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EAST NEW BRITAIN, Papua New Guinea (July 20, 2000 - The Independent)---Traditional Tolai shell money, or ‘tabu’ as it is commonly known, may be used in East New Britain alongside modern currency.

The terms of reference for a study into ways of standardizing and mobilizing the shell currency has already been approved by the provincial assembly.

Deputy Governor and Chairman for DPI and Commerce, Leo Dion, said due to rising costs, the provincial government wants to explore the possible use of traditional currency by people who do not have modern currency.

He said the rising costs made it difficult for the people to raise enough money to buy things, and people should be allowed to use their traditional currency to buy things in the province.

Mr. Dion said the provincial government plans to legalize the use of tabu shells and will do the same for ‘kakal’ and the ‘mas,’ which are traditional currencies of the Mengen and Baining respectively, at a later date.

He said this would give the option to people to use either modern currency or the traditional ‘tabu’ shells to buy things in the province.

The division of Commerce and Industry is to carry out the study into the matter.

Newly elected Member of Parliament for Gazelle, Sinai Brown, who imports ‘tabu’ shells from the Solomon Islands, expressed satisfaction over the proposition, adding that its approval and use in the province will help to maintain the cultural identity of the province.

For additional reports from The Independent, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Independent (Papua New Guinea).

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