Currency

1I have a damaged banknote. What can I do?
Banknotes can become accidentally torn or damaged in a number of different ways. This doesn't render them worthless because you can send them to the Central Bank for reimbursement.
2How do I exchange withdrawn coins? Is there a limit on the amount of withdrawn coins I can exchange?
All Eswatini coins keep their face value for all time. If your local bank, retail store or Post Ofce is not willing to accept these coins, then they can be exchanged with the Central Bank of Eswatini in Mbabane. There is no limit on the total amount of coins you can exchange. There is also no limit on the age of coins you can exchange, so long as they are Eswatini coins. However, after 2020 the Bank will no longer take the old coins minted between 1974 and 2014.
3Do you buy old coins and how much do you offer?
Coins are not for sale. Eswatini produces coins for transitive motive only, not store of value. The old coins are only exchanged at face value.
4What is the exchange ratio for old coins?
1:1
5Is it legal to buy and sell Eswatini coins?
It is not legal.
6Are commemorative coins worth more than other coins?
Commemorative coins are different, some are for circulation while others are non circulating. The circulating commemorative coins have no intrinsic value, while some non-circulating commemorative coins do have value. Eswatini though does not produce the store of value coins. The primary purpose for producing commemorative coins in Eswatini is celebrating specific “events” only, not for sale.
7What is the purpose of dye in ATMs?
These cash protection devices spray notes with a permanent dye if an ATM or CIT van is attacked, marking them as stolen — and thereby making them useless to the robbers. The notes can be stained by green or blue ink. The dye could cover the entire note, be around the edges or on any part of the note. The amount of stain is not a determinant factor because even slightly stained those notes become illegal.
8How do I identify a dye-stained note?
  • Look, feel & smell - Dye-stained banknotes that look, feel or smell different than genuine banknotes.
  • The staining - bluish purple or green around the edges of the notes or across one side as though the notes have been dipped in ink.
  • Burning or charring - This may be as the result of the heat used in smoke systems.
9Do all ATMs have ink?
Not all ATMs have this ink, the banks are still in a process of implementing them.
10What should I do if I am presented with a dye stained note?
Do not accept dye-stained notes from anyone, but if you happen to have it in your possession hand it in at the nearest police station or Central Bank of Eswatini. By so doing you will play your part in fighting crime. Accordingly, any information you have regarding stolen notes must be immediately reported to the local police station.
11Can I redeem dye-stained notes?
A dye-stained banknote has no value, it is classified as a counterfeit because when the ink stains the note, the original security features are damaged.
12Can I get arrested if I am in possession of dye-stained notes?
Yes you can be arrested because these notes are proceeds of crime (there is no excuse for ignorance in law).
  • Dye-stained banknotes that look, feel or smell different than genuine banknotes.
  • The staining - bluish purple or green around the edges of the notes or across one side as though the notes have been dipped in ink.
  • Burning or charring. This may be as the result of the heat used in smoke systems.
13How do I see if a dye-stained note has been washed?
  • Bleaching and/or fading of a note, the absence of the watermark or foil, or a change in the feel of the note. This may be the result of efforts to remove the dye stains using aggressive reagents. In the process of bleaching the dye stain ink may take any color.
  • On R50, R100 and R200, the numerical on the right-side changes color to brownish and rolling bar effect disappears.
14Can commercial banks help me if I have a banknote that is torn, burned or stained, soiled, dirty or defective in some way?
Yes. Commercial Banks do exchange mutilated notes. You can also come to the Central Bank in Mbabane to change your mutilated note.
15If I receive a mutilated banknote from the ATM, what do I do?
Send it back to the commercial bank or to the Central Bank of Eswatini. We encourage that you do not destroy these notes.
16How much do I get for mutilated note?
  • FULL VALUE - A mutilated banknote with two thirds or more of the original note remaining may be paid at full value.
  • HALF VALUE - A mutilated banknote with half or more but less than two thirds of the original note remaining may be paid at half value.
  • NO VALUE - A mutilated banknote with less than half of the original note remaining has no value

Financial regulation

1How does the Central Bank regulate the country's financial sector?
The Central bank is empowered by the CBE Order as the regulator of the banks in Eswatini. Section 4 of the CBE Order charges the Central Bank with the responsibility to supervise banks, and other financial institutions to the end of promoting a sound financial structure. In its regulatory process, the CBE issues Guidelines, Circulars and Legal Notices as regulatory tools all of which flow from provisions of the Financial Institutions Act, 2005.
2What are the important Central Bank regulations that I should know? Where can I access them?

