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Turkmenistan: With Money in Short Supply, Cash-Free Seen as Answer

The Terkezy Bazaar in Turkmenistan. Cash is still king in this Central Asian state’s markets, but one rumored possibility is that the authorities are bracing to force all traders, down to market traders, to install bank card payment terminals as part of a government push to dispense with cash as much as possible. (Photo: Asian Development Bank)

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.
 

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Turkmenistan: With Money in Short Supply, Cash-Free Seen as Answer

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