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Sun, 30 Dec 2007 Source: Times/GHP

THIS is the last weekend, and the last days, of the old cedi. From Tuesday January 1, 2008, the old cedis will cease to be legal tender, although people can still take them to banks to change into the new Ghana cedis.

Thus, technically, the old currency has a day of circulation time left.

However some misguided members of the public, especially traders, will have none of that. They are rejecting the old currency.

"We do not have time at our disposal to be moving to and from banks just to have the old currency changed for new ones," Angela Badu, a cloth seller told the Times yesterday.

The traders contended that most of them deal directly with "Susu" collectors and not the banks. They suggested that the banks should have a table-top system at the market places and other strategic points where old notes could be changed.

In one incident the Times witnessed, at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra, a verbal confrontation ensued between Yaw Boateng, a linoleum seller and a customer, Cynthia Sosu.

It was after Boateng had finished cutting the linoleum Ms Sosu was buying and she tried to make payment that the dispute started.

Mr. Boateng refused to accept payment in the old currency and this resulted in hot exchanges until a passerby intervened and explained to him that the old cedi is still legal tender until January 1, 2008.

The Public Relations Officer of the Bank of Ghana, Esi Hammond, told the Times that it is an offence for anybody to reject the old currency.

She said that the bank had widely advertised in the media that though the old currency could not be used for transactions after December 31, it did not mean that the old currency could not be changed for a new one from January 1, 2008 and beyond.

"It is still legal tender. Commercial, rural banks, savings or loan financial institutions are required to change the old currency for the new one after December 31."

She added that people must not rush to banks simply because they want their old currencies changed into new ones, saying that "there is no deadline for the changing of the old currency for the new."

The new Ghana cedi came into circulation on July 1 following the re-denomination of the cedi. The Central Bank said the new currency would be used alongside the old cedi until the end of the year when it ceases to be legal tender.

Source: Times/GHP
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