There are number of regulations that the CBE has issued over the years. Most regulations are internal operations and others are bank specific. Below is a list of regulations issued by the CBE which may be of interest to the public. These legislations are available in the Government Gazette;

(1) The Financial Institutions Act, 2005 Enabling legislation: It Provides for:
  • Licencing of banks
  • Protection of public against illegal deposit taking
  • Publishing and disclosure of information
  • Safety and soundness framework for banks
(2) Legal Notice No.62 on Bank Charges It provides for:
  • Publishing of banking fees and charges
  • Encourage banks to create budget to conduct consumer education
  • Setting banking fees and charges on cash deposit at zero (0)
  • Penalty for dishonoured cheques
(3) Exchange Control Order 1974
  • Provide for the regulation of inflows and outflows of foreign exchange.
  • Limits are reviewed from time to time.
(4) Guideline on Banking Practice This is a consumer protection banking code that regulates banking practices on issues of:
  • Consumer rights and responsibilities
  • Relationship between banks and customers
  • Opening of accounts
  • Closing of accounts
  • Card services
  • Fees and charges
  • Liability for loss
  • Recovery of loans and advances
  • Electronic banking services
  • Remedial measures and administrative sanctions
(5) The Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (2011)
  • An Act to criminalise money laundering and suppress the financing of terrorism;
  • To establish a financial intelligence unit;
  • To provide for the forfeiture of ill- gotten property and for matters incidental thereto
3When does the Central Bank publish legal notices and why?
The Central Bank issues a relevant regulatory tool in response to the following circumstances:
  • When there is an emerging risk threatening safety and soundness of the banking sector.
  • Where there is a new banking best practice that strengthens safety, soundness, efficiency and effectiveness of the banking system.
  • Where there is a need to promote and encourage a banking practice or culture that ensures safety, soundness and customer satisfaction within the banking industry.
4How does a legal notice affect a banking consumer?
The effect of a regulatory instrument relates to both banks and banking customers.
  • Commercial banks benefit from implementation of international and domestic best practices.
  • Safety and soundness which translate to efficiency and resilience.
  • Customers benefits by being able to access safe, efficient and satisfactory banking services.
  • The general economy of the country is positively impacted by an efficient, stable and effective banking system.

Ombudsman of Banking Institutions

1What does the Banking Ombudsman do?
The office of the Ombudsman exists to provide individual and small business bank customers with a fair, quick and effective dispute resolution process, free of charge. It provides an informal, easily accessible alternative to other remedies, such as litigation.
2Who is a banking customer?
Anyone who has a bank account with any of the banks licensed by the CBE and anyone who has used or accessed any of the bank products. It is any individual or small business who makes use of banking services.
3How do I lodge a complaint?
Complaints may be lodged through the Ombudsman Office, either typed or handwritten and may be mailed to 546 Mbabane) hand delivered or emailed to ombudsman@centralbank.org.sz.
4What nature of complaints does the Ombudsman consider?
The Ombudsman may consider a dispute brought by or on behalf of a customer or prospective customer of a bank. Is a small business, including a sole proprietor or trader, a juristic person, partnership or trust, that had a turnover in the last financial year of less than E5million or is an executor or beneficiary of a trust or estate in respect of which a banking service has been provided.
5What are my rights as a bank customer?
Your right is to receive the banking service that is the subject of the dispute or advice given by the bank's own staff, either in relation to the bank's own products or to the products of other institutions;
6Why lodge a complaint?
If a customer has tried unsuccessfully to resolve the dispute through approaches to the bank's management or its internal complaints handling section or the complaint has been repudiated, or there has been an undue delay by the bank in resolving the complaint.
7I have an agreement with my former business (or life) partner that they will make the payments on a loan that I was previously liable for. Now the bank is chasing me because my former partner is behind on the payments. Can I complain to the Financial Service Ombudsman?
That depends on whether the bank was part of the agreement you made with your former partner. If the agreement was just between you and your former partner, then the bank does not have to follow the terms of the agreement. You are still ultimately responsible for the loan, and the bank can still require you to make the payments. In these circumstances, we could only consider your request for assistance if you are in financial difficulty.
8When will one's complaint not be considered by the Ombudsman?
If the amount involved exceeds E2 million is part of a larger claim by the complainant against the bank involving more than E2 million unless the complainant agrees to limit the claim to E2 million; or together with another claim which the complainant could make against the bank would add up to a total of more than E2 million, unless the other claim is separate or unrelated.

