DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:30 P.M.) – In a bid to solve Libya’s liquidity problems before a currency devaluation, the Tobruk-based government announced it may order more banknotes from Russia and was ready to seek common ground with the rival Tripoli-based government.
Ali Al-Hibri, head of the eastern ‘Central Bank of Libya’, nevertheless underlined on Thursday that he lacked leverage since his counterpart in Tripoli continued to control oil reserves and disburse funds across the country, with international backing.
Fortunately, four out of six board members of the western ‘Central Bank of Libya’, are aligned with Ali Al-Hibri which may help to solve the wartorn country’s economic crisis. Inflation levels are currently at 30 percent while Libyans in major cities often que for days to withdraw cash from banks.
In a rare interview, Hibri said we would however not meet with Sadiq Al-Kabir, head of Tripoli’s central Bank, but expected a devaluation plan to be pushed through by his counterpart.
On the black market, the value of the dinar has risen more then 600 percent since 2014. In the meantime, the country has been left with two rival governments and dozens of armed militias, all vying for power in the wake of Muammar Gaddafi’s death.
For months, western diplomats have urged Hibri and Kabir to work together and unify the country’s exchange rate to avoid well-connected Libyans from profiteering off the black market.
Nevertheless, Hibri announced today he would seek a fresh order of bank notes from Russia at a board meeting next month to ease the liquidity shortage.
After British and German companies failed to follow through on their promises, the eastern central bank took its first delivery of banknotes from Russia in 2016. The last batch was received three months ago, totalling 4 billion dinars.