Difficulties with the Ukrainian exchange in Latvia / Article
One of the areas strongly affected by the war is the national currency of the countries concerned. “Local residents and global financial markets are less likely to trust it, and there is some uncertainty about the target rate,” Bank of Latvia spokesman Jānis Silakalns said.
At the beginning of last week, none of the exchange companies in Latvia exchanged Russian or Belarusian rubles or Ukrainian hryvnias. Silakalns said foreign exchange in Latvia is in the hands of private companies and the country does not regulate this area.
The Bank of Latvia is calling on companies to provide the service where possible, and some companies are doing so. Ukrainian war refugees can also pay by card.
Andris Arhipenko, chairman of the exchange company Tavex, said that the Ukrainian hryvnia had been introduced into the company the previous week and so far around 100 families had benefited from it.
“We are currently receiving letters from all European countries, noticing that we are doing this. Of course, people have the hryvnia and are trying to get rid of it, but unfortunately we can’t help everyone. Our activities have the specific objective of helping Ukrainian families arriving in Latvia. We have also set a limit of €50 for a family in order to be able to cover as many families as possible. In fact, we are currently changing pieces of paper into euros, because there is a high probability that we will not be able to exchange the hryvnia that we buy from people,” the head of Tavex said.
Bank of Latvia spokesman Silakalns said that this issue will soon be discussed at government level.
From this week it will also be possible to obtain financial support from local governments. “If necessary, a crisis allowance, the amount of which varies in each municipality [will be provided], or a benefit for the provision of a guaranteed minimum income. As a result, part of this cash assistance will also be available,” said a representative of the Latvian Association of Local Governments, Ilze Rudzīte.
The problems are partly helped by donations from Latvian residents to the “ziedot.lv” platform, portal manager Rūta Dimanta said.
“We get gift cards from stores and buy them ourselves to distribute gift cards to people so they can buy what they need. Because they don’t have a bank account here, they don’t have a phone connection here. There is a need for primary help here and now,” Dimanta said.
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