Central Bank announces half billion dollars for food imports as dinar continues to slide
By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli/Tunis, 11 April 2017:
The dinar continued to plummet in value on the black market today, falling almost 14 percent during the day, reaching LD 9.10 to the US dollar by the time the market closed early this evening.
At various points during the day it even was reported to have hit LD 10 to the dollar, although this turned out to be no more than rumour.
In a bid to end the slide and calm market fears that the dinar would hit, or even go past, the LD 10 mark in the next couple of days, the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) announced during the day that it had set aside $550 million in hard currency for importers to buy in foodstuffs in the run-up to Ramadan.
Part of the slide in the dinar is seen as caused by the fact that because the CBL has provided so few letters of credit to them, food importers have been forced to reply on the black market to buy products.
The addition of billions of new, freshly printed dinars into the money supply is also viewed as having seriously weakened the value of the currency.
Prior to today’s CBL announcement, the crash triggered fresh widespread public anger, with accusations that black market dealers as well as the CBL were responsible.
Yesterday, members of Tripoli’s Nawasi brigades again targeted dealers in the Old Town and Dahra district, not only closing them down, but unrelated neighbouring shops as well. The home of Central Bank of Libya (CBL) governor Saddek Elkaber in Tripoli’s Fashloum district was also attacked as was the CBL’s Islamic banking headquarters.
Housed in a villa in Busetta, it is believed the protestors thought that it too was Elkaber’s private residence.
In a statement today, though, the CBL alleged the attack on Elkaber’s home was part of a larger plan to bring down the CBL and threaten the ability of state institutions to function. Calling for greater protection by “legally assigned” forces to protect those at work and home, it also described the action as contrary as to Islamic law and Libyan values.
Meanwhile, in a separate response to the crashing dinar, the House of Representatives in Tobruk yesterday called for applications for the posts of governor and deputy governor of the Central Bank of Libya to replace both Elkaber and the east’s CBL governor Ali Hibri. Although there was no formal session because the president, Ageela Saleh, was absent in Guinea, it set up a committee to assess applications. HoD hearings have been set for Monday 24 April with a vote on who should be appointed on 25 April.