How Uganda Currency Changed Under Tumusiime Mutebile

Every government that came to power since 1971  made changes to the currency in circulation. Uganda’s currency has changed seven times since 1966, according to information from the Bank of Uganda (BOU).

1966, 1973, 1979, 1983, and 1986 issues or changes were because of changes in regimes. Between 1985-1986, the currency had coins of five cents, sh1 and sh2, and a new banknote of sh5,000 was also introduced.

In 1999, new denomination coins of 50, 100, 200, and sh500 emerged. These were followed by the issuance of new sh20,000 and sh10,000 banknotes between 1995 and 1999.

Around the same time, currency notes denominations of sh1,000 and sh5,000 were out in circulation. As such, smaller notes in the value of sh5, sh10, sh20, sh50, sh100, sh200 and sh500 ceased to be legal tender in December 2000. During that time, Tumusiime – Mutebile was the permanent secretary and secretary to the treasury at the finance ministry.

Two years after his appointment as BOU governor, Mutebile introduced the sh50,000 banknote with a combination of largely grey and white colors.

In December 2001, a new series of sh1,000 banknotes with additional features, such as vertical embedded security, was issued. More security features were added to the sh20,000 and sh1,000 notes in 2004 and 2005, respectively, according to BOU data.

The latest family of currency in circulation was issued in May 2010, only a year into the country’s general elections.

The banknotes, which are now smaller in size compared to the previous issues, are in the denominations of sh50,000, sh20,000, sh10,000, sh5,000, sh2,000 and sh1,000.

However, as the denominations have changed over time, they have only grown larger in value. The pre-election spending on public goods and the creation of new administrative districts at the time saw inflation shoot through the rough. At the time, Mutebile said he was considering introducing a sh100,000 banknote if inflation did not ease from levels of around 30%.

Mutebile noted that the issuance of the notes was not political, but rather, to minimize the problem of counterfeiting. He said the new higher-value currency notes of sh5,000, sh10,000, sh20,000, and sh50,000  would be hard to counterfeit as they hold an internationally recognized security feature.

“It is the first time that the BOU, without government intervention, produced a series of new banknotes. Until recently, the government did not even know that we are engaged in producing new banknotes. It has nothing to do with politics,” Mutebile explained at the time.

Richard Byarugaba, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) executive director, said: “Throughout his working life, the distinguished Tumusiime-Mutebile was at the forefront of Uganda’s economic transformation. His contribution to Uganda’s growth story is immeasurable and as we look back on his life, we can trace his hand

Source: IBNS –

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