South Sudan seceded from the north on Saturday, the culmination of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war.
South Sudan Finance Minister David Deng Athorbei told reporters in the capital, Juba, the country would receive its first shipment of South Sudan pounds from De La Rue (DLAR.L), a British printer, on Wednesday.
“And then on the 18th, the government of South Sudan should have done its job … and then it will be the job of the Central Bank of South Sudan to issue the currency,” he said.
“From the 18th onwards, depending on the distribution … your money will be out.”
The minister said it would have a one-to-one value with the existing Sudanese pound, which would keep circulating in the north. He did not elaborate on how the currency would be managed.
The announcement came sooner than many expected. Officials had said earlier that South Sudan would introduce its own currency within six months.
The minister declined to say how long it would take to replace the northern notes, adding the Central Bank of South Sudan was due to make a statement on Tuesday.
South Sudan also announced a caretaker Cabinet, made up of ministers from its old semi-autonomous administration, to oversee the country until a full government is appointed.
The caretaker ministers would not be allowed to make significant contractual decisions without the approval of President Salva Kiir, Information Minister Barnaba Marial told reporters.
“These ministers will not take major decisions and if those major decisions are of any urgency, then they can contact the president to facilitate the process,” he said.
There were some changes of titles to reflect the south’s new national status. Deng Alor, the former minister of regional cooperation, became foreign minister, and Nhial Deng Nhial, the former minister of SPLA (southern army) affairs, headed the defence ministry.
Pagan Amum stayed as minister of peace — a role focused on continuing negotiations with the north on disputes, including the position of their border, ownership of the disputed Abyei region and the handling of oil revenues after the split.
The new currency will carry images of South Sudan’s civil war hero John Garang on one side and South Sudanese scenes on the other, Athorbei said.
Government salaries for July would be paid in the new currency, he added.