Moreover, if the time limit of a complaint or dispute that relates to an act or omission occurred more than two years prior to the date when the complaint was lodged with the Ombudsman or the period of two years commences on the date on which the complainant became aware or ought reasonably to have become aware of such occurrence, whichever occurs first.

The Ombudsman may still consider a dispute lodged after the two-year time limit if the Ombudsman considers that these exceptional circumstances apply;
  • Falls within the jurisdiction of any statutory ombudsman as defined by their enabling legislation; or
  • is based on the same event and facts as any matter which is, was, or becomes, the subject of any proceedings in any court, tribunal or regulator or other independent dispute resolving body or an investigation by a statutory ombudsman of any jurisdiction, unless the proceedings were instituted by the bank and the OOBS has considered it appropriate to intervene and is not prohibited from doing so under any law.
  • is under consideration by a legal practitioner, whether or not with a view to instituting legal proceedings, unless the Ombudsman determines that the involvement of a legal practitioner is appropriate in the circumstances
  • would more appropriately be dealt with by a court of law or through any other dispute resolution process.
9What are unreasonable complainants?
The Ombudsman may, at the Ombudsman's sole discretion, determine that a dispute should not be considered on the grounds that the complainant is pursuing it:
  • In an unreasonable manner
  • In a frivolous, vexatious, offensive, threatening or abusive manner. For example, complaints that amount to an abuse of process. They include complaints where the purpose is not to seek resolution or redress from a bank. Another example is a complainant who is on a “shing expedition” to obtain information for use in court or other proceedings.
The Ombudsman recognises that complainants may express their views in emotionally loaded, intemperate and even hostile terms. Though undesirable and likely to make consideration of a complaint difficult, it is not in itself sufficient to amount to unreasonableness. However, persistent threatening or abusive behaviour crosses the line.
10When does the Ombudsman or complaint terminate a complaint?
The Ombudsman may terminate its consideration of a complaint if the complainant acts in this way towards staff or any other party involved in the complaint.

A complainant may, at any time prior to the issuing of a determination, terminate the Ombudsman's handling of the complaint and resort to litigation or other dispute resolution process by withdrawing the complaint in writing.

The Ombudsman may decline or suspend the handling of complaints where he deems that he cannot provide a solution. For example, on grounds of complexity, or where there appears no prospect for the Ombudsman procedures proving a solution.
11When will one's complaint not be considered by the Ombudsman?
  • When the amount involved exceeds E2 million.
  • When it is part of a larger claim by the complainant against the bank involving more than E2 million.

