“Neither old nor new, I’m just Lek!”


Honorable Professor Civici,

Honorable Dr Treska,

Dear participants, colleagues and representatives of the media,

I am pleased to welcome you on this very important day for the Bank of Albania on the occasion of the launch of the awareness campaign: “Neither old nor new, I am simply Lek! “. This new initiative of our institution in the field of financial education is part of a large body of programs and projects within the framework of the understanding and the support of the national currency and the banknote. It is the realization of the efforts of the Bank of Albania to implement the recommendations of the Albanian Parliament contained in the resolution on the evaluation of the activity of our institution, aimed at eliminating the use of the obsolete terms “new lek “-” old lek “. We are aware that, unfortunately, this happens perpetually, not only in the daily communication between citizens, but also in their economic and financial interactions, thus becoming intentionally or unintentionally a source of misunderstanding.

Before presenting this campaign, let me briefly discuss this phenomenon from a historical perspective, how it appeared. The 1965 monetary reform replaced the first Lek banknotes with new ones, at a 10 to 1 ratio, altering the value of prices, wages and all other financial transactions to the same degree. Since then, most citizens have not yet been adopted with this change and are used to communicate with the obsolete term “old lek” which leads to confusion both in the communication of prices of goods and services and in reading specifies economic and financial indicators. .

Even before the launch of this awareness campaign – postponed due to the difficulties caused by the restrictions imposed to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic situation – the Bank of Albania was careful to integrate this message into its publications and programs educational, such as: Global Money Week, or the campaign on the outstanding issuance of new banknotes.

Recently, we have carried out the measurement of the use of the terminology “new lek” – “old lek” at the national level, through the inclusion of dedicated questions in the survey on the measurement of the financial literacy of the Albanian population. structured according to the model of the International Financial Education Network (INFE, OECD). Analysis of these questions provides information on the degree of misuse of the terminology by: place of residence, age group, sex, education, employment and average level of income, as well as the settings where it is most frequently used; aimed at adopting the campaign undertaken by the Bank of Albania on the elimination of the obsolete terms “new lek” – “old lek”.

The results of the survey show that more than half of respondents (54%), in terms of the 500 Lekë banknote, instinctively either identify or misread its value, adding a “0” to transform its value in “old lek”. The situations or groups where the respondents, more than 80%, answered who usually speak of the outdated term “old lek”, are mainly informal or family: small shops or fruit and vegetable markets; conversations with family, friends and colleagues; followed by public transport. On the other hand, the data shows that the miscommunication of the value of the Lek occurs very rarely between financial institutions (banks, non-banks, etc.), only 28.1%, or in administration offices. public (39.4%), although one would expect these numbers to be even lower.

Besides public and financial institutions, another force factor affecting public communication is the media, print and broadcast media. According to 20% of public perception, the media always or frequently communicate prices and monetary values ​​in “old lek”. This percentage, although small, highlights the need for greater inclusion of the media in efforts to eradicate this phenomenon altogether, especially bearing in mind its mission to convey information truthfully and accurately to the public. audience, coupled with its role.

In terms of analysis by socio-demographic groups, the results of the survey show that the monetary value in “old lek” is more frequently used by: (i) men; (ii) the elderly; (iii) people with a low level of education; (iv) the unemployed in the labor market; and (v) people with low family income. These groups identified in the survey will be at the center of the projects of this awareness campaign aimed at putting an end to the use of the erroneous term “old lek”.

In this context, the Bank of Albania is launching this awareness campaign which will extend over time and aim to be comprehensive, reaching various interest groups. In the medium term, and through various channels, we aim to knock on the door of every Albanian to uproot the terms “new” or “old”, avoiding confusion in the communication of prices and improving the correct reading of and indicators financial. Lek is the national currency in Albania, and the face value of each coin or banknote is the one inscribed on it.

However, the fact that this abusive use has been inherited from everyday language and has resisted for more than 55 years, illustrates that the sporadic and isolated efforts of a single institution to rectify this phenomenon are insufficient. A joint and coordinated engagement between the country’s central institutions, the media and other relevant actors is crucial in this regard. In particular, the role of the media is vital in this campaign, which, thanks to its power of transmission to the public, has the capacity to influence the mentality and modes of communication of the general public. School is another key factor in establishing and cultivating a new mindset. School can help disrupt this 55-year chain and not pass it on to the younger generation.

On behalf of the Bank of Albania, I invite all participating institutions, and more broadly, to join us in this meaningful and demanding commitment to educate the Albanian public, with a view to forever abandoning the use of these terms outdated in the economic context and financial interactions, and make them definitively a linguistic relic.

I warmly thank you for contributing as much as possible and allow me to reiterate once again that our currency is neither “old” nor “new”, but simply Lek!


Bank of Albania published this content on November 17, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on November 17, 2021 11:27:06 AM UTC.


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