Egypt Introduces Prison Sentences for Black Market Currency Trading
With Egypt's economic woes reaching their peak, the government has approved far harsher penalties - including prison sentences - for individuals caught breaking the Foreign Exchange Law.
As of Wednesday 8th of June, the Egyptian government has approved stricter punitive measures against black market currency traders, with the aim of easing the dollar shortage that is contributing to Egypt’s economic crisis. According to Reuters, the Cabinet has approved amendments to the Foreign Exchange Law that allow for the implementation of jail terms of up to three years, and fines ranging from 1 million to 5 million EGP for any individuals caught caught breaking the law, in an effort to aid the Central Bank’s crackdown on black market trading.
Additionally, Bloomberg reports that the Cabinet has introduced sentences for any individuals caught trading in foreign currency outside of the approved institutions, with prison terms reaching up to 10 years.
The Central Bank, whose currency devaluation of 13 percent last March was hoped would alleviate downward pressure on the Egyptian pound, has already resorted to taking legal action, permanently revoking the licenses of four exchange companies with up to 27 offices throughout the country.
While these measures are still awaiting approval by the Parliament, the Egyptian pound currently changes hands on the illegal market at about 10.94 EGP to the dollar, in comparison to the rate of 8.78 EGP to the dollar that has been steadily maintained by the Central Bank.