Development Finance

1How does the SSELGS Works?
The Small Scale Loan Guarantee Scheme (SSELGS) is a loan guarantee scheme that encourages participating financial institutions, especially the commercial banks namely, First National Bank, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Eswatini Development and Savings Bank to increase lending to small-medium scale enterprises (SMEs) of Eswatini, by reducing the financial risk to be taken by these financing institutions. The SSELGS was established by the Eswatini Government in the early 1990s and placed at the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) for administrative purposes. The SSELGS is managed under the Development Finance Division. The mother Ministry of the SSELGS is the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade (MCIT).
2How do I access the SSELGS or ECGS?
The Small Scale Loan Guarantee Scheme (SSELGS) and Export Credit Guarantee Scheme (ECGS) are accessible through the participating financing institutions.
3Does Central Bank issue loans?
No, only the participating financing institutions issue loans to businesses whilst CBE only issue respective guarantees under ECGS and SSELGS.
4What are the documents I should submit?
Some of the documents required under SSELGS and ECGS are Memorandum and Articles of Association, Certificate of Incorporation, Trading Licence, Form J, Business plan incorporating cash flow projections and Financial Statements for businesses in operation over 12 months. In addition, under the ECGS export orders, contracts or letters of credit, shipping documents and invoices are to be provided by the applicant. Some more documents maybe requested by the financing institution and it is advisable to ask the respective financier for the full list of documents to submit.
5What is the maximum loan I can access?
The maximum loan that an applicant can access under the SSELGS is a maximum of E1,000,000 and loans under ECGS are up to a maximum of E3,300,000.
6What business segments benefit under the schemes?
All formal businesses are eligible for loans under the schemes.
7What would one expect from SSELGS in terms of: safety, income and growth?
The SSELGS is very helpful to SMEs in that it has lower lending rates of interest as compared to the lending rates charged by financial institutions in their different products that they offer for businesses. The lending rate of interest for SMEs is staggered from the ruling prime rate plus a minimum of 2% up-to a maximum of 5% depending on the risk profile of applicant as assessed by the financial institutions. The lower interest rates contribute to access and affordability of loans by the SMEs resulting in the growth of the SME sector and the economy of the country as a whole.
8What are some unique features of the SSELGS?
It provides a cushion to financiers in terms of security on behalf of the entrepreneur to better qualify for business loans. This has a positive effect on the economy in the sense that should local business people succeed in establishing viable projects, the GDP of the country will improve if SMEs are given adequate attention in terms of funding.

This could also reduce the unemployment rate in the country especially for young graduates since the SSELGS also facilitates access to loans for business enterprises set up by university graduates under the Graduate Enterprise Programme (GEP)

The Economic Policy, Research and Statistics Department (EPRS)

1What is the discount rate?
It is the rate at which the Central Bank lends money to commercial banks in the country. A change in the discount rate is expected to be transmitted to other market interest rates like lending rates and deposit rates, then to the public. The level of the discount rate (policy rate) is decided upon by the Governor in consultation with the Monetary Policy Consultative Committee (MPCC) which meets every after two months. The decision is taken after considering international, regional and domestic economic developments.
2What is the prime lending rate?
The prime lending rate is the interest rate used by commercial banks to lend to their most credit worthy borrowers. It is generally 3.50 percentage points higher than the discount rate.
3Does the bank forecasts interest rates and inflation, if so, how often are the forecasts reviewed?
Currently the Bank does not forecast interest rates but it does forecast inflation rates. The Bank reviews inflation forecasts every second month, usually concurrently with the MPCC meeting.
4What is the Bank’s inflation target?
The Bank does not have a specific inflation target; however, it has a mandate to keep it low by using the discount rate. The Bank pursues a fixed exchange rate regime in which the Lilangeni is pegged one is to one with the South African Rand. The peg is an intermediate goal for the Bank which helps the country to import low and stable inflation because the Rand is a less volatile currency and South Africa is Eswatini’s major trading partner.
5What is Balance of Payments?
The balance of payments is a statistical statement that summarizes transactions between residents and nonresidents during a period. It consists of the goods and services account, the primary income account, the secondary income account, the capital account, and the financial account. Under the double-entry accounting system that underlies the balance of payments, each transaction is recorded as consisting of two entries and the sum of the credit entries and the sum of the debit entries is the same.
6What is Direct Investment?
Direct investment is a category of cross-border investment associated with a resident in one economy having control or a significant degree of influence on the management of an enterprise that is resident in another economy. As well as the equity that gives rise to control or influence, direct investment also includes investment associated with that relationship, including investment in indirectly influenced or controlled enterprises, investment in fellow enterprises, debt, and reverse investment.
7Why a BOP Survey?
This is a quarterly survey that is conducted by Central Bank of Eswatini (BOP) staff specifically meant for companies and organizations with foreign assets (receivables) and liabilities (payables) and is conducted quarterly. Data collected is used in compiling Eswatini’s Balance of payments Statement which is published in the Central Bank of Eswatini Quarterly and Annual Reports. Data and analysis are published in aggregated form for more informed decision-making. Benefits include: 1. Early warning of, and responses to financial and economic crises. 2. Coordinated data requests and information sharing to reduce burden on the private sector. 3. More effective management of foreign exchange. 4. Compilation of statistics to meet international codes and standards.
8Why can't you set different Bank Rates for businesses and consumers?
When we change the Bank Rate, we are attempting to influence the overall level of activity in the economy in order to keep the demand for, and supply of, goods and services roughly in balance to meet the Government's inflation maintenance to a single digit percentage. If the economy is booming and there is a likelihood it could overheat, the MPCC would probably tighten monetary policy by increasing the Bank Rate. The idea behind this is that commercial banks pass on these increases through the interest rates they charge for all borrowing. Regardless of whether it is borrowing for businesses or on residential homes, rates will normally increase across the board, impacting monthly loan repayments. The aim of this is to discourage spending. A higher Bank Rate will also potentially mean higher rates are offered on savings, making it more attractive to save, encouraging saving and again discouraging spending. This would impact the overall expenditure across the economy by putting a downward pressure on prices, which would gradually bring down the rate of inflation in line with our target. Two different Bank Rates would not achieve this outcome.

