Buying foreign currency even more difficult

Foreign currency shortage in Belarus has been addressed by the government with yet another controversial measure – to purchase dollars people have to present their passport and a document explaining why they need the currency. The new law came into force on Wednesday.

Belarusian opposition newspapers commented that the measure was another step back that drew country’s economy another step closer to the soviet model.

The new purchase procedure is much more time-consuming and frustrating for the customers. A cashier in one of the banks told Belsat she understood why clients reacted with either laugh or irritation when asked about the future use of the money. Yet, she was forced to pose the question to each person buying foreign currency. One of her customers, a young man, said he needs money “to destabilize the currency market in the country” and than gave up on his purchase.

All Belarusian banks are now obliged to register each currency exchange and submit documents with personal informations of those buying foreign money to the central data base, which monitors all currency transactions. Independent commentators ask why do the authorities need to collect such detailed data and how will they use it.

Michał Janczuk (TV Belsat)

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