The Finance Committee in the Iraqi Parliament faced a crisis on Saturday regarding the expected scarcity of cash dollars in the country at the start of 2024. This was due to the Central Bank’s decision, which raised concerns about “foreign” banks having control over the currency auction.
According to committee member Muhammad Nouri, there are several non-Iraqi banks that have control over the foreign currency buying and selling window. The Central Bank imposes conditions on a specific group before extending those conditions to banks or companies. As a result, these non-Iraqi banks are the sole controllers of this market.
Nouri stated that many financial transfers are falsely claimed to be for purchasing goods. This causes delays in actual transfers. The fake transfers are often supported by political groups and armed factions that are affiliated with economic parties.
Nouri stated that while personal transfers for studying or seeking medical treatment abroad and simple trade are legitimate, large transfers are suspect as they are often linked to the parties’ economic interests and could be intended to smuggle currency out of the country.
The Central Bank of Iraq has confirmed that dollar deposits are guaranteed despite recent developments. Anyone who has deposited their money in US dollars with an Iraqi bank, whether in the past or until 2024, has the right to receive their money in cash and in US dollars.
The Central Bank has stated that its ongoing reforms aim to ensure that both the bank and the Iraqi banking system as a whole comply with international standards of compliance. This will prevent the dollar from being accessed by parties who are prohibited from obtaining it or engaging in speculation with it.