Central Bank intensifies crackdown on Illegal currency traders

The Bank of South Sudan on Friday said it has intensified the crackdown on unregistered foreign currency traders in major towns across the country.
James Alic Garang, Governor Bank of South Sudan addressing journalists in Juba on Friday [Photo: Awan Achiek]

By Awan Achiek

The Bank of South Sudan on Friday said it has intensified the crackdown on unregistered foreign currency traders in major towns across the country.

Dr. James Alic Garang, Governor of the Bank of South Sudan said it is illegal to deal in foreign exchange without a valid license from the bank.

“Now that the grace period has come to an end, we have done everything in our power as the regulator. We are now saying from today, it is illegal to sell foreign currency in South Sudan if you don’t have a license,” Alic told journalists in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.

The central bank ordered since November 2023, all informal currency traders to start obtaining license at cost of 50 U.S dollars and also deposit capital amounting to 1000 dollars in order to operate.

The central bank is targeting small traders who sell and buy foreign currency in the open along busy streets and markets, a practice that has endured on since South Sudan won independence from neighboring Sudan in 2011.

The South Sudan pound (SSP) which had increasingly weakened against the dollar last week, started to regain strength against the dollar following intense crackdown on unregistered currency traders.

The local currency which had been trading at 2500 with the dollar reduced to 1700 SSP at the start of this week.

“There are two levels of currency trading that we thought we have, one are the big formal forex bureau where the requirements are a bit steep, and on the other side are the smaller mini forex bureau where the requirements are minute, so we told them if you are two persons or five persons what you can do is aggregate your resources and register,” Alic said.

“We came from a premise that says, it is not a crime to sell foreign currency as long as you are doing it in the confines of the laws of this land, and anywhere in the world if you want to sell foreign currency you get a license and operate within the law, so we gave them that window and we also went a step further and said that anybody making a living through this endeavor should be treated in a decent way,” he added.

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