Somalia keen on reintroducing currency

A 1,000 Somali shilling note. The currency printed for the federal government will be stored by Sudan until financial institutions in Somalia are revived.   PHOTO | FILE

Somalia’s economy will soon enjoy the benefits of trading in several denominations of the Somali shilling.

The East African country which is in the process of reconstruction after a decade of civil war has been trading in US dollars after its currency lost value due to instability.

The 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 shilling notes became worthless as a result of heavily depreciating against world currencies when the central government of the late Gen Mohamed Siad Barre collapsed.

Though the 500 and the 1,000 denomination of the currency survived, only the 1,000 shilling note is currently used.

Somalis like to joke that it is the only country in the world that trades in money consisting of one denomination.

"The biggest note for our money and the smallest is Sh1.000," says Maki Haji Banaadir, a popular singer and composer in Mogadishu.

Hope of reviving the Somali shilling was renewed when President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud met with his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Wednesday.

Speaking to the media in Khartoum, Somalia’s Interior minister Abdikarim Hussein said that the two leaders discussed ways the two countries would advance their collaboration in matters of education and peace.

The minister revealed that Sudan was going to keep the Somali currency it printed in the past until Somalia’s financial institutions are ready to use the money.

“Somalia and Sudan agreed that the Somali shillings printed for the former Transitional Federal Government (TFG) are kept in safe custody by Sudan until the financial organs in Somalia are fully empowered,” said the minister.

Three years ago Sudan began printing the Somali shilling upon the request of the TGF though no deliveries were ever made.

The money printed in Sudan in various denominations, which include shillings 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 is expected to replace the almost worthless currency left by Somalia’s last stable government.

Despite the need to have the currency in distinct denominations, there have been conflicting views of whether the money should be returned with some critics saying the reintroduction of the Somali shilling would mess the financial system.

Most of the state organs dealing with money like the almost paralysed Central Bank of Somalia need to be revived before the currency can be reintroduced.

President Mohamoud participated in the celebrations to mark the 57th anniversary of Sudan’s Independence from Britain and asked President al-Bashir to help the new Somali government until the country reached a stage of self-reliance.

He also met with the larger Somali community living in Sudan and discussed ways to empower the Somali government institutions

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