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Africa
South Sudan to introduce 'pound' as currency
Fledgling nation forms cabinet and details plan for release of new money, two days after independence from North Sudan.
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2011 16:16
South Sudanese citizens wave their flags as they attend the Independence Day celebrations in the capital [Reuters]

South Sudan formed a caretaker government and announced on Monday it will use a new currency that features the image of the deceased founder of the nation's liberation struggle.

The new African nation became an independent on Saturday, breaking away from Sudan after more than 50 years of on-and-off war.

David Deng Athorbie, the new finance minister, said the new currency would be called the South Sudan pound and will replace the Sudan pound currently in use.

It is scheduled to arrive by cargo plane beginning on Wednesday and will go into circulation next Monday.

It will have a one-to-one value with the Sudan pound and the image of John Garang, the deceased rebel leader, will adorn one side of the bills.

The other sides would show images of the fledling country's culture and wealth, Athorbie said, and the bills will have watermarks and other security measures.

"I must warn those people who usually print fake currency, if they attempt it they will almost certainly be caught", Athorbie said.

Birth of a nation

Impromptu street parties broke out early on Saturday when the oil-rich country became independent.

World leaders flocked to Juba to join tens of thousands of southerners at a 10-hour ceremony held in blistering heat.

On Sunday, churches were packed as southerners listened to sermons about promoting peace and unity among the country's diverse tribes.

And on Monday, although a national holiday had been declared, the government got to work.

With hands on bibles - both Arabic and English - the ministers of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudanese government were transformed into the caretaker cabinet for the new republic of South Sudan at an informal and jovial ceremony.

Cabinet composition

In between jokes made by the typically quiet and solemn President Salva Kiir, the chief justice of the Supreme Court read the fourth and fifth decrees of the new government, which dissolved the former cabinet and appointed the same 32 ministers to serve as caretaker ministers.

Several ministerial titles changed to reflect South Sudan's status as a country.

The former minister of regional cooperation is now the foreign affairs minister, while the southern army and veterans' affairs minister became the defence minister.

The decree said the ministers "shall not undertake any major policy decisions" or enter into any "major contractual obligations" during the caretaker period, whose duration has not yet been specified.

After the Cabinet was sworn in, the finance minister told a news conference that there would be difficulties in paying government salaries on time because Sudan's government had not sent an adequate supply of the northern Sudanese currency.

Gier Chuang Aluong, minster of the interior, said the government was in the process of preparing the country's passports and urged patience.

Source:
Agencies
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