CBE governor briefs Sisi on efforts to secure hard currency, fight black market
President Sisi with Hisham Ramiz, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt - Photo courtesy of presidential office

CAIRO: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Central Bank of Egypt’s (CBE) governor Hisham Ramez, to review efforts aimed at providing hard currency to procure citizens’ needs, according to a Sunday presidency statement.

During the meeting, Ramez briefed the President on the recent economic issues, as well as CBE’s procedures against hard currency black market, said presidency spokesperson, Ambassador Alaa Youssif.

“The procedures taken by the central bank regarding the exchange rate increased dollar supply at banks,” Ramez said.

In January, the CBE allowed the pound to weaken the dollar after 10 consecutive depreciations as part of its fight against the dollar black market.

It also imposed a $10,000 daily ceiling for cash deposits in hard currency for both individuals and companies.

Speaking at Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) in March, Ramez said: “There is no black market now in Egypt. Trading in the black market is over.”

Ramez further told Sisi that Egypt’s net international reserves stood at to $19.6 billion at May-end.

At April-end, the reserves jumped from $15.291 billion to $20.5 billion upon receiving $6 billion worth of deposits from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates (UAE) in April 2015.

Ramez also informed the President about the banking sector’s activities and its role in providing job opportunities, bolstering business flow and financing investment, in order to prop up Egypt’s economy, in light of the significant demand for direct investments in the country.

Despite multiple complaints from investors and importers, ailing from hard currency shortfall as the CBE focuses on providing liquidity for a priority list goods, Ramez vowed not to revoke a $10,000 daily ceiling for cash deposits in hard currency.

The CEB’s governor noted that these decisions and procedures had contributed greatly to upgrading Egypt’s credit rating for “stable” to “positive.”

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department Masoud Ahmed, welcomed Egypt’s Central Bank procedures to address the parallel market.

“They are welcome because they do try to bring about a reduction of any differentials between the parallel market and the official market,” Masoud said during a press briefing on the sidelines of the World Bank Group and IMF 2015 annual spring meetings in Washington, D.C in April.

Having a unified market “would help create the basis for more investment, and better functioning of the exchange markets, and as a result encourage investment and growth,” he added.

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