BERUT: Central Bank governor Riad Salameh Monday said sound monetary policies adopted over the past few years have contributed in protecting the Lebanese pound and widening its circulation through stabilizing its purchasing power.
“We have passed several tests to maintain the stability [of the Lebanese Pound] through increasing the value of foreign exchange reserves which have exceeded $ 36 billion and also through our gold holdings which we consider a safety valve,” Salameh told the inaugural ceremony of the Mint and Print conference.
Salameh added that thanks to stimulus initiatives targeting the private sector, the Central Bank has also succeeded in recovering the role of the Lebanese Pound as a lending currency after it was long considered a savings currency.
Held on the occasion of Banque du Liban’s 50th anniversary, the Mint and Print conference runs until May 28 and addresses the latest on banknotes industry and coins minting.
Salameh explained that in parallel with the increase of consumers’ trust in the Lebanese pound, the Central Bank has not wasted a chance to develop the Lebanese currency.
“The Central Bank believes that the branding and characteristics of the local currency, often reflect the true socio-economic face of the country of origin,” he said.
Salameh said Banque du Liban has invested expertise and money to use the latest banknote minting and printing techniques, while paying careful attention substrates, security and the cash cycle.
Salameh also spoke about a continuous plan to revamp all of the Central Bank’s sections and departments, adding that this has led to increasing the circulation of the Lebanese pound as opposed to the U.S. dollar by 10 percent on a yearly basis over the past five years.
The Governor added that the Central Bank now has a museum tracing the history of Lebanese bank notes which uses state of the art and visitors-friendly software.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of its foundation, the Central Bank issued a new LL50,000 banknote earlier this month.
Lebanon had issued a limited edition of LL50,000 banknotes in November 2013 to mark 70 years since its independence despite a spelling mistake on the commemorative currency.
The French-language face of the special issue 50,000 pound note spelled "independence" as it is written in English, rather than the French "independance."
The bank blamed the printing company for the mistake.