MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has started the decommissioning process of its two 40-year old banknotes printers as the new Japanese-made P1.8-billion “superline” machine are awaiting full assembly.
There were some delays in the programming of the new printer despite that its commissioning started as scheduled at the end of the first quarter, according to sources based at the BSP’s Security Printing Complex.
Two of the four 35 to 39-year-old banknotes printers at the BSP’s Quezon City printing plant are currently undergoing decommissioning procedures.
The central bank is already printing the 20-piso and 50-piso New Generation Currency (NGC) banknotes while the higher-denominated notes or 100-piso and above will still be printed by foreign companies.
BSP Deputy Governor Juan de Zuñiga Jr. said earlier that the existing printers at SPC only have the capacity to print the 20-piso and 50-piso NGCs, on top of the New Design Series (NDS) or the “old” banknotes printed and circulated before the NGCs were introduced.
Based on Monetary Board documents, the NDS will still be printed until next year as the SPC have remaining stocks of NDS paper and ink at the printing complex.
For this year, the SPC will print one billion pieces of NDS and supposedly, another one billion pieces of lower-denominated NGCs. The 500-piso and 1,000-piso will still be outsourced to foreign printers.
The BSP will continue to circulate both NGC and NDS this year and 2013. The call for fully replacing NDS is expected to be made by the end of next year.
In a previous report, Zuñiga said they plan to release the bidding documents for the purchase of a new P1.7-billion superline printer and finishing equipment by the end of the third quarter.
The new budget for the second superline printer has been approved by the Monetary Board. The first banknote printer, which they purchased last year cost P1.8 billion from manufacturer Komori Corp. of Japan.
The SPC is also implementing a major reorganization. The P200-million program will cover the Banknotes and Securities Printing Department, Mint and Refinery Operations Department, Department of General Services and the office of the Managing Director.
The restructuring and overhaul of operations is expected to improve production planning and coordination, mitigate operational risks and to standardize customer relations management.
There is a requirement for additional workers to man the banknotes printing facilities. At the moment the SPC banknotes’ areas have four production lines but the number of workers is only enough for one shift capacity. A single shift will produce 600 million banknotes per year against a volume demand for 1.1 billion pieces annually.
Last year, the BSP printed 1.236 billion pieces of new banknotes, exceeding its target of one billion pieces. Of the 2.432 billion pieces ordered for 2011, it produced 74.3 percent while the rest were outsourced.