Dick Johnson writes:
I don't know what to make of this news item from Uganda. Interesting reading how Africans view their coins and the worldwide view
of eliminating low denomination coins. It does identify the eight denominations currently being used without mentioning the sh50
Here's an excerpt from the article. -Editor
Charles Sengendo, a bodaboda rider at Nakawa in Kampala ordered for food from a local vendor at Nakawa market and consumed it. He turned to
pay for the meal and pulled out the money that included some sh50 coins worth sh300.
What surprised him was when the vendor refused to accept the sh50 coins without any reason. He says the vendor forced him to give her
any other money. This left him wondering whether the sh50 is no longer legal tender in Uganda.
Another boda-boda rider at Nakawa Bosco Mbonabukya, says he is stuck with sh50 coins worth sh4000 at home and has nowhere to take them.
He says he gets them from clients after rendering "our transport services to them."
"We boda-boda riders are forced to accept the coins because we always have nothing to say about it," Mbonabukya says.
The sh50 coin is also being shunned at Universities. Steven Mutebi, a student of Kyambogo University cannot even remember when he last
used the coin to make transactions because the coin has totally lost value and cannot purchase anything in Uganda.
Evelyne Karungi, a mobile money operator at Nakawa says she accepts the coin in making transactions because it is legal tender but when
she gives the coin to her clients, they rarely accept it 'because it is too small and can easily get lost'.
The sh50 denomination was started in 1971 at the start of the late President Idi Amin regime. During the years 1971 – 1975, one dollar
was pegged to sh7.14.
Uganda's currency has 13 denominations, eight of which are coins according to Bank of Uganda data. The coins include the sh1, sh2,
sh5, sh10, sh50, sh100, sh200 and sh500.
Lawrence Bategeka, an economist says the current trend of shunning the sh50 coin shows that the public is challenging its use as legal
tender. He says it does not make sense to carry many bulky sh50 coins to buy a loaf of bread as it is inconvenient.
"If the price structure has changed such that the sh50 coin has been rendered useless, and one has to combine two coins to buy the
smallest thing then the Central Bank should recall the sh50 coin and abolish it altogether," Bategeka says.
To read the complete article, see:
Is the sh50 coin becoming irrelevant?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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