Iraq has decided to hold off on a plan to knock three zeros off the nominal value of bank notes of its currency because it does not believe the economic climate is suitable, reports Reuters.
The central bank said last August that it planned to redenominate the Iraqi dinar to simplify financial transactions in an economy that is still heavily centralised and dominated by oil, and where deals are often carried out in cash.
The proposal to restructure the dinar to bring more liquidity into the market has been awaiting parliamentary approval since last year.
On Thursday, a statement on the website of the cabinet secretary said the cabinet had decided to halt all procedures relating to the redenomination of the dinar “until further notice”.
“The economic committee discussed this issue and so did cabinet … There is a possibility that it could cause some problems in the economic situation. Besides that, this operation is so big that cabinet sees circumstances are not right to control this,” cabinet secretary Ali al-Alaq told Reuters.
“We have more than 30 trillion dinars in circulation. To withdraw this amount from the market and then to examine them and to dispose of them is a huge process. Even the technical and the monetary capabilities to control a process like this, we consider as insufficient and it is not seen as a priority currently,” Alaq said.
The central bank says Iraq’s large foreign reserves, which have risen to a record $60 billion on the back of high oil prices, will shield it from any damage to its financial system on the national level.