Major decrease in dollar purchases from open market due to biometric requirement

KARACHI: With the introduction of mandatory biometric certification, daily dollar purchases from the open market have dropped from 70 to 80 million to 20 to 30 million.

It is to be noted that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had made biometric certification mandatory for purchases of foreign currencies of 500 or more and had fixed October 22 as the last date for this. Could not implement this condition for various reasons.

To facilitate genuine buyers, the SBP has temporarily ordered exchange companies to sell more than 500 500 to exchange companies by offering biometric certification from National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) e-facility franchises by November 5, Dawn reported. allowed to.

E-facility outlets provide biometric certificates which are re-checked from the NADRA website through exchange companies before selling dollars to an individual.

Malik Bostan, chairman of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan, said the biometric requirement has led to a sharp decline in trade volume, with neither buyers available nor sellers selling their currency.

He added that other foreign currencies sold in the open market were taken to Dubai to bring the equivalent of a dollar into Pakistan.

The smuggling of dollars into Afghanistan forced the government to issue instructions to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate the process.

However, the FIA’s intervention created fear in the market as the agency began questioning buyers and sellers.

Currency dealers said that the involvement of the FIA ​​has definitely reduced the smuggling in Afghanistan but there are fears that the currency trade could be diverted to illegal markets.

The dollar depreciated by Rs 3.60 over the last three days in the interbank market over the weekend.

Currency experts said the currency depreciated after the government announced immediate assistance from Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi fund has announced a 1.2 billion oil deferral facility and a 3 billion SBP account.

Atif Ahmed, a currency dealer in the interbank market, said: “We are hoping for an improvement but it is not sustainable because the influx of dollars from Saudi Arabia is no match for rising emissions from the country.”

The import bill for September stood at around 6.5 billion, the same as in August, indicating a steady increase in the trade deficit, leading to a widening current account deficit.