The CBTT also plans to save money by changing the metal composition of the 5, 10 and 25 cent coins. No specific date was given for these changes but the bank did say “more details” would be provided “in the next few months”.
This would include, as stated by the CBTT, the “issue date of the new 5, 10 and 25 cent coins, details of coin redemption and donation drives, and publication of the cash price rounding rules.” The decision to stop minting one cents is likely to be met with mixed reaction, as some ‘Trinis’ have long regarded the one cent as almost useless while others expect to receive proper change when their bill says they are owed $0.01.
In a notice published in Sunday’s papers, the CBTT said “a single 1 cent coin currently costs 21 cents to mint and each year, the Bank mints on average 45 million 1 cent coin pieces.” Regarding changes to the metal composition of the three other coins in TT’s currency, the CBTT said they will have “a 90 percent steel core and less than ten percent nickel and copper overlay.” It assured that “the new coins will look and feel the same as the current coins” but said that this change, combined with the elimination of the 1 cent coin are expected to save it “about TT $15 million in minting costs.” Asked for his opinion on the matter, president of the Supermarkets Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT), Dr Yunus Ibrahim, said “without the one cent in the system, the pricing structure of all retail prices nationwide will be affected.” “Prices are going to have to be rounded up or rounded down, based on where the actual price falls. However the consumer is not going to take kindly to this because (they) are going to be asked to pay, maybe one to three cents more per product, just because we don’t have the one cent anymore,” Ibrahim told Newsday.
He pointed out that while some restaurants in TT already round customers’ bills to the nearest dollar “for the purpose of ease of business, (many) consumers don’t like that.” Citing the “logistic challenges” which elimination of the one cent would pose to retailers, especially when they have “funny prices” that must be multiplied by 12.5 percent Value-Added Tax (VAT), Ibrahim said the CBTT “needs to have a fantastic media campaign to ensure people understand why this is happening.” Newsday then asked if Ibrahim thought consumers would cut back further on what they spend, once the one cent is eliminated.
The SATT president said he didn’t think this would happen because over the long-term, “the effect of this is going to be neutralised because as much as you could round up, you could round down.” “So faith is going to have to be placed in the system but not having cents to give back people is a problem. That is to be discussed in the months to come, when the CBTT has their rollout plan,” Ibrahim said.
Meanwhile Gabriel Faria said “in principle, I’m not against the concept” but needs more information before commenting in detail on the matter as CEO of the TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
“I know that this has been done in other markets, (including) Canada, to reduce cost and to make things more efficient.
I understand the rationale behind it, so I’m not against it (but) I’d like to get some more details about how they (CBTT) intend to redeem the currency (one cent) that’s in the market before commenting in detail,” Faria told Newsday.