4 January 2013

Zambia: Consumers Yet to Familiarise With Rebased Kwacha

MOST people are finding difficulties to get used to the new local currency, especially when relating the old low value notes to the rebased Kwacha.

A check at various selling points and bus stations in the central business districts in Lusaka, Ndola and Kitwe yesterday showed that people are failing to understand the link between the old and the new currency, especially when it comes to giving out change.

It seems most marketeers, bus conductors and other residents have not fully understood the conversions of the new small notes.

In separate interviews, some marketeers, bus conductors and some members of the general public said they were finding difficulties in dealing with the old small notes like K500, K100, K50 and K20.

Barbara Mulenga who sells vegetables at Lusaka's City Market said K50 and K500 were difficult to convert in that some customers were confusing them.

"Some big notes like the new KR100, the KR50 down to KR1 have less challenges in converting but for the low value ones people are confused," Ms Mulenga said.

Albert Zulu, a mini-bus conductor at Lumumba Bus Station said the ngwee was confusing.

"Since the new Kwacha was introduced on January 1, 2013, sometimes you find that instead of giving a passenger 5n you give out K5," he said.

Mr Zulu said the confusion related to the currency was normal and that would soon be over after people get used to the changes.

He said most conductors were reluctant to issue out the new notes as change to passengers, saying they would rather give out the old ones first because they were enjoying keeping the new currency.

In Kitwe, New Path Investments sales person, Natasha Ndhlovu said some customers buying calendars from her are asking for change in the old currency.

"Some people are refusing to be given change in new notes or coins demanding the old currency, especially marketeers and vendors, saying they do not want to be confused," Ms Ndhlovu said.

A survey around the town centre showed that most traders had no difficulties in using the new notes and coins and hoped that the situation would return to normal in the next few weeks.

Elderly marketeers said they have no problems using the new notes and coins because they had used similar currency before.

Shadreck Bwembya, a casual worker at Chibuluma Mines, said there was nothing strange in the use of the new currency while Moffat Temane, a long-distance bus conductor, said some of his colleagues were refusing to accept the rebased notes.

Shoprite store manager Alfred Mahachi said some of the cashiers at the chain store had begun getting used to the new dominations.

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