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Uzbeks To Be Allowed To Buy Foreign Cash As Of October 1


The latest currency move follows the Uzbek central bank's devaluation of the som on September 5. (file photo)

TASHKENT -- Uzbekistan's government says private citizens will be allowed to purchase foreign cash as of October 1 for the first time since shortly after the country gained independence in the Soviet breakup of 1991.

Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov announced the change on September 23.

It is part of a series of steps the government has taken to lessen the Central Asian nation's isolation following autocratic President Islam Karimov's death last year after more than a quarter-century in power.

The central bank devalued the Uzbek som on September 5, allowing the official exchange rate to weaken to about 8,100 soms to the dollar from 4,210.

President Shavkat Mirziyoev issued a decree ordering the start of retail foreign-exchange operations on the same date, but it specified that Uzbeks could only receive the foreign currency in a special card -- not in cash.

Karimov had pinned the value of the som to the U.S. dollar, which led to a flourishing illegal black market.

Karimov's death was announced in September 2016.

Longtime Prime Minister Mirziyoev was appointed to take his place and then won a tightly controlled election in December.

With reporting by Reuters
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