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Article#0006        Date: 3 July 2006             Country: Mozambique

Mozambique's new currency in circulation
Posted Mon, 03 Jul 2006

Maputo - Mozambique's currency reform, whereby three digits were knocked off the national currency, the metical, took effect on Saturday, and the new notes and coins were now beginning to circulate across the country.

The currency reform was no more complex than dividing by 1 000. The old 1 000 metical coin was now worth one metical "of the new family", as the government and the central bank refer to the new notes and coins.

The largest old note, for 500 000 meticais, was now worth 500 "new family" meticais. There was a larger note, for 1 000 new meticais, which was worth a million old meticais.

There were about 25 000 old meticais to $1: now there are 25 new meticais to $1.

The most striking aspect of the new notes was that they all bear the portrait of the man who led Mozambique to independence, and was the country's first president, Samora Machel.

This recognition of the founder of the was is all the more appropriate this year, which marks the 20th anniversary of Machel's death in a plane crash just inside South Africa, widely believed to have been caused by the apartheid military.

There were six new banknotes, with the face value of 1 000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20 "new family" meticais. In addition to Machel's portrait, they also bear images of the country's wildlife - elephants, rhinoceros, giraffe, lion, buffalo and antelope.

No living person was shown on any of the notes, which might calm the fears of opposition politicians who believed that the government was plotting to put President Armando Guebuza's face on the notes.

The new coins have the face value of 10, five, two and one metical. There were also smaller coins for 50, 20, 10, five and one centavos.

The metical has always been divided into 100 centavos, but with calculations in recent years done in the millions and billions of meticais, nobody has bothered much about centavos.

The old banknotes and coins were not being withdrawn immediately from circulation. Between July 1 and December 31 both the old and the new notes and coins would be legal tender, and all shops and services must display their prices in both old and new meticais.

In notation, the old meticais were referred to as "MT", and the new ones as "MTn".

As from January 1 2007, the old notes and coins could no longer be used in transactions - but during the ensuing year they could be changed for new meticais at any bank.

It was the huge devaluations of the currency in the late 1980s and early 1990s that forced Mozambicans to deal in millions and billions of meticais. Even the statutory minimum wage was over a million old meticais.

With the old metical, companies found that the columns in their books were not wide enough to accommodate all the zeros.

And certain computer programmes could no longer be used for Mozambican accounts, because they could not handle all the digits. -panapress

Original Article: http://www.businessinafrica.net/news/southern_africa/650808.htm

Page created:     3 July 2006
Last Update:      3 July 2006

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