Thursday, July 14, 2011

South Sudan Pound to be released by Monday

Government of South Sudan
JUBA, 12 July 2011

The South Sudan Pound (SSP), the new currency of the Republic of South Sudan, will be released into the market by Monday 18 July 2011, Mr. Elijah Malok the head of the Central Bank of South Sudan has said.

Addressing the media at the bank’s premises this morning, Mr. Malok also announced that the new currency will exchange 1:1 to the Sudan Pound (SDG) in the meantime but added that the value may change in the coming days based on market factors.

Mr. Malok also reported that negotiations are underway with the Central Bank of Sudan to redeem the old currency from South Sudan which he estimated to be about 1.5 to 2 billion. He said the value at which the old currency will be redeemed is still being negotiated.

He also announced that the international exchange rate of the new currency is still being calculated. Nonetheless, he announced that it will be through a managed float system. He explained that the exchange rate will be determined by market forces in the region and beyond. He announced that the exchange rate will be known within a period of one week.

Mr. Malok also announced that a committee to sensitize the public about the new currency began the mobilization exercise this morning. He said that the bank will establish exchange centres to which citizens will return the old currency in exchange for the new one.

He also said that South Sudan will not ban the old currency. He explained that it may be used for cross-border trade transactions. However, he said that its continued use would depend on whether the Sudan chooses to keep it or not.

The Central Bank leader also displayed the new currency to the media. He announced that there will be six denominations – 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 – but added that lower denominations in the form of coins are still being minted.

Mr. Malok said that the Central Bank of South Sudan Bill is still before the South Sudan Legislative Assembly but expressed confidence that it will be passed in due course. He clarified that even though he signed the new currency as “governor”, he is not yet officially appointed to the new position.

He also said that the bank is not able to state the anticipated inflation levels. He explained, however, that inflation in the region, especially in Uganda and Kenya, will affect the new country in the short-term until it is able to tilt the trade balance in its favour.

The press conference was also attended by H.E. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the minister for Information, Government of South Sudan; Mr. Mustafa Biong Majak, the Director General of Information; as well as senior officers of the bank.

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