exchange rates

Libya central bank unifies exchange rate

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
Libya central bank unifies exchange rate

FOREX. An employee counts US dollars at a currency exchange in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 4, 2016.

File photo by Mahmud Turkia/AFP

Libyan authorities say the move aims to stem corruption and money laundering

After its first full board meeting in 6 years, Libya’s central bank announced on Wednesday, December 16, a unification and devaluation of official exchange rates, a move that aims to fight corruption.

The rate nationwide from January 3 will be 4.48 Libyan dinars to the dollar for “all public, private commercial and personal transactions in foreign currency,” the Tripoli-based body said in a statement.

Over the last two years, two official rates have been in effect: 1.4 dinars to the dollar for public sector transactions, according to a source at the central bank, and 3.9 dinars for personal and private commercial transactions.

Authorities said the move aims to stem corruption and money laundering that have blighted the economy.

Some have profited by buying dollars at the official rate and selling them on the black market, sometimes at more than 7 dinars per dollar.

Libya has been riven by violence since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with two rival administrations vying for control since 2014. 

The central bank has also been split between two branches – one in Tripoli, seat of the United Nations (UN)-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), and another in Benghazi in the east of the country, an area controlled by strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Representatives of the two branches took part in meetings on Monday and Tuesday, December 14 and 15, in Geneva that were also attended by the World Bank.

Wednesday’s announcement came after the central bank’s first unified board meeting between its directors in 6 years. 

The UN Support Mission in Libya applauded the announcement as “an important and much needed step towards alleviating the suffering of the Libyan people and a good sign that this vital sovereign institution is moving towards unification.”

Forces loyal to the GNA and those of rival Haftar formally agreed a ceasefire in October.

Despite holding Africa’s biggest oil reserves, the country has long endured shortages of liquidity, fuel, and power, while being hit by soaring prices. – Rappler.com