Egypt’s banks told to limit withdrawals and deposits

A man wearing a protective face mask withdraws money from an ATM at the Al Shohadaa "Martyrs" metro station as Egypt ramps up efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease COVID-19 in Cairo, Egypt, March 22, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 30 March 2020

Egypt’s banks told to limit withdrawals and deposits

CAIRO: Egyptian banks have been instructed to apply temporary limits on daily withdrawals and deposits in a move seemingly designed to control inflation and hoarding as concern grows over the spread of the coronavirus.
The daily limit for individuals would be 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($635) and 50,000 pounds for companies, a central bank statement said, though businesses will be exempt from the withdrawal limits if the money is used to pay employees.
The central bank has also limited daily ATM withdrawals and deposits to 5,000 pounds, it said in a statement.
“Not official, but I heard (it was designed) to control hoarding and inflation,” said one analyst who asked not to be named.

SPEEDREAD

● The daily limit for individuals would be 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($635) and 50,000 pounds for companies, though businesses will be exempt from the withdrawal limits if the money is used to pay employees.

● The central bank has also limited daily ATM withdrawals and deposits to 5,000 pounds.

“This could reduce hoarding and panic buying and contain prices,” a second analyst said.
The central bank has also urged people to limit their use of banknotes and to rely on electronic transfers and e-payments.
“All banks canceled fees on transfers and e-payment methods for the citizens’ convenience,” the statement added.
Egypt ordered mosques to shut their doors to worshippers for two weeks from March 21.
The Ministry of Islamic Endowments said on Sunday that it would extend the closure indefinitely.


Lebanon removes banking secrecy rules to fight corruption

Updated 28 May 2020

Lebanon removes banking secrecy rules to fight corruption

  • The move opens the way for investigations into bank accounts of current and former officials such as Cabinet ministers

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament approved on Thursday a law to remove decades-old banking secrecy rules in order to better fight rampant corruption that has pushed the country to the edge of economic collapse.
The move opens the way for investigations into bank accounts of current and former officials such as Cabinet ministers, legislators and civil servants, state-run National News Agency reported.
The restoration of stolen public money in the corruption-plagued nation has been a key demand of protesters who have been demonstrating since mid-October against Lebanon’s ruling elite, which they blame for widespread corruption and mismanagement.
The approval of the law came two months after the Cabinet approved a draft resolution to abolish the country’s banking secrecy laws, which have turned tiny Lebanon into the region’s Switzerland, attracting clients from around the Arab world who prized the anonymity its banks offered.
The new law gives powers to National Anti-corruption Commission and a Special Investigative Committee at the central bank to investigate bank account of officials, the report said.
For Thursday’s session, Lebanese lawmakers convened inside a Beirut theater so that they could observe social distancing measures imposed during the pandemic. Dozens of anti-government demonstrators briefly clashed with riot police outside as legislators met.
As lawmakers in face masks arrived at the theater, known as the UNESCO palace, paramedics sprayed them with disinfectant before they entered, one at a time.
Lebanon has been facing its worst economic crisis in decades, with unemployment figures soaring and the local currency losing more than half of its value against the dollar.
After the banking secrecy measure was passed, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri suspended the session until later in the afternoon when the legislators were to discuss a draft general amnesty law.
The amnesty issue has deeply divided parliamentary blocs, with Christian groups calling for pardoning Lebanese who fled to Israel after it ended its occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000, while former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and others want the release of hundreds of Islamists held as terror suspects.
Lebanon and Israel are at a state of war and some Lebanese who fled to Israel now hold Israeli citizenship. Scores of protesters demonstrated in Beirut and southern Lebanon on Thursday against pardoning those living in Israel.