The Syndicate of Money Changers in Lebanon on Monday issued a statement officially declaring an end to a mechanism under which citizens had been allowed to buy $200 each every month at a rate approved by the central bank.
The mechanism, which had required citizens to only present a national ID card, had been adopted on the hope that it would lower the dollar exchange rate on the black market but it quickly fired back.
Crowds of citizens started gathering outside money change shops every day to buy dollars with the aim of selling them on the black market for higher rates.
According to media reports, some money changers would even give any citizen presenting a national ID card LBP 200,000 “in return for nothing.” Those money changers sought to withhold dollar banknotes in order to sell them later at higher rates.
The new mechanism announced Monday by the Syndicate will require citizens to present documents proving that they actually need the dollar banknotes.
Citizens allowed to benefit from the mechanism are those seeking to pay the salaries of their foreign domestic workers; those seeking to buy travel tickets; those seeking to pay for higher education and student accommodation abroad; and those seeking to pay a housing installment or a U.S. dollar debt in Lebanon.