On July 8, 2020 the Central Bank issued circular n˚564 pertaining to banking facilities in foreign currency for importer and producers of food products.
Here are the main provisions of the circular:
- Commercial banks may request foreign currencies from the Central Bank to support the needs of importers and producers of basic food products and raw materials determined in a list established by the Ministry of Economy and Trade.
- The conditions and modalities of this circular shall be determined by the Ministry of Economy and Trade.
- Clients may only benefit from the provisions of this circular on the condition that all imported products be exclusively used for local consumption.
- Commercial banks shall ensure that all documentation submitted by the client is correct and that the client has expressly stated that all imported products are intended for local consumption and are not to be exported.
- Clients shall make a payment in LBP representing the value of the imported goods to their respective banks who shall in turn deposit Banknotes at the Central Bank to secure foreign currencies.
- Commercial banks shall submit their applications to the funding unit within the BDL after the approval of the Ministry of Economy and Trade.
- The foreign currency exchange rate shall be fixed at market rate in accordance with the electronic platform established by the Central Bank. However, import requests submitted and approved prior to July 6, 2020 according to intermediate circular No. 557 dated May 27 2020, shall remain fixed on the basis of the previous exchange rate of 3200 LBP.
- The Central Bank shall transfer the requested funds to the account held by the correspondent of the requesting Bank abroad.
- Commercial banks shall ensure the correct application of the provisions of the Circular at their own responsibility failing which sanctions shall be applied by BDL. Banks may be compelled to deposit equivalent placements to the amounts that were obtained from BDL and pay a penalty representing 50% of the transferred amount.
- The Central Bank shall refuse the benefits of the provisions of this circular to any Client that has violated any of its provisions.