The Central Bank of Egypt’s intention to convert the debts owed by importers in dollars into debts to be paid in pounds has raised many questions and concerns among banks.
A prominent banker told Daily News Egypt that banks operating in the Egyptian market have not yet received any official or written instructions to convert the debts of their importing clients from dollars to Egyptian pounds.
He added the issue is probably still being discussed by the CBE and other banks, especially public commercial banks that acquire a large share of importers’ transactions. Thus they will have the largest debts.
According to the source, the step might be taken when Tarek Amer officially begins his work as CBE governor on 27 November.
Daily News Egypt exclusively published reports that the CBE is leaning towards converting the current debts of importers, amounting to about $4bn, from dollars to pounds. The importers were unable to pay these debts due to the dollar shortage crisis.
According to the source, the CBE seeks to ease the burden on importers and help them resume their activities and pay their debts. It also seeks to reduce demand on the dollar, both in the official and parallel markets.