Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The End of the 'Cedi Shuffle'

We're gettin' new money!

It was actually announced at the first of the year, but with the changeover happening at the end of next month, things are starting to pop! In addition to what's pictured above, there will also be one and five cedi notes.

The currency is being 'redenominated' on July 1 because, as I've mentioned before, you have to cart around buttloads of currency to pay for even small purchases.

It currently takes an excess of 9000 cedis to equal a dollar.
If dinner for two costs the equivalent of 50 bucks, you have to have almost a half million cedis to pay it. If you are lucky enough to have scored ¢20,000 notes on your last trip to the bank, you still have a pile of bills too thick to put in your wallet if you expect to then fold said wallet in half.

It gets really ugly if the bank only had ¢5,000 notes on the day you went. That would mean you need 100 bills to pay for dinner. About an inch of paper money. Yikes.

So, with the redenomination, the government is knocking four zeroes off the designated currency. Your ¢10,000 notes will become ¢1 (one cedi), a dinner bill for ¢500,000 will become ¢50 (fifty cedi).
It will soon be possible to pay for dinner or a basket of groceries with one or two bills! Yippee!

Laugh if you will, but I can't remember what it was like to hand someone a single bill to pay for anything, ever.

We get new coins too! And considering that the average Ghanaian-on-the-street spends money on a lot of things that are incredibly inexpensive (kenkey, tro-tros, newspapers, etc.) they will be in pretty good shape to use coins.

Right now it takes two of the largest denomination (500 cedi) coins to make a dime. And two handfuls of the 50 cedi coins to make the same dime.

The new coins are pesewas (what they were in the old days before they became valueless and were withdrawn from circulation) and in addition there will be cedi coins.

All the stores are supposed to be displaying their prices in both the old and new cedis (and some actually are...) because the two currencies will exist side by side until the end of the year.

The gas stations have all switched their pumps, so my liter of petrol (or fuel- don't say gas!), costs me 87 pesewa. I think. But for now I just have to switch it back to the normal ¢8,700 per liter that I will still pay until July 1. (...and for those of you in the U.S. frantically doing the math- feel fortunate to pay whatever you are paying because it adds up to more than $3 a gallon here. Eek!)

There have been lots of TV and Radio ads with little vignettes and jingles to help educate us on the switchover. "The Value is the Same" song is a big hit with Duke's oldest girl. ;-)

And if you need help, there are handy dandy conversion charts like this all over town...

You can read a lot about it (if you care) at this website, which also contains links to the audio stuff...(click on the Media and Press at the top for commercials and jingles).


And if you can't remember the old money very well, my August 30 2005 post has pictures and everything! (just click the August 2005 link on the right and VOILA!)