By Sami Zaptia.
London, 24 April 2017:
The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) announced yesterday that it has sold more than US$ 100 million at the official exchange rate in the form of US$ 400 per person – up to 12 April.
The distribution through commercial banks is taking place through a system set up specifically on 12 February for the distribution of this allocation, the CBL explained. The money is handed over to the head of the family, as per the official Family Book.
The distribution mechanism was set up to prevent corruption and the monopolization of the distribution of this allotment by black market traders and some corrupt bank officials.
The bank says that this policy is part of its efforts to reduce demand on hard currency on the black market and halt the slide in the value of the fast depreciating dinar.
The chart released by the CBL is indicative in showing how some banks are more efficient in serving their customers in distributing the dollar allotments.
For example, the privately owned Aman bank seems to have distributed about 57 percent of the US$ 100 million to over 26,000 customers, whereas Libya’s largest bank, Jumhuriya bank has only succeeded in distributing about 35 million to just over 11,000 customers.
The National Commercial Bank, one of Libya’s oldest banks, has conducted one transaction. The Commerce and Development bank, which has recently fallen foul to accusations of facilitating black market transactions, is not listed at all by the CBL.
Critics say that the amount is a drop in the ocean. They accuse the CBL of not forcing the pace of distribution fast enough and accuse some commercial bank employees of being complicit in delaying the distribution of the dollar allocations due to their benefit from the black market hard currency market.