By: Yusuf M Hasan
ERIGAVO (Somalilandsun) – The government of Somaliland shall not tolerate the use of fake currencies in any part of the country.
This was informed by the governor of Sanaag region Mohamed Gelle Da’ar who warned that any person citizen or foreigner caught disbursing fake Somali shillings-Gimbar shall have the full legal wrath of the republic to contend with.
The governor whose comments were in reaction to appeals made by Sanaag residents especially the capital Erigavo that has of late been snowed under by billions of fake Gimbar notes mostly 500 shs worth.
On the plea by the residents of Sanaag which is the country’s eastern most region, Governor Da’ar said the central government in Hargeisa has noted the difficulties emanating from the fake Gimbar notes and action is eminent.
Said he, “Plans are at an advanced stage to institutionalize the use of Somaliland shillings in the entire region thus eliminate as in Toghdeer region, once for all the Somali Gimbar notes inherited from the collapsed government of Siad Barre”
Prior to the citizens outcry local traders had since a fortnight ago refused to accept the 500 shs Gimbar a refusal that ensued with losses incurred by both individuals and corporate running to billions of the Somalia Gimbar currency shillings exchanged at 21,000 Gimbar-Somali shs and 3,000 Somaliland shillings to the dollar.
While suspicion has been rife on Sanaag districts like Las qaroy and Dahar that border Puntland being the source of the fake Gimbar notes revelations by the mayor of Las Qoray that the port city is abounding with the fake notes both 1000 and 5000 has put the matter to rest.
The Las Qaroy Mayor Mohamed Ayaan Asharey made the revelations in Erigavo town where he is visiting on official business when journalists waylaid him in a public place where suffering citizens urged him to tell the truth.
Journalists- Are there fake Gimbar notes in your town?
Mayor Asharey – “Not only are there fake 1000 and 500 Gimbar shillings note in Las Qoray but they have and are actually brought into Sanaag region through the port in our town”
Last week after the 500 Gimbar note was rejected Somalilandsun met a Geed Marar street shopkeeper in Erigavo Khan Abdi Darwish who informed that the rejection has at a stroke resulted in a personal loss of 18,000,000 Somali shillings which is equivalent to $860.
While the 18,000,000 Gimbar loss incurred by trader Darwish may appear colossal the figure is also less for many citizens while big trading concerns like the local Khat supplier may loss in 100s of millions, “this is peanuts for my company which handles 100s of millions on a daily basis in a region where a dollar is exchanged at 21,000 Somali shs and 3,000 Somaliland shillings” says Ms Khalid a Khat trader
The conundrum of refusal to transact in the 500 Gimbar note is worrisome because it has been the most stable and acceptable in the region that is slowly getting to utilize the Somaliland shilling since the 1000 Gimbar note has in the past been the issue.
In the past we have lost a lot a large chunk of our meager working capital after one or the other of the various 1000 Gimbar notes was termed rejected legal tenders. This explains trader Darwish emanated from the plethora of the notes minted by various governments and warlords in Somalia at one time or another during the 22 years of anarchy in that country.
Just as in the past some unscrupulous big merchants are reaping big profits from the rejected 500 notes that they buy at half its price and take to Garowe in Puntland where it is still in use informs Darwish who says that the current trend of buying the rejected notes at half or less of its value was the norm when any of the diverse 1000 notes was the subject.
As residents of the region where unemployment and inflation is high continue to suffer from the scheming of self seeking financial tycoon’s villages on the way from Burao have completely adapted the national currency following the government’s success in replacing it with the Gimbar.
Though past fears were that the introduction of the Somaliland currency might bring the economy down through the release of fake notes residents are hopeful that the success and boldness of the current administration of President Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo shall intervene in Sanaag just as it did in Toghdeer region
With the outcry of citizens it is now or never for the central authorities to act and take Sanaag region the same route taken Toghdeer region that saw total elimination of the Gimbar currency last year with the administration covering losses to civilians that ensued during exchange.