal told reporters in Colombo.
“We are also encouraging devotees going abroad to use coins of that country instead of using Sri Lankan coins.”
Travellers are usually not expected to take coins out of a country and banks only exchange foreign currency notes, leaving the temples in a quandary.
Tonnes of Sri Lankan coins are tied up in gunny sacks along with other foreign coins at places of worship in India posing a challenge to get them back as they have to be sorted and cleaned first.
Cabraal said central bank regulations prevented him from giving more than the face value of the coins but they were looking into the possibility of engaging in some charity activity.
The bank is also sending officials to regularly coll