By Sami Zaptia.
London, 18 April 2017:
The head of the Libyan Businessmen (LBC) Council, Abdalla Fellah, has called on the Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya (CBL) to ‘‘take action in stabilizing the exchange rate of the Libyan Dinar’’ (LD). The LBC is the only current business council recognized by law.
Speaking to Libya Herald, Fellah said that the CBL should ‘‘take steps to set a stable price’’ for the sky-high LD which is at around LD 8.5 per dollar. The official rate is LD 1.4 per dollar.
Setting a more realistic price ‘‘would give confidence to the market and country’’ and stop the ‘‘battle to gain access to hard currency’’ at the official exchange rate, he explained. However, Fellah would not suggest an exchange rate for devaluing the LD, adding that that was ‘‘the job of the CBL.
The LBC ‘‘is not calling for a specific price. That is not our job. Finance is the job of the CBL’’, but a devaluation of the LD needs to take place.
With reference to other calls from businessmen for specific exchange rates to be set, Fellah added that the ‘‘opinions of individual businessmen do not represent the view of the LBC’’.
Fellah also repeated his criticism of the way the CBL went about opening Letters of Credit (LCs)to various companies – as opposed to others. He referred to the fact that many companies who had received LCs in 2016 had corruptly ‘‘imported empty containers’’.
The LBC chairman felt that the CBL was not doing enough to prevent financial and foreign exchange corruption. He definitely feels that the CBL is not consulting the business community and seeking its help in fighting corruption and solving Libya’s economic problems.
Fellah suggested that the LBC may consider creating a blacklist of ‘‘discredited’’ companies/directors in the fight against corruption. ‘‘The LBC has standards to maintain and has to be seen as a clean and respectable organization’’, he insisted.
The call by Fellah follows other calls from the General Union of Chambers of Commerce and leading bankers on the CBL to take action to halt the sliding value of the Libyan Dinar. The CBL Governor, for his part, has blamed the country’s economic woes on weak governments. He has promised a press conference soon.