26 currency exchange bureaus around Egypt have been permanently shutdown, while others have temporarily had their licenses revoked.
According to The Central Bank of Egypt’s website, 94 licensed currency exchange offices are active around the country, however, five have been shut down last Monday in order to attempt to stabilise and control the market, according to Ahram.
An anonymous source from the CBE claims that news agency MENA announced the closing of 47 exchange offices in total. Officially, 26 have been permanently shut down, while others have their licenses retracted and are closed for six to twelve months depending on how severe their violations were.
Egypt’s cabinet ratified jail sentences for individuals violating the foreign exchange law last June with fines starting at 1 million EGP up to 5 million EGP, in addition to prison terms from six months to three years. In addition, repeated delinquents can have their licenses permanently retracted. The cabinet also permitted CBE’s governor to have the authority to fine or revoke any exchange office's license for a year in the case of any violations or infringements.
The CBE has kept the Egyptian pound stable at 8.78 EGP against the dollar since a 13.5% drop last March. Further drop in the pound's value is expected since last July when CBE’s governor, Tarek Amer, stated that preserving the pound over the last five years was a “grave mistake.”
Egypt, which relies greatly on imports, has been suffering from the shortage of the US dollar since 2011 and the ensuing political conflicts that have worried investors and tourists, the two main sources of income for the country.