Myanmar parliament endorses presidents' decision to end use of special tourist currency

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s parliament has endorsed a presidential decision to abandon the use of so-called Foreign Exchange Certificates, a special currency primarily used by tourists.

The director of President Thein Sein’s office, Zaw Htay, says parliament unanimously agreed Wednesday with a presidential letter announcing the plan.

The Foreign Exchange Certificates were introduced in 1993 in an effort to stop tourists from exchanging currency on the black market, where the value of the dollar was considerably higher than its official rate against the kyat. It was mandatory until 2003 for tourists to buy at least $200 worth.

Last year, however, President Thein Sein’s reformist government abandoned the two-tier exchange system that kept the official value of the kyat artificially high, and instituted a managed floating exchange rate system.