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Banks asked the regulatory body to ease the new directive imposed on the way banks handle hard currency. They asked the central bank to give them the responsibility of managing the LC process.

Bank CEOs who met with top officials of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) a week ago claimed that the ‘Transparency in Foreign Currency Allocation and Foreign Exchange Management’ directive has become not relevant to their day to day activity.

According to the information that Capital obtained from leaders in the industry, participants in the meeting held on August 4 stated that the new system is affecting their relationship with loyal customers.

Our customers are complaining about our operation in terms of approving letters of credit (LC) that should be operating as per the new directive.

The directive forced banks to apply the first come first served scheme on requests for hard currency.

Besides the priority sectors sub article 6.2 of the directive indicated that a bank shall sell foreign currency to its all other customers on a first come first served basis.

According to sources most of the banks asked the regulatory body to give them the responsibility of managing the foreign currency market on a fair basis and to ease the directive imposed since February 2016.

Bank leaders claimed that the new procedure is looking at all users the same way but the individual or company that demands a small amount of hard currency and others looking for millions of dollars should be seen as equal.

“The pioneer customers of the banks and new comers are not seen as equal,” they told Capital.

Sources said that some of the bankers have given their support for the new directive. They argued that the new system has helped them to undertake the foreign currency operation in a peaceful manner.

The management of NBE has declined banks’ demand to manage things on their own. . They said that the new rule is being applied because  banks are unable to control the illegalities of the sector and are not looking to customers as equals.

The foreign currency market was a source of corruption in the financial industry.

There are claims that customers have to allocate more than two birr per dollar for forex officers to get hard currency.