DUSHANBE -- The head of Tajikistan's National Bank says legislation is being considered to introduce jail terms of up to nine years for what he called "illegal hard-currency exchange operations."
Talking to reporters in Dushanbe on January 26, Jamshed Nurmuhammadzoda said that any hard-currency exchange operations outside of banks and official financial institutions were illegal.
According to Nurmuhammadzoda, the move's aim was to "curb" illegal speculation with hard currency that led to the abrupt devaluation of the Tajik currency, the somoni.
In December, Tajik authorities shut down all independent currency-exchange booths operating across the country, citing the somoni's dropping value.
Tajik citizens complain that banks buy hard currencies low and sell them high, prompting many to turn to the black market, where the rates, they say, are "more reasonable."