Annual Report on Exchange Arrangements and Exchange Restrictions, 2007
Chapter

MAURITANIA

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
October 2007
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(Position as of January 31, 2007)

Status under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: July 19, 1999.
Exchange Measures
Restrictions and/or multiple currency practicesNo restrictions as reported in the latest staff report as of December 31, 2006.
The staff report for the second review under the staff monitored program with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania states that as of December 4, 2006, the Central Bank of Mauritania (CBM) eliminated in October 2006 the foreign exchange rationing, which constituted a restriction on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions under Article VIII, Section 2(a). (Country Report No. 07/43).
International security restrictions
Other security restrictionsn.a.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of Mauritania is the Mauritanian ouguiya.
Exchange rate structureUnitary.
Classification
Conventional pegged arrangementThe exchange rate has been de facto pegged to the U.S. dollar at the rate of UM 268.5 per $1 since October 24, 2005. In late 2006, the CBM completed all the prior actions for establishing a new framework to determine the exchange rate based on supply and demand mechanisms. This led to the lifting of exchange measures on current transactions and the opening of the first rate-fixing session on January 25, 2007.
Exchange taxNo.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsNo.
Payments arrangements
Bilateral payments arrangements
InoperativeYes.
Regional arrangementsAn inoperative arrangement exists within the framework of the Arab Maghreb Union.
Administration of controlAdministration of control is the responsibility of the CBM. Exchange control authority to approve current international transactions is delegated to authorized banks.
Payments arrears
PrivateAll arrears reported by banks and private operators were settled by end-2006.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
On external tradeAll imports and exports of gold, except manufactured articles containing small quantities of gold, require prior authorization from the CBM.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotes
On exports
Domestic currencyTravelers are not allowed to take out domestic banknotes and coins.
Foreign currencyEffective December 31, 2006, CBM permission is required for residents to export foreign currency exceeding the equivalent of UM 2 million or $7,000 (previously, $3,000), and nonresidents must declare amounts in excess of this limit; in both cases, documentary evidence of the source of the funds must be presented. Any additional requests (for amounts exceeding that ceiling) to buy foreign exchange required to pay for travel, submitted to the CBM through an AD, will be fulfilled based on the supporting documentation provided. If nonresidents wish to repurchase amounts exceeding the equivalent of $1,000 previously sold for ouguiyas, they must present a receipt of sale from a bank or an exchange bureau. Nonresident holders of foreign accounts denominated in a foreign currency or in convertible ouguiyas and maintained with a licensed banking intermediary may export any amount of traveler’s checks denominated in foreign currencies or foreign banknotes withdrawn from foreign exchange accounts.
On imports
Domestic currencyTravelers are not allowed to take out domestic banknotes and coins.
Foreign currencyImports of foreign banknotes exceeding the equivalent of $3,000 must be declared.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksLaw 2004-042; www.bcm.mr/reglementation/Loi2004-042-fr.pdf.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedEffective December 31, 2006, the previous caps of 1.0% and 1.25% on commissions applicable to withdrawals from dollar accounts of banknotes and traveler’s checks, respectively, were removed. Rates and commissions can be freely set.
Held domesticallyResidents may open accounts denominated in convertible foreign currencies. These accounts may be credited and debited freely. Foreign bill withdrawals are limited to the account holders’ travel needs. Transfers abroad to finance trade transactions are authorized as long as supporting documents are supplied.
Held abroadLicensed banks may freely open accounts with banks abroad to accommodate foreign exchange transactions. Other residents are not allowed to maintain accounts abroad.
