According to RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, as of March 22, a new currency circulation order demands that bank clients must use all foreign currency within seven days after purchasing it, otherwise they are obligated to sell it back to the banks.
An Uzbek central bank official told RFE/RL that the order is basically related only to companies that import goods.
But private businessmen say that the new currency order has increased demand for foreign currency on the black market and increased the difference between the official and unofficial rates for the som against the dollar.
While the official dollar rate stands at 1,412 soms a dollar, the black market rate is more like 1,700-1,750 soms a dollar.
Rapid Response Group Uzbekistan, a local think tank, says the new measure was introduced to tackle the foreign currency shortage caused by the international financial crisis.
However, the group has also said that the new government order violates Uzbek laws.
In recent months, Uzbekistan -- like the rest of Central Asia -- has seen its currency tank and its remittances dry up.
-- Uzbek Service