President summons bankers to address acute financial problems in Turkmenistan

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ASHGABAT (TCA) — The President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov on July 18 called an ad-hoc meeting with bank executives to listen to their specific proposals on how to resolve the urgent financial problems which are worsening every day in the cash-strapped country, the foreign-based independent website Chronicles of Turkmenistan reports.

However, none of the attendees dared to express an opinion. As a result, after addressing the audience for about 40 minutes, the President left the session without making any progress, the website reports.

The President and government officials are now formally on annual leave.

According to a Chronicles of Turkmenistan source, the President arrived at the meeting without a tie and in a bad mood. There were no television or media representatives at the meeting.

Over the past week President Berdymukhammedov had not appeared on Turkmen television channels. Television used to make regular coverage of how the President was spending his holidays – fishing, working out in the gym, riding a bicycle and spending time with his grandchildren.

In the past few weeks a range of heavily publicized decisions on budget cost reduction and searches for additional funding were made.

Free quotas for using electricity, water and gas by residents were abolished, and a tourist tax was imposed pursuant to which tourists are obliged to pay $2 per day of their stay in Turkmenistan. Moreover, additional restrictions on currency exchange and crediting of cash onto bank cards were introduced, and plans to abolish funding of television channels from the state budget were also voiced.

Sergey Kwan

TCA