On September 25 Georgia officially introduced the lari as its national currency and sole legal tender. Within one week, residents are entitled to trading in an unlimited amount of Georgian coupons (the transitional currency) for the lari at the rate of 1 million coupons to 1 lari. The initial rates of exchange were set at 1.30 lari to the US dollar and 1 lari to 4,000 rubles. Georgia’s National Bank counts on its hard currency reserves and on International Monetary Fund loans to support the lari, and forecasts a depreciation of at most 12 percent to 15 percent by the end of 1996. The large amounts of rubles still circulating in Georgia will be redeemed by residents for lari and will then be deposited by Georgia’s banks along with their own ruble holdings in specially opened accounts in the Russian Federation, to be used for financing Georgian imports from Russia under a recent intergovernmental agreement. (12)
Georgia, Russia to Jointly Guard Abkhazia Railroad.