New Iraqi Currency Makes Official Debut
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2004 Billions of dollars worth of new, hard-to- counterfeit Iraqi dinar bank notes are now officially in circulation throughout the country, the Coalition Provisional Authority reported today.
The new money became the official currency of Iraq Jan. 15 after a three-month exchange period that also has involved the destruction of tons of Saddam Hussein-era notes, according to a joint CPA-Central Bank of Iraq news release.
"The new dinar is a real improvement over the old," Ahmed Salman Jaburi, deputy governor of Iraq's Central Bank, asserted in the news release.
Because the new money has security features that make it hard to counterfeit, it has the Iraqi public's confidence, he said. The new money "will provide a firm foundation" for Iraq's economic future, Juburi noted in the release.
The updated currency, the release said, jettisons the image of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein in favor of depictions of important Iraqi scientific contributions, Iraqi history, landscapes and economic life.
Jaburi praised the combined efforts of Central Bank managers and staff, coalition planners, economists, and Iraqi and coalition security forces in designing, printing and distributing the new money.
Shipments of the new Iraqi currency began arriving in Baghdad Sept. 17, and exchange of the new currency for old began Oct. 15. The value of Iraq's money, the release noted, has gone up by 25 percent since then.
A fleet of small aircraft delivered the new money to regional banking centers, and Iraqi armored vans and large trucks effected delivery of the cash to outlying bank branches.
Despite a number of insurgent attacks on convoys delivering new currency and picking up old notes, no money was lost, according to the news release.
Thousands of Iraqi tellers at 250 bank branches across Iraq worked overtime to make the currency exchange happen, the release said.
Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III, the Coalition Provisional Authority's administrator, said the currency exchange marks an important step in Iraq's post-Saddam reconstruction effort.
"Rebuilding Iraq's ruined economy is a key priority for the coalition a new currency to replace the discredited old one was a necessary early move," Bremer noted in the release.
"With the new dinar now wholly in place, a line has been drawn under Iraq's recent economic past, and the focus shifted to its economic future," Bremer concluded.