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Somali Central Bank chief seeks new currency to rebuild nation

Feb 11, 2016 After several decades of economic and political instability, Somalia’s central bank governor recently called on the government to print new currency for the first time since the 1980’s.

Bashir Issa Ali, who used to hide a loaded pistol in their desk drawer for fear of militant attacks, said he wants to recreate the country’s currency from scratch.

“This currency is fake. Basically, all the bank notes in circulation are fake, produced by some greedy businessmen and the last legal tender of money that was produced by the central bank, that was in 1988-89. So all the money in circulation, bank notes in circulation is fake now, all these banknotes are fake. So we have to stop that trend. They are old, they are torn out, they are dirty,”

Ali went on to point that printing new banknotes wasn’t all there was to do as most urban Somalis are using the US dollars instead of the shilling.

He then asserted that the currency will need a new system to fix its foreign exchange rate, if it is to become credible.

With an estimated printing costs of $20-$22 million for the banknotes,  Ali went on to say:

“We don’t have the resources needed to print the real money that we need. So we are in contact and in discussion with the international community, donors and so on and we have… You know printing money is an important issue that needs also consensus and strong cooperation with the international community especially the IMF and with the Somali government and the Somali people, Somali stakeholders and so on,”

Commenting on the proposed change, Nor Ai, a money changer said:

“People always complain about the currency because it is old and it has no value. So we are very happy and welcome the new currency and it is good for the whole society,”

Muscab Omar Ilmi, Marketing manager at the International Bank of Somalia, also share his opinion on the currency saying:

“Our currency is not recognized by any other country in the world. Our currency is lost the credibility of it. Our currency has become vanished in the market. You can’t see most of our currency… People are having issues and difficulties using that kind of currency even right now if you want to purchase anything it are very rare to use our currency any more. So I think this currency that we use right now is not going anymore forward and I think sooner we stop using that currency is better for our economy and for our people,”

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