By Sami Zaptia.
London, 25 July 2019:
Libya’s privately owned Aman Bank announced that it is lifting the cash withdrawal limit for all its customers to twenty thousand dinars per week in all its branches.
This will include certified instruments or cheques.
The has also raised the value of ATM withdrawals to LD 400 through locally issued Visa cards or via its AMAN Mobile App.
On the face of it, the announcement by Aman may indicate an improvement in Libya’s cash crisis. But in reality sources in Tripoli stress that their ability to withdraw their cash varies from bank to bank and from day to day.
The feedback is that smaller, private sector banks, with a smaller customer base, are more organized and responsive to customer’s needs than the larger state-owned banks who have a huge historic customer base.
Equally, there is a huge variation in banking services from coastal banks to banks in the interior and south.
It must, however, be noted that the cash crisis had improved markedly after the introduction of the economic reforms of September 2018.
The introduction of the foreign currency sale tax and the sale of foreign currency had attracted billions of Libyan dinars to the Central Bank of Libya’s coffers which helped resolve the crisis. But recently, and no doubt not helped by the Tripoli war launched by Khalifa Hafter on 4 April, the liquidity problem has partially returned.
It must also be noted that all banks are now making a huge effort to encourage and educate their customers into using e-banking, way from the dominant cash-based economy that Libya has been for decades.
It will be recalled that Aman Bank had also announced earlier this month the activation of remittances through Western Union in all its branches to all countries of the world.