Long Queues For Currency Exchange Instil 'Deadline' Fears In EES

Long queues of Torit residents struggling to exchange for the new South Sudanese currency, has been the scene at the present two currency exchange centres of Nile Commercial Bank, (NCB) and Torit County Hall, as citizens express fears over the fixed deadline.

Long Queues For Currency Exchange Instil 'Deadline' Fears In EES
EES citizens queuing at NCB in Torit to exchange for the new currency [©Gurtong]

By Peter Lokale Nakimangole
TORIT, 30th July, 2011 [Gurtong] –Long queues of Torit residents struggling to exchange for the new South Sudanese currency, has been the scene at the present two currency exchange centres of Nile Commercial Bank, (NCB) and Torit County Hall, as citizens express fears over the fixed deadline.

The move follows a decision taken by Central Bank of South Sudan, (CBSS), to shorten the currency conversion period to one and a half months beginning from the 18th July to 1st September 2011 being triggered by the launch of a new currency by the Republic of Sudan.

One of the overseers of the ongoing currency exchange team in Torit, Mr. Zacharia Garang
Deng told Gurtong over telephone that the CBSS has informed everybody to comply with the new schedule cautioning that any reluctance before the deadline will be made valueless as the new currency takes precedence.

He however assured the public that they were working day and night to ensure the old currency is completely phased out before the deadline. However, this can only happen through cooperation between his team and the public.

Mr. Garang describes the move as ‘premature’ since ample time ahead of the scheduled deadline to exchange the currency is enough. The exercise began about a fortnight ago after widespread fears over Sudan’s newly launched currency last week rendering the old pounds valueless, officials said.

Gurtong contacted some Torit residents queuing at the NCB exchange point who grumbled that they had been coming to the centre severally for exchange services but couldn’t get assistance.

Mr. Oryema Peter, an official from the State Ministry of Information and Telecommunications in Eastern Equatoria blames the system for secretly allowing other people with huge amounts of money to exchange while neglecting others on line.

He expressed, “You find only five to seven people exchanging their money at least each day but the rest have to return home and come back the next day. This is very disappointing. The concerned officials must stop favouring their own people.”

According to some sources who preferred to be anonymous, at the exchange points, first priority is given to senior officials coming with huge lumps of Money making the ordinary citizens to hardly access the precious service.

Eastern Equatoria State currency exchange committee’s chairperson, Hon. Charles Udwar revealed that his currency exchange officials are serving from 8.00 am to 7:00pm daily.

However, he admitted the first priority has been given to constitutional post holders, directors and other public institutions to exchange their money before other members so that they could go and serve at their respective units.

Udwar said his committee has formed several sub-committees to serve at Counties levels down to Payams, adding that they are expected to be at their exchange points by Monday next week and they will at the same time be launching money exchange in all the 8 Counties of Eastern Equatoria State.

Mr. Udwar Cited Kuron of Kapoeta East County as one of the remote villages in the State, the chairperson disclosed that in order to assist the exchange process to meet the deadline, UNMIS helicopter flights to distant places have strategized to assist.

He added that since the technique is simple and obvious, the exchange committees at the Counties will intensively be trained to help effectively and efficiently in carrying out their duty.

Udwar appealed to the public to be prompt in exchanging since South Sudan’s economy will be slain by North Sudan by secretly supplying their old currency.

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