Friday, March 31, 2017

What's Up In the Stans? Turkmenistan Is Going Cash Free

Lemons into lemonade.
From Eurasianet:

Turkmenistan: With Money in Short Supply, Cash-Free Seen as Answer
Turkmenistan has a plan to fix its ever-troubled domestic currency, the manat – and that plan is to dispense with cash as much as possible.

The desire to go cash-free is being spun as a nod to economic modernization, although all available evidence points to the move being motivated by a stubborn liquidity crisis that shows no sign of abating.

At a regular end-of-week government meeting, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on March 24 listened to one of his deputy prime ministers provide an update on planned improvements to the banking system.

Byashimmyrat Hojamammedov, the Cabinet’s point-man on economic affairs, reminded the president that under a decree adopted more than three years ago, state workers began in January 2016 to receive their salaries on their bank cards. Pensions, disability allowances, benefits and student stipends are likewise paid onto cards. Foreign companies based in Turkmenistan were also required to pay local staff that way – exclusively in manat – from the start of 2016.

The 2013 decree stipulated that in line with this measure, shops and businesses in the service sector should install the equipment required to process payments with those cards. By all appearances, this side of things has been slow.

Hojamammedov said work is now under way to broaden the scope for cashless transactions....MORE
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