Financial Markets

1What are Foreign Exchange Reserves?
Foreign exchange reserves are assets held by a central bank that are denominated in foreign currencies. These reserves can include banknotes, deposits, bonds, treasury bills, and gold. In line with the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) definition of official reserves, these are “external assets that are readily available to and controlled by monetary authorities” [International reserves and foreign currency liquidity: Guidelines for a data template, IMF, 2013]

In terms of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Central Bank shall be the sole custodian of public funds both in and outside of Eswatini. The Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) is mandated as per the Central Bank of Eswatini Order, Section 4(e) 1974 (as amended), to hold and manage the foreign reserves of the Kingdom of Eswatini. Further, in accordance with Section 31 of the Order, the Bank shall use its best endeavours to maintain the external reserve at a level adequate for the international transactions of the country. Adequate reserves serve as a pillar for economic and financial stability, as well as protecting the one-to-one peg with the South African rand. Hence, a healthy level of reserves builds confidence in the Emalangeni issued by the central bank since the public can freely exchange these for South African rands, if they so wish.
2Rationale for Holding Reserves?
The rationale for holding foreign exchange reserves differs from country to country. Since Eswatini operates a fixed exchange rate regime where the Lilangeni is pegged one-to-one with the South African Rand, a stock of liquid foreign currency assets is required to manage imbalances in the demand for, or supply of, the Lilangeni in order to protect the exchange rate peg. The Central Bank of Eswatini, therefore, holds reserves for the purposes below:
  • To provide for a liquidity buffer against shocks to the balance-of-payments and provide confidence to financial and capital market participants.
  • Maintain confidence in Government’s monetary and exchange rate policies; and align with the trilateral monetary agreement of the Common Monetary Area (CMA).
  • To serve as a store of wealth for the country.


  • Reserves Management

    The stock of official reserves managed by CBE consists of investments maintained mainly in South African rand and US dollar, and other foreign currencies. The currency composition is determined in line with the countries’ foreign exchange liabilities, which includes external debt payments and imports. Foreign reserves are managed by the Central Bank and invested in line with the Investment Policy as approved by the Board of Directors. Central bank reserve portfolios generally represent a conservative investment approach, concentrated in liquid instruments with high credit ratings. The investment objectives are safety, liquidity and return, normally in that order of priority.
    The investment objectives are directly related to the objectives for holding reserves, which implies that investments should be sufficiently safe and liquid to be available to meet potential demands on reserves. Within these constraints, investments should be geared towards generating a reasonable market-related return.
    3What is the difference between Government Bonds and Treasury Bills
    Treasury bills are short term and have maturities from 3 to 12 months, while Government bonds have maturities of greater than 1 year. These both pay interest at different specific times. The only real difference between Treasury bills and government bonds is their maturity length.
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