Now, visitors to Cuba and its citizens will have a single unified currency to deal in. Image Credit: NYT

Havana: Cuba will end its decades-old dual currency system and have a single unified exchange rate of 24 pesos per dollar from January, President Miguel Diaz-Canel said. The change will take effect from January 1.

Streamlining the currency system will put the country on a sounder footing "to go ahead with the transformations that we need to update our economic and social model," Diaz-Canel said in a televised speech.

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The socialist economy has been hurt by the slump in tourism income since the pandemic began, and was already suffering under the US embargo. The unification of the currencies is part of a wider reform package which the government has also said will also include modification of some prices and subsidies.

Diaz-Canel had announced the unification of the exchanges in October, saying details would be provided at a later date. Since 1994, foreigners have had access to the Convertible Cuban Peso, or CUC, pegged to the dollar, while ordinary Cubans mainly used the much weaker Cuban peso. The change will take effect from Jan. 1.