Oct 13, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Waking up to soaring prices this morning, many South Sudan, who could barely afford one meal a day, wish that the reality they are facing was just a dream.
The South Sudanese Pound, which traded at about 50-55 SSP per dollar just yesterday skyrocketed to 67-71 SSP per dollar this morning and that was immediately reflected by prices of basic items like bread in the market.
The bread, which was sold at 300 SSP yesterday was being sold at 500 SSP this morning, a decision that was being made by the South Sudan Bakers Union leaving doubts of what sole proprietorships would be charging.
Bread is a common food in the Sudanese culture and a simple price increase like this is believed to be the uniting factor that got Omar Hassen al Bashir toppled in just a blink of eye last year.
The South Sudanese, who are traumatized by decades of civil war, are watching closely but there is no hope that the sharp depreciation would be reversed by anyone any time soon.
While economists are still formulating their arguments, the root cause of the today’s depreciation is attributed to “fear” that the Cabinet generated last week.
Briefing the media after a cabinet ministers meeting, the minister of information and the government spokesman, Michael Makuei, called on those who are hoarding money under their pillows to take the money to the banks before the currency is changed.
“One of the reports is that most of our citizens are hoarding currency in their houses, and most of them hoard it for so many reasons.” Hon. Michael Makuei said
“So the cabinet has decided that the currency be changed. The currency should be changed so that anybody who does not take his money to the bank, is left out and will lose his money,” Hon. Makuei said..
“To avoid queuing”, the Minister of Information urged the citizens to take their money to the bank immediately.
“Those who are hoarding South Sudanese money in their houses are advised to put it into the banks to avoid queuing up for exchanging the currency,” Makuei said.
This sent a strong message but instead of taking their money to the banks, the citizens went to the black market and tried to buy dollar which was also scarced in availabilty.
The demand for dollar saw a sharp depreciation of the South Sudanese pound but with limited options, those who managed to secure a dollar had to take it anyway before someone else gets it.
“We can’t find dollars, the central bank has ran out of money, so where can we go? Those who are selling dollars here [black market-customs] decide on the price of dollar, so we take it” Said Mary who exchanged her undisclosed huge amount at 68 SSP per dollar.
“better somethign than nothing, this is all the money I have, if it becomes useless I will have nothing to keep my small business running” Said Daniel who exchanged at a rate of 70 SSP per dollar.
Some customers said they had to exchange at a rate of 71 SSP arguing that it could be worst the next day or two.
Due to insufficient information on how and when the government will change the currency, citizens who are panicking would rather buy and store a few dollars than keeping millions of SSP that could become useless altogether.