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FCFA Coins: Users Reject Smaller Denominations

Coins issued by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), are being turned down by vendors and service providers across the country.

Vendors, service providers and users of the FCFA in Yaounde like in other parts of the country have in the past months turned down smaller denominations of one, two, five and FCFA 10 in the course of their daily transactions. The non-acceptance of these coins in markets, shops and public utility companies has made many users shun away from its use. In some supermarkets and public utility companies like ENEO and CAMWATER where monthly bills are paid, as observed by Cameroon Business Today, customers are reimbursed with such denominations but on the other hand, it is very difficult to have a customer use them in need for goods. With the current scarcity of upper denominations especially FCFA 25, FCFA 50 and FCFA 100, it is believed that, the measure taken by BEAC to put these smaller denominations into blocks of FCFA 250 as seen in most supermarkets would facilitate its use but unfortunately, this turns out not to be the case. Most of these coins are used as table decorations in most offices and homes or are simply discarded by the population. To Paul Yondoh, a Yaounde inhabitant, the divisibility of these coins is very poor and unrealistic compared to the amounts people use on daily basis.  “If you are to buy for FCFA 500, how many FCFA 1 or FCFA 10 will you keep to sum to that amount?, the small sizes of this coins are rather discouraging and compounds to the discomfort to carry them along. Moreover what kind of item would I need this FCFA 5 or FCFA 10 to buy?” Yondoh interrogated. It should be noted that, the denial of any denomination of the currency in Cameroon is punishable by law. Section 223 of the Cameroon Penal Code stipulates: “Whoever refuses any note or coin being legal tender in the Republic and to the extent that it is legal tender, shall be punished with imprisonment for from 10 (ten) days to 3 (three months), or with fine of from FCFA 1,000 (one thousand) to FCFA 100,000 (one hundred thousand) or with both such imprisonment and fine.” Reminded that it is criminal to refuse to accept a legal tender, a trader at the Yaounde Central market Mboukau Jeanine, retorted. “I will not collect these coins because I do not have use for them. It inconveniences me to carry along. Even if I give to customers, they will not accept because they do not have any ready use for it”.

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