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Libya may issue bonds, central bank chief says

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The Libyan government may issue bonds in order to help banks in the country by giving them access to tradable financial instruments, Libya’s central bank governor Saddek Omar Elkaber said Thursday.

“We don’t need to raise money through selling bonds but may issue sovereign bonds to boost investment banking and create a market,” he said.

Unlike other countries which went through Arab Spring uprisings, Libya is rich because of its oil reserves and accumulated oil earnings. Elkaber said the central bank’s foreign reserves, including cash and liquid instruments, now totaled $160 billion.

He said the government had been focusing on improving security since the 2011 ouster of Moammar Gadhafi. “There’s a plan to issue three licenses for Islamic banks. Some conventional banks now have Islamic windows but there is a huge need for Islamic products. We’re still in the brainstorming stage and will be ready soon.”