The government has resolved to change the South Sudanese Pounds with a new currency to stop hyperinflation and help recover the ailing economy.
The decision was reached during Friday’s cabinet meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir.
The South Sudanese Pounds has been depreciating drastically following the drop of the country’s oil revenues and irregularities in the collection of non-oil revenue.
This week, 1 US dollar sells at about 500 South Sudanese Pounds in the black market, while at the Central Bank, $1 dollar sells at 160 pounds.
Consumers have complained of a sharp rise in the prices of basic commodities while traders have also raised concerns over their inability to access hard currency for importing goods.
Last month, the minister of trade and industry said there is nothing the government can do to stop the local currency from losing value.
This was after, the second deputy governor of the Bank of South Sudan, Daniel Kech Pouch had said the Bank of South Sudan had run out of foreign reserves.
President Salva Kiir then formed an economic crisis management committee to devise ways of revitalizing the economy.
He also fired Finance Minister Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, replacing him with Athian Ding Athian.
As one of the measures, the economic committee reportedly proposed changing the currency, saying many people are hoarding money in their houses.
“The cabinet has decided that the currency should be changed so that anybody who does not take his money to the bank is left out and they will lose their money,” the government spokesperson, Michael Makuei, told the press on Friday.
“So this is an advice to those who are hoarding South Sudanese money in their houses to hurry [and take] them to the banks. Put them into the banks so that you don’t lose them. Put them into the banks as of now so that you avoid queuing up when the time comes for changing the currency.”
Makuei added: “This is very important, and people should understand that this is what is going to happen!”
It is not clear how and when the decision will be effected.
However, the government spokesperson noted that the committee has been tasked to study the plan and report to the cabinet in seven days.
“More decisions will be taken next week when the committee finalizes its work to that effect,” he said.
“This is in order to improve our economic situation and the worse part of it is that our people have been spoiled and they don’t work. They’re accustomed to spoon-feeding and this is why the economy is in the hands of others. This is serious and our people are asked to work,” Makuei added.
Experts have repeatedly called for structural and institutional reforms to address the country’s economic woes.
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