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Interview with the Governor of the National bank of Eritrea on Nakfa Currency Changes

Mr. Kibreab Weldemariam, Governor of the National bank of Eritrea


By Billion Temesghen 


The latest monetary policy declares that the previous Nakfa currency note is to be replaced by a new Legal Tender Nakfa currency. Why now? 

There have been constant discussions of introducing new monetary transition ways since April. Now-a-days even most of the third world countries have introduced and are working on various money exchange systems such as check draft cards and so.

Mainly this new process that is being introduced is aimed to avoid spending millions of dollars in printing new banknotes. Secondly, it points towards ways aimed to ease direct banknote exchange between consumers and providers, and lastly it is a matter of safety: the new route is designed to avoid hazardous situations in money transitions of a large sum.

It is safe, applicable and secure.

It has been proclaimed that the currency redemption will be done in the length of six weeks. How is going to be ensued? 

Back in 1997 we located even in tents and carried out the exchange in 88 sites that extended to the outmost area. And now we will proceed as our previous experiences. Only that now more than 88 government offices are involved in the web, so even in the remote areas it is opted for a viable money exchange process. The web that has been already arranged for this exchange will avoid any form of pressure for the clients as we are taking in consideration time, reassurance and easiness for our customers.

Have arrangements been made for new bank booking system? 

Certainly! The two main banks: Housing and Commercial bank as well the Commercial Bank, took the task of assisting the entire big and small banks trough out the nation in providing a secure booking system for the clients. So we do not fear any obstacles while introducing new bank books for the redemption of the old banknotes with the new one.

Commercial Banks are to assume the task of opening new accounts for customers, redeeming the old Nakfa currency note with the new Nakfa currency note, ensuring that the forms are accordingly prepared and are properly filled, as well as make available clarifying receipts to customers.

About the amount of Nakfa Currency notes in circulation 

The Bank of Eritrea has declared the period in which redemption is to commence and terminate. During this time, any individual, entrepreneurs or companies can through the commercial banks, translate the previous Nakfa currency notes in circulation with new legal tender Nakfa currency notes.

It is undeniable that at the moment the commercial banks are at the moment mostly assisting business owners, nevertheless given the situation it has been made possible for small banks to cash in up to 1 million Nakfa.

If the amount exceeds the one million perimeters, customers will need to get service from the central banks. Moreover we have timely accurate customised service for costumers with a sum surpassing 5 million.

About withdrawals

During redemption, individuals or entities will be allowed to withdraw from their accounts only up to twenty thousand in new Nakfa currency notes. Any transactions in excess will be solely settled through checks or other bank instruments. Otherwise we won’t be able to be precise in introducing the new system.

As for foreigners 

Any foreigner requiring swapping of old Nakfa currency notes for the new Nakfa currency notes, are allowed to do so after clarifying the legitimacy of the means of obtaining the currency. If they had acquired the currency in the black market, then the bank won’t be able to assist.

What about individuals abroad with Nakfa currency? 

There is no basis that can authorize or excuse Nakfa currency circulating abroad. Nakfa was meant to circulate only and exclusively with in the nation. As such, the bank or the Government will not be taking any responsibility for the Nakfa currency circulating outside of Eritrea and/or for the sum OF Nakfa that has been kept camouflaged to the National banks.

But of course, cases in which individuals tagged some very small number of Nakfa can be worked on as the official proclamations have been made in media outlets and our websites.

Can you please elaborate on the Article concerning currency Redemption time limits? 

The process will undergo in six weeks time length. Individuals or entities may, during the first two weeks, are required to deposit any amount of money in their accounts, as for the final four weeks, however, they will be allowed to deposit or exchange up to twenty thousand Nakfa only.

Thank you Mr. Kibreab!
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