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South Sudan to change national currency

October 9, 2020 (JUBA) — South Sudan will introduce a new currency in a bid to control the hyperinflation in the country and the collapse of the exchange rate, the government announced on Friday.

A picture shows notes of the new South Sudan pound, which pictures the late South Sudanese independence leader John Garang, in Juba on July 18, 2011. (Getty)Speaking to reporters during a briefing about the outcome of the cabinet weekly meeting, the government spokesman and Information Minister Michael Makuei advised South Sudanese to deposit their money in the banks instead of holding it at home.

"So the cabinet has decided that the currency should be changed so that anybody who does not take the money to the bank is left out and will lose it," said Makuei.

"This is an advice to those who are holding money, South Sudanese money in their houses to hurry it to the banks now so that you avoid queuing up when the time comes for exchanging the currency," he added.

The minister said the decision to introduce a new currency was taken on the light of reports to the Council of Minister made by the governor of the central bank and representatives of the commercial banks about the financial situation in the country.

South Sudan which imports basic commodities and food from neighbouring countries has suffered an acute shortage of hard currency following the reduction of crude oil production and the sharp collapse of oil prince.

The dollar is selling for 500 South Sudanese pounds in cash transactions by traders in the black market in Juba, while the official rate remains at 160 pounds.

The cabinet chaired by President Salva Kiir formed a committee including the cabinet affairs minister, ministers of finance, trade and higher education as well as the central bank governor and representatives of commercial banks to set up a plan to harmonize the national economic policy.

The committee should submit its proposals to the next cabinet meeting with seven days, stressed the government spokesman.

It is not clear if the costly currency change process will be immediately or gradually implemented.

Makuei pointed to the need to produce food at home, saying that the country still importing potatoes and onions while the country has a very fertile land that just needs to be cultivated.

The government is expected to announce a series of measures to promote food production and to accelerate efforts to increase oil production.

(ST)