The last time the kwacha attracted a major change was when the MMD took over power from UNIP in 1991. The currency had collapsed after hyper-inflation crushed the economy only second to the present Zimbabwe.
Although the Zambian currency was not performing as bad in 2011, President Michael Sata decided to re-base the currency in what many believe was a hurried decision that could have waited. In fact, the change should have come within the failed “90 days promise” of the PF assuming office.
After logistical failuers, the government deferred the rebasing of the currency to last June and later to January 1. Finally, it will be all new currency in the country on New’s Day.
According to the Times of Zambia, all is set for the rebasing of the country’s currency with the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) expecting to unveil the new notes.
Commercial banks have been busy re-aligning automated teller machines (ATMs) to pave way for the smooth transaction of the new currency that has lost three zeros.
Most banks worked overtime to facilitate the transaction while today [Monday, December 31] has been declared a bank holiday as all financial institutions will be closed to the public to prepare for the new currency which would hit the market tomorrow.
The central bank and commercial banks have advised the public to keep enough cash for their New Year’s Holiday as they would not be able to access their money through the ATMs during the transition period.
BoZ head of public relations Kanguya Mayondi said in an interview that all is set for the unveiling of the new currency after an aggressive sensitisation programme on the general public and institutions across the country.
“We have distributed the money in all parts of the country and come Monday (today) we will be officially unveiling the new currency in Lusaka,” he said.
Mayondi said the central bank would unveil the currency today while the sensitisation programme would continue to ensure people understood.
Mayondi said commercial banks had been given guidelines on how cheques issued before 31st December deadline would be handled when brought in for cashing after January 1, 2013.
He emphasised that the rebasing would neither result in reducing or adding the value of the Kwacha.
The old and new Kwacha notes will both be used until the end of June next year.