Information for enterprises, retail businesses and institutions
In view of 10 October 2010, the date on which the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba have chosen to adopt the US dollar as their new currency. As from 1 January 2011, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) will be responsible for payments on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. In view of this capacity, the Dutch Ministry of Finance has requested DNB to organise the transition to the new currency. Within this scope, DNB has developed a scenario for the currency changeover, which will be worked out in detail with the parties involved, like banks, enterprises and retail businesses, in the coming months. Under this scenario, every party is responsible for the necessary preparatory measures, including the costs involved, and DNB is in charge of the direction and progress monitoring.
The currency changeover scenario for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba is derived from the euro introduction scenario applied in the Netherlands, but adapted to the local circumstances. The scenario describes the smoothest possible way for realising the currency changeover, distinguishing between a cash part and a non-cash part. The key moment for the changeover will be Saturday 1 January 2011 at 00.00 hr. On that moment, the US dollar will become the legal tender on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. As from that moment, non-cash payments will only be effected in US dollars. Account balances in guilders will automatically be converted to US dollars. For cash payments on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, guilder banknotes and coins will still be accepted until 1 February 2011. After that date, the guilder will continue to be legal tender on Curaçao and Sint Maarten only. The official exchange rate at the moment of introduction of the US dollar is set at Naf 1.79 for 1 US dollar. It has been provided by law that all guilder amounts will be converted to US dollar amounts by operation of law. This implies that citizens and enterprises will not need to take action in this regard. The same holds for loan agreements, mortgages etc.
THE CASH CHANGEOVER:
- To promote a smooth changeover for banknotes and coins, banks shall, as from 1 January 2011, only issue US dollars, both via ATMs and counters.
- Retailers are requested to make sure that as from 1 January 2011 they give back change in US dollar notes and coins only.
- Residents are advised first to use up their guilder notes and coins for payments on and after 1 January 2011.
- When paying in shops, residents are advised not to use large quantities of guilder coins and to avoid the use of two currencies in one payment transaction.
- Cash payments in guilders shall in principle be accepted until 1 February 2011.
- As from 1 January 2011, cheques shall be paid out in US dollars, also when written out in guilders.
- As from 1 January, cheques may only be written out in US dollars.
For a smooth changeover, it is important that the guilder has been taken out of circulation as much as possible prior to 1 January 2011. The public will be advised to exchange coins at a bank prior to October 2010 or deposit coins on an account. On 31 December 2010, there shall be a sufficient supply of dollar coins and notes (including the lower denominations) available on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. After expiry of the period during which payments can be made in either guilders or dollars, citizens shall still be enabled to exchange guilders at banks on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba against dollars, free of charge, until a date yet to be decided. From that date onwards, exchanging guilders shall be subject to the same fee as the purchase and sale of foreign currency.
THE NON-CASH EXCHANGE
On 1 January 2011 at 00.00 hr., all guilder accounts held with bank branches on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba shall automatically be converted to dollar accounts. It will not be possible for citizens and enterprises to convert their existing accounts to dollar accounts prior to the changeover.
- Enterprises and retailers shall make the necessary arrangements to ensure that they can effect all non-cash payments in dollars as from the date of the changeover.
- To this end they shall make sure that their accounting systems are adjusted accordingly in time and able to work in dollars. Cash registers with pre-programmed conversion buttons shall be adjusted.
- Banks shall be ready in time for the conversion of non-cash balances to dollars and the transition of non-cash payments to the US dollar.
- DNB will closely monitor the progress of the conversion to the systems.
The success of the changeover hinges on good communication. The authorities will see to the public information. DNB will distribute information on payments. Banks, enterprises and institutions will need to inform their customers on branch-specific subjects.
The changeover in brief:
Prior to 1 October 2010 Exchange as many guilders as possible
1 January 2011 Introduction of the US dollar
1 February 2011 Guilder ceases to be legal tender on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius & Saba