BSP to allow exchange of Libyan dinars from repatriates

MANILA—The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will soon allow repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Libya to exchange their Libyan dinars in the Philippines.

The central bank is finalizing working banking arrangements to include Libyan dinars in the foreign currencies it accepts for conversion, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said Thursday.

But Tetangco clarified that only Filipino workers from Libya can avail of BSP’s special exchange service.

The BSP usually allows the conversion of only 18 foreign currencies—the US dollar, Japanese yen, British pound, Hong Kong dollar, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar, Singapore dollar, Australian dollar, Bahrain dinar, Kuwaiti dinar, Saudi Arabian rial, Brunei dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Thai baht, United Arab Emirates’ dirham, European Monetary Union’s euro, Chinese yuan, and Korean won.

Meanwhile, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo said the social and political situation in Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen could have a negative impact on remittances as well as exports.

Filipino workers in the Middle East contributed about 16 percent of total the remittances from overseas Filipinos last year. Remittances from the Middle East shot up by 11.2 percent last year, to $2.96 billion from $2.66 billion in 2009.

More than half the remittances from the Middle East in 2010 – or $1.644 billion – came from Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia.

Still, the BSP sees remittances growing by eight percent, breaching the $20 billion level this year as other countries post higher demand for skilled Filipino labor.

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