Home | News    Sunday 27 May 2007

South Sudan circulates $20 mln in new pound currency

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May 26, 2007 (JUBA) — The Bank of Southern Sudan has put 40 million new Sudanese pounds into circulation in south Sudan to try to standardise the currency used in the semi-autonomous region, an official told Reuters.

One Sudanese Pound

Teams of fixed-point and mobile currency exchangers in planes, trucks, four wheel drives and canoes plan to circulate an additional 20 million pounds in the south by end-June, the official said.

The pound was introduced in January under the terms of a 2005 peace deal that ended over two decades of north-south civil war. Many southerners saw the old currency, the dinar, as a symbol of northern Arab nationalism.

The dinar will cease to be legal tender on September 1 but two decades of conflict entrenched the use of at least four currencies in southern Sudan, said Kornelio Koriom Mayik, deputy president of the southern bank.

"The struggle is not to get rid of these currencies but to get people to hold Sudanese pounds," Mayik said, adding that people in border areas near Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia had become accustomed to foreign currencies and often saw no reason to give them up.

Ethiopian, Kenyan and Ugandan money will continue to be recognized as legal tender and exchanged for pounds until June 30. The southern bank or the Bank of Sudan in Khartoum will trade dinars for pounds until end-August, after which those seeking to exchange money will have to file a written request.

But Mayik said many traders would continue to hold on to large sums of foreign money in order to buy goods for import. He said the bank has also had to bring in machines for detecting fraudulent notes that are being brought into southern markets.

"These people are intelligent and are taking the fake money to the countryside where the common man does not know the difference," he said.

(Reuters)

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