Friday, April 15, 2011

Ruined Notes Hamper Local Trade in Arakan

Sittwe: The authority has not distributed new currency notes to the public through any banks in Arakan State, leading to problems for people in every corner of the state, who are forced to use ruin notes for buying and selling goods, report local residents.

A shopkeeper from Sittwe said, "Sometimes we cannot sell goods to buyers because we have no notes in our shop. Even though we do have some currency, the notes are ruined and impossible to give to buyers. We went to the bank to exchange them for new notes, but we are never able to get new notes from the banks."

Throughout Arakan State, people are using the ruined notes despite that some are so damaged people can no longer remember the value amount of the note.

A resident from Maungdaw said, "It is a big issue for all people in our state. Everybody faces the problem when they go to the market to buy something. I saw several quarrels between buyers and sellers for the issue of rare notes whenever I go to the markets. Most of the sellers can not pay back small notes for change to buyers whenever they use large notes."

The sellers usually give back small goods like candies and sweets to buyers instead of notes whenever they have to make small change, because they have no usable currency available.

A trader from Maungdaw said, "The authority announced that people can exchange new notes in the banks but it is not so in Arakan, it is only in Rangoon and Mandalay. In Arakan State, the authority has never arranged to exchange the old notes with new notes from the banks."

In Maungdaw Township on the western Burmese border, some shopkeepers in the past used tokens instead of small notes in denominations of 50, 100, and 200 kyat, but that practice stopped after authorities arrested the shopkeepers and seized the tokens.

According to business sources, the authority has not printed new notes for many years because the cost of printing is more than the value of the notes. Because of this, small notes are becoming rare in Burma.

Daw Hla Myint, and elder from Sittwe who is now visiting Cox's Bazar, said, "We have not seen new small notes from 20 to 200 kyats for the past 20 years. We have to use the ruined notes despite that there are no numbers or portraits on the notes."
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