If the Government tells you, the foreign currency exchange rate is looking up, think again.
In Port Moresby, yesterday, I changed K3000 at the BSP FOREX Kiosk at Jacksons international airport. Guess how much I got after fees? Just a little over USD763. I panicked!
With boarding just an hour away, I had to scramble additional resources, make a few calls and use my sisters bank card to withdraw and additional K1000 back up.
K1000 gave me a little over USD200. In total, I had on hand, USD1017 from K4000. That is how much the Kina is REALLY worth!
It was painful, watching the worth of the Kina plunge since the beginning of the year. In February when I traveled to the Maldives, Money changers at Singapore’s Changi Airport told me, they wouldn’t accept Kina. I was fortunate enough to find two kind elderly women at at a FOREX kiosk willing to accept Kina.
In the City, one money changer told me, they were having problems not just with the value of the Kina but with widespread instances of counterfeiting of the K100 note. I had to give him my business card, passport and ID just so he was aware I was legit.
Yesterday, if we had carried Kina, there was no way, we would have been able to exchange it for Singaporean dollars.
At 7pm last night when we arrived at Hotel Boss in Singapore, the receptionist told me the cost of the hotel for 5 nights was SGD735. It was nearly everything I had on hand. That is how much K4000 is REALLY worth!
What I’m saying is we need some real honesty about the economic situation and the foreign currency crisis in Papua New Guinea. Criticize me, shoot me down with all the lofty economic arguments. But the reality is, our businesses are having a hell of a time importing and travelers have to fork out a lot more to go overseas.
Ain’t working for us.