Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Gamal Negm met with officers from banking operations and compliance departments last Thursday to clarify several of the CBE’s decision to raise the cap on foreign currency deposits to $250,000 per month.
Officers from banking operations expressed uncertainty regarding several features of the new CBE directive governing dollar deposits for import operations. In the first instance, officers were unsure whether the new deposit caps apply to natural and legal or singularly legal persons.
During the meeting, Negm stressed that only importers of commodities that the government has claimed are essential can benefit from the recent CBE decision. The CBE directive applies neither to individuals—natural persons—nor companies that import goods on the government’s non-essential list.
Negm noted that all parties can deposit $50,000 per month whether for importing operations or not. The increased deposit cap however applies only to legal persons. As long as the parties in question have trade records, they are considered as legal persons who can operate under the CBE’s new regulations.
Bank authorities were similarly unsure about the possibility of rollover in the case that companies did not use the entire allowed dollar deposits for import operations in a single month. However, Negm emphasised that it is not permissible to use a previous months deposit in the following month and that the banks will deduct the remaining money from the amount of cash deposit the following month.
Negm also clarified that cashing cheques in foreign currencies is treated like cash and that in the case that the value of the cheque exceeded the maximum limit, the surplus will be refunded to the customer.
According to one of the bank representatives who attended the meeting, there was a dispute among the banks regarding the CBE’s classifications for goods. Negm attempted to clarify these classificatory uncertainties.
Negm also clarified that the deposit date will be the date on which the regulatory determinations are made rather than the posting date.