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Eastern Tobruk Government Continues to Print Currency With Russia

Since the ouster of Moammar Ghaddafi in 2011 eastern and western governments have been divided over national institutions with the exception of the Judiciary and the Central Bank. Although in 2014 there was an attempt by the House of Representatives to divide the Central Bank and sack its governor, Sadiq Al-Kabir, the Tripoli-based Central Bank has remained intact with his leadership.

Although the Central Bank of Libya has continued to manage the disbursement of all state salaries and subsidies in both eastern and western Libya, manage the state budget and is the internationally recognised monetary authority, the eastern authorities have chosen to print additional currency as a result of a shortage in money. This act has come as another alarming sign of disunity in the country.

Libya, once being one of the wealthiest economies in Africa, has seen a great decline in living standards since the uprising of 2011, as the two rival authorities and several armed groups fight for control of power and oil. The UN backed government in Tripoli has been working to control the territory and make an impact while the eastern government has had a separate agenda, and by proxy of their own acting central bank governor, are attempting to stabilize and control eastern Libya.

The new coins, made in Russia, have arrived via the eastern port of Benghazi and will be an addition to the Russian-made currency which has already been issued in eastern Libya. The new coins worth are approximately one Libyan dinar – about 75 U.S. cents at the official rate but less than 12 cents on the black market –  and would be valid as of November  2, 2017. The coins are replacing the  banknotes that are mostly worn out.

This week the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya Sadiq Al-Kabir has been in the United States discussing conditions in the banking and financial sector in Libya with the US Deputy Assistant of the State Department.

The bank released a statement on its official website saying that the meeting discussed ways to develop anti-money laundering and terrorism financing systems in Libya, and potential ways to avoid including Libya on the international embargo list.
The bank pointed out that Libya will be subjected to an international assessment in the end of October in order to evaluate the international anti-money laundering system, “financing of terrorism”, and to verify the extent of its compliance with international standards.

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