Accounts in domestic currency held abroadNo.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyNew convertible accounts in domestic currency may not be opened. Those that existed prior to 2000 may be operated in accordance with the provisions of Circular No. GR/005/2000, which was revoked by Instruction 04/GR/05.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksInstruction 04/GR/05; www.bcm.mr/Instr04-gr-05.pdf.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedLicensed intermediary banks may operate freely nonresident foreign exchange accounts and transit accounts on behalf of nonresident individuals and juridical persons. Nonresident convertible accounts may be credited with (1) transfers from abroad; (2) transfers from another account in the same currency belonging to the same account holder; (3) dividends and real net proceeds from capital transactions, from the sale or settlement of investments by importing foreign currency; (4) undocumented transfers in ouguiyas from the holder’s account up to the equivalent of $6,000 a year; and (5) proceeds from the surrender of foreign exchange held in the account on the foreign exchange market (banknotes, however, whether foreign or issued by the CBM, may not be deposited). These accounts may be debited for (1) withdrawals of foreign currency notes by the account holder, exclusively for the holder’s travel needs and in accordance with the existing regulations; (2) foreign transfers ordered by the account holder, in compliance with existing regulations; (3) checks and drafts issued by the account holder, for foreign exchange payments authorized under existing exchange regulations; (4) foreign exchange surrendered; and (5) bank commissions charged on these accounts.
Domestic currency accountsNonresidents may open domestic currency accounts, and balances on these accounts are freely transferable. Existing convertible ouguiya accounts may be credited in the same manner as foreign exchange accounts.
Convertible into foreign currencyExisting nonresident accounts in convertible ouguiyas may be converted, but new convertible accounts may not be opened.
Blocked accountsNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksInstruction 04/GR/05; www.bcm.mr/Instr04-gr-05.pdf.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetA direct intervention system is in effect in the foreign exchange market for allocating foreign exchange to primary banks that submit evidence of need on behalf of clients or on their own behalf.
Financing requirements for importsNo.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for imports
Preshipment inspectionImports exceeding the equivalent of $5,000 must be inspected by the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) before shipment. The SGS provides the CBM with copies of import documentation.
Import licenses used as exchange licensesOn presentation of advance import notification, the importer may purchase foreign exchange from an authorized bank.
Import licenses and other nontariff measures
Negative listImports of a few goods, such as arms and alcoholic beverages, are prohibited for reasons of health or public policy.
Open general licensesYes.
Import taxes and/or tariffsFour duty rates apply: zero, 5%, 13%, and 20%. In addition, a statistical tax of 3% is levied. Goods that are imported by some public enterprises or with external financing are exempt from all import duties. Effective January 1, 2006, the new tariff schedules were included in the 2006 Budget Law and the 2006 Supplementary Budget Law. The newly adopted Budget Law of 2007 provides for the adoption of a simplified and more transparent tariff schedule in accordance with the WAEMU. The four tariff rates remain unchanged.
State import monopolyNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsYes.
Surrender requirementsEffective December 14, 2006, the remaining surrender requirements have been eliminated. Previously, exporters of fish were required to repatriate their export proceeds via the CBM, of which 60% was required to be surrendered and the remaining 40% deposited in the exporter’s foreign currency account.
Financing requirementsn.r.
Documentation requirements
Letters of creditSome exports require an LC.
Guaranteesn.r.
DomiciliationExports exceeding the equivalent of UM 20,000 must be domiciled.
Preshipment inspectionn.r.
OtherExport certificates—which must specify the quantity, value, and destination of all goods—are processed by the customs valuation office (CVO); the CBM receives a copy for information purposes.
Export licensesExports of goods require only a certificate endorsed by the CVO.
Without quotasYes.
Export taxesEffective January 1, 2006, the taxes levied on exports of fish were eliminated by the 2006 Supplementary Budget Law and replaced by a 1% statistical tax. Previously, a tax was levied on exports of fish and crustaceans at rates ranging from 8% to 20% for specialized catches, and at a rate of 5% for shrimp and crayfish. Effective January 1, 2007, the newly adopted Budget Law of 2007 allows the generalization of the statistical tax to all exports (apart from oil and mining exports) and the reduction of its rate to 1%.
Other export taxesn.r.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksCircular 08/GR/06 of the CBM; Supplementary Budget Law of 2006; Budget Law of 2007.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersAll payments for invisibles may be effected freely.
Trade-related payments
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Investment-related paymentsTotal or partial repayments of foreign capital invested in Mauritania, as well as capital gains therefrom, are permitted freely in accordance with Circular No. GR/006/1999.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Payments for travelControls apply to all these transfers.
