Bank Notes Loaned to Chin Villagers ‘Unusable’
22 December 2012: Villagers in Falam Township of Chin State complained the Burmese currency notes issued to them by the Township Administration Office are not accepted in payment by customers in the area.
The 500-kyat and 1,000-kyat notes given to the villagers as loans with lower interest rates for animal husbandry cannot be used in trade due to defacement or poor conditions of the Burma unit of currency.
“The notes are old and some are patched with pieces of a sellotape. They are not accepted by owners of pigs and chickens. Now, we cannot use more than half the amount of the money,” said one of the Chin villagers whose name is kept anonymous.
The Administration Office of Falam Town provided a total of 250,000 kyats per household in each village tract, with a deduction of 23,000 kyats in advance for an interest rate for two months of November and December.
“It was an order that 50,000 kyats be taken away from the total amount in advance as a rental fee of a land plot leased in the name of the village as a warranty for repayment of the loan,” said the villager, who took part in the process.
Another Chin villager said it was not the loan that they demanded but it was the government that had made it available, adding: “It was a good idea that the government offered the loans but unfortunately the money could not be used.”
One of the community leaders from Hakha told Chinland Guardian: “The government is intentionally providing this offer just to show off its willingness and generosity so it can claim that it helps the villagers. Or it wants to get rid of or make money out of the loans.”
Representatives of each village were ordered to bring with them original copies of the Family Registry Records and National Registration Cards of those families who are interested in taking the government loans.
“On the 5th of this month, the village representatives went to Falam and got the loans. Actually, the interest rates for two months were deducted in advance and they came back with only 227,000 kyats,” said the Chin villager.
The loan-taking families are required to make a full payment of the loans and the outstanding interest rates, with an evidence showing details of domestic animals raised by using the money, to the Administration Office of Falam Town by 15 March 2013.
In Burma, the bank notes, especially the US dollar bills, are not accepted if they are torn, wrinkled, damaged, defaced with marks, stamps and ink or excessively folded, according to sources.
“The banks will not exchange these notes. Instead, they would tell you to try money exchange agencies that would refuse to do so. Finally, you end up retaining them for yourself,” said a Burmese in Rangoon.
Reporting by Thawng Zel Thang