I ask you, which of these would YOU rather have in your pocket?
or New money
And they also introduced several coins: 2 naira, 1 naira, and 50 kobo – which is half a naira. (These coins are dated 2006, but I swear that they weren't introduced into the market until 2007 -- I did not deceive when I wrote my "7th good thing.") The coins are very light with a feel almost like play money.
Why bother with coins, you may ask, when a 5 naira note is worth just over 4 cents (making the 50 kobo coin worth less than half a penny)? Well, the reality is that their money is getting more
valuable all the time! This doesn’t have a lot to do with the stability of the Nigerian economy, but more the instability of the dollar. When we first came, 100 naira was worth a little over 70 cents, but now it’s heading up closer to 90 cents. When we’re just talking about 100 naira, that doesn’t mean a lot. But the reality of life in Lagos is that things cost many times that. A box of cereal, holding steady at 1200 naira did cost about $9 and now it’s closer to $10. And since we get paid still in American dollars, the exchange rate has eroded our buying power by quite a bit. I find myself wishing that we had exchanged a lot of money earlier, instead of waiting and exchanging funds as we need them. Of course, there would be inherent problems with big money exchange – security and storage space being ones that come immediately to mind (the largest bill is still the 1000 naira note – imagine paying for EVERYTHING in cash when your largest bill is worth less than 9$!) – so we just have to bite the bullet and hope that the company will adjust our Commodities and Services allowance to reflect the current exchange rate. I also hope to avoid circumstances that I once found myself in where a cashier didn’t have any small bills and was forced to give me a bag full of around 40 2-naira coins in change. So, there it is, the truth – one less good thing in Lagos because (gasp!) we DO have coins to weigh you down!