The national currency is the Ugandan shilling which is written as Ush which is made up of 100 cents. Even though the shilling is made up of cents, no subdivisions have been used since the currency was revalued in 1987.Officially divided into cents until 2013; the shilling now has no subdivision.
The first Ugandan shilling (UGS) replaced the East African shilling in 1966 at par. Following high inflation, a new shilling (UGX) was introduced in 1987 worth 100 old shillings.
The shilling is usually a stable currency and predominates in most financial transactions in Uganda, which has a very efficient foreign exchange market with low spreads. The United States dollar, pound sterling and Euro is also widely accepted. The Bank of Uganda cut its policy rate to 22% on 1 February 2012 after reduction of inflation for 3 consecutive months.
Uganda started using her own currency after the collapse of the East African Currency Board. Before that, Uganda has been using other currency.
The Government of Uganda under the Bank of Uganda act- 1966 established Bank of Uganda in 1966.
Uganda Currency has changed seven times since 1966. The 1966, 1973, 1979, 1983 and 1986 issues/ changes were a result of change of regimes.
The 1987 issue has undergone a series of upgrading, though not because of political factors but in an effort to crack down counterfeits and ease transactions as well.
The latest issue was issued in May 2010.
First Currency (1966 Issue)
The 1966 currency had coins of:
5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 shilling, 2 shilling.
It also had banknotes of:
5 shillings, 10 shillings, 20 shillings, and 100 shillings
The Banknote had a ‘palm’ watermark.
A new government took over in 1971; And in 1973, changes were made to the Banknotes. The denominations of the 1966 Issue were maintained, and a 50-shilling note was also issued. A portrait of President Idi Amin was then introduced on the Banknotes.
In 1979, a new government came in place and made slight changes to the currency. While it maintained the same denominations, Amin’s portrait was replaced with an artist impression of the Bank of Uganda building.
A new government came in place in 1981. In 1982 new currency were issued out and same denominations were maintained. In 1983, the denominations of 500 and 1000 Shillings notes were introduced, and had a portrait of President Milton Obote.
A new government came in power in 1985. In 1985/86, another issue of currency was made, and Obote’s portrait replaced with the National Emblem in the middle of the Map of Uganda. A new Banknote of 5000 was also introduced.
A new government came in place in 1986. New currency with a completely different design was introduced. This currency had coins of 5 cents, 1 shilling, and 2 shillings. In 1999 new denomination coins of 50, 100, 200 and 500 shillings were introduced.
Therefore, on December 31, 2000, Notes of Uganda Shilling 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 cease to be legal tender.
The new currency also maintained same Banknote denominations of: 1000 shillings and 5000 shillings.
December 10, 2001, a new series of 1,000-Shilling banknote with additional features such as; a vertical embedded security thread visible with 1000 running along the thread, the date 2000 and the latent image feature of number 1000 at a lower bottom center of the banknote, was introduced.
On June 20, 2005, Bank of Uganda further enhanced 1,000-Shilling banknote. It has an improved cotton paper, shifting ink on the lower left front in figure 1000 that changes from green to blue when viewed at different angles.
November 01, 2004, Bank of Uganda issued an upgraded 5,000-Shilling note with upgraded features.
In 1995, a new denomination of 10,000 was introduced. It was later upgraded, and on January 02, 2006, the upgraded 10,000 shilling Banknote was put in circulation.
In 1999, Bank of Uganda issued out a new 20,000 banknote. It was also upgraded, and on November 01, 2004, the upgraded 20,000-shilling note was issued.
On December 01, 2003, Bank of Uganda issued out a new 50,000-Shilling note.
The latest family of currency was issued in May 2010.
It has the following notes: 50,000, 20,000 and 10,000