Egypt’s Central Bank Limits Deposits, Withdrawals

A man wearing a protective face mask withdraws money from an ATM at the Al Shohadaa "Martyrs" metro station in Cairo, Egypt, March 22, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Egypt’s central bank temporarily limited daily withdrawals and deposits from ATMs and banks. This comes in an effort to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The daily limit for individuals would be EGP10,000 ($637) and EGP50,000 for companies. Though businesses will be exempt from the withdrawal limits if the money is used to pay employees.

The central bank has also urged people to limit their use of banknotes and to rely on electronic transfers and e-payments, adding that it instructed banks to cancel fees on transfers and e-payment methods “for the citizens’ convenience.”

Dr. Alia El-Mahdi, the ex-Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences at Cairo University, also ruled out that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the central bank’s measures to limit the use of banknotes.

She told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the central bank might be taking precautionary steps to avoid a rush by depositors to the banks in case the virus spreads further.

The Egyptian Stock Exchange (EGX) announced on Sunday the activation of an e-voting system for companies registered in the bourse. This comes under the precautionary and preventive measures taken to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The bourse said Egypt For Information Dissemination (EGID) has been working on developing the e-voting system; it also enables shareholders of companies to vote electronically on the decisions of the general assemblies and boards. This also comes as part of the government’s digital transformation efforts.

The move will guarantee efficient meetings while preserving the safety of board members and shareholders, EGX Chairman Mohamed Farid said.