Last month, the Central Bank of Libya began the process of withdrawing their old banknote series that depicted the image of former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Saddeq Omar Elkaber, governor of the central bank, said a new series was being printed to replace the old notes. This replacement process started with the 50 dinar note, which is the highest value banknote, in January.
“The bank is asking the Libyan banks to accept or facilitate the handover by accepting the fifty dinar banknotes,” he said.
Citizens have until March 15 to swap the old banknotes for the new ones.
But the goal of issuing a new banknote series in Libya isn’t just to eliminate cash depicting the ex-head of state, according to Elkaber. It is also a way for the bank to help reinstate confidence in the Libyan banking system, which has suffered greatly due to civil war in the country.
During the conflict, Gaddafi’s regime depleted the banking system and seized 3-4 billion dinars from the central bank. As a result, Elkaber said, many citizens chose not to keep their money in banks.
“One of the biggest implications in the economy is the increase of the percentage of money in the market outside the banks which is in excess of 15 billion dinars ($12 billion) or 96 per cent of available money,” he told Reuters last month.
Ali Mohammed Salem, the central bank’s deputy governor, said that 300 million dinars have been doles out to banks across the country already, and that the end goal was to inject about 6 billion into these institutions.