The Serbian state-owned power company Elektroprivreda Srbije, together with Beograd- ska Banka, have offered a five per cent discount on electricity for users who sell hard currency to the bank.

The move follows a similar deal involving petrol purchases, Reuters reports.

In order to receive the discount, citizens must obtain a document from the bank in order to certify that they qualify.

Hard currency is required to finance the regular overhaul of the electric power system in Serbia, estimated to cost around $110 million.

Analysts believe the move indicates the government is desperate to raise hard currency to boost reserves in the case of new sanctions being imposed on the country by the international community as a result of its actions in Kosovo. Officially, foreign reserves are $820 million.

Observers doubt whether in reality the foreign reserves actually exceed $250 million.