By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 12 November 2015:
In a move aimed at easing the cash shortage in Tripoli, the Jumhouria Bank has . . .[restrict]announced that its planned internet banking system will start on 20 December. The system can be used to pay electricity, water and other bills – although since the revolution hardly anyone has paid an electricity and water bill.
There is a severe shortage of cash in the city. It is almost impossible to withdraw more than LD 1,000 from a bank, despite the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) having plenty of dinar reserves. One bank manager is reported to have said that the reason his bank would not take delivery of dinars was it was feared they would be stolen en route or the bank be attacked by gangsters once the cash arrived.
Cash in absolutely necessary on Libya where the use of credit cards is almost non-existent, including in large supermarkets.
In a separate move to try ease the lack of foreign exchange for Libyans travelling abroad, both the Jumhouria and Aman banks are to reactivate their international credit cards. Both will have a ceiling of $1,000 a week for purchases with a maximum of $5,000 a year. Before the system was suspended, the annual limit was between $10,000 and $15,000 depending on the bank. Transactions will be effected at the official rate but with a hefty commission.
Reports that the CBL is also looking to reactivate Western Union and MoneyGram in Libya are still under consideration, a CBL official has meanwhile told the Libya Herald.
News has been circulated on the internet during the two days ago about the possibility of reopening the offices of Western Union and Money Gram agents in Tripoli at 20 November.
“I wonder how this has leaked to media,” the official said. “Yes, it is true that there is a proposal in this regard under discussion but still we cannot confirm if it can be applicable or not.”
“The decision will be taken within the next few days,” he stated, claiming that the reports had already had a positive impact on the black market exchange rates of the Libyan dinar against hard currencies. However, although the price of a dollar on the back market briefly came down to LD 2.60 on Wednesday it was again up to LD 3.50 today. [/restrict]