Iceland confident of removing capital controls blocking billions

sigmundur-david-littleIceland is confident it will soon be able to remove capital controls that are blocking assets worth around $7.2bn being offloaded, revealed the prime minister’s political adviser Jóhannes Skúlason.

The North Atlantic nation has found it difficult to confirm a set time for the capital controls being lifted since they were imposed following the banking collapse in 2008, when Glitnir Bank hf and Kauþhing Bank hf defaulted on $85bn. The restrictions are preventing billions of dollars of assets from exiting the economy.

Iceland’s banking collapse resulted in the country spiraling into its worst recession since the Second World War, forcing the government to go to an International Monetary Fund-backed group for a $4.6bn bailout just to stay afloat.

On Thursday, Skúlason said that before being elected as the new prime minister in May, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said it was likely to be years before the capital controls could be removed. However, he revealed they are now more optimistic that the removal process will take less time than previously anticipated.

The political adviser added that despite the progress that has been made over the past few months, the government would still like things to be moving faster.