Personal paymentsRestrictions apply on payments of family maintenance and alimony.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Foreign workers’ wagesForeign workers’ wages may be transferred freely, usually through foreign exchange accounts.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Credit card use abroadn.a.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksInstruction 03/GR/05; www.bcm.mr/Instr03-gr-05.pdf; Circular No. GR/006/1999.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsProceeds must be repatriated within four months.
Restrictions on use of fundsNo.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksn.a.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital transactionsYes.
Repatriation requirementsn.a.
Surrender requirementsn.a.
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsCapital transactions are subject to exchange control. Outward capital transfers require CBM approval and are controlled, but inward capital transfers are permitted freely.
On capital market securities
Shares or other securities of a participating nature
Purchase locally by nonresidentsPurchases of securities of private enterprises are permitted.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsThe facilities for these transactions do not exist at present.
Purchase abroad by residentsPurchases are subject to CBM authorization.
Bonds or other debt securities
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsYes.
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
On money market instruments
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsSecurities brokerage operations may be carried out only by residents who have received CBM approval.
Purchase abroad by residentsThe purchase abroad of bonds by residents requires CBM authorization.
On collective investment securities
Purchase locally by nonresidentsn.a.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsn.a.
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsn.a.
Controls on derivatives and other instruments
Purchase locally by nonresidentsn.a.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsn.a.
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsn.a.
Controls on credit operationsAll credit transactions, guarantees, sureties, and financial backup facilities by residents to nonresidents are controlled.
Controls on direct investmentThe investment code (Law No. 2002-03) governs direct investments and all associated incentives and benefits.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentThere are no controls on the liquidation of direct investments, and their transfer is guaranteed by law.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale locally by nonresidentsn.a.
Controls on personal capital transactions
LoansControls apply to all these transactions.
Gifts, endowments, inheritances, and legaciesControls apply to all these transactions.
Settlements of debts abroad by immigrantsn.a.
Transfer of assetsControls apply to all these transactions.
Transfer of gambling and prize earningsn.r.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksLaw No. 2002-030; www.maed.gov.mr/pdf/code-invess/loi2002-03.pdf.
Provisions Specific to the Financial Sector
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions
Borrowing abroadYes.
Maintenance of accounts abroadYes.
Lending to nonresidents (financial or commercial credits)n.r.
Purchase of locally issued securities denominated in foreign exchangen.a.
Differential treatment of deposit accounts in foreign exchange
Reserve requirementsYes.
Liquid asset requirementsYes.
Investment regulationsn.a.
Open foreign exchange position limits
On resident assets and liabilitiesn.a.
On nonresident assets and liabilitiesThe limits on commercial banks’ net open foreign positions in foreign exchange are a maximum of 10% of net capital for each currency and a maximum of 20% of net capital for all currencies. These limits apply to the weekly averages of the banks’ net open foreign positions (in addition, at any given time, the positions should not exceed these limits by more than 2%).
Provisions specific to institutional investorsn.a.
References to legal instruments and hyperlinksInstruction 05/GR/05; Circular 04/GR/06; www.bcm.mr/reglementation/Instruction-04GR06.pdf.
Changes during 2006
Exchange measuresOctober 27. The CBM eliminated foreign exchange rationing, which constituted an exchange restriction under Article VIII, Section 2(a).
Arrangements for payments and receiptsDecember 31. All arrears reported by banks and private operators were settled.
December 31. The amount of foreign exchange that residents could export without CBM approval was increased to the equivalent of UM 2 million.
Resident accountsDecember 31. The 1.0% and 1.25% caps on commissions applicable to withdrawals from dollar accounts were removed.
Imports and import paymentsJanuary 1. The new tariff schedules were included in the 2006 Budget Law and the 2006 Supplementary Budget Law.
Exports and export proceedsJanuary 1. The taxes levied on exports of fish were eliminated by the 2006 Supplementary Budget Law and replaced by a 1% statistical tax.
December 14. The remaining surrender requirements were eliminated.
Changes during 2007
Exchange arrangementJanuary 25. The first rate-fixing session opened.
Exports and export proceedsJanuary 1. The newly adopted Budget Law of 2007 allowed the generalization of the statistical tax to all exports (except for oil and mining exports) and the reduction of the tax rate to 1%.

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