Monday, November 20, 2023
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Mohsin Aziz has called for discontinuing the Rs5,000 currency note in a bid to end the end of “corruption and rein in inflation”.
Senator Aziz tabled the resolution in the Upper House of Parliament on Monday, seeking a ban on the highest denomination which he said contributes to corruption, terrorism, and smuggling.
“Rs5,000 note is the cause of corruption and inflation in the country. It is also used in terror and corruption activities,” the senator said during the debate.
He said Rs5000 currency notes worth Rs3.5 trillion have been issued to date. Of which, he said, Rs5,000 notes worth Rs2 trillion were not in circulation and are stored in “safe deposit”.
“These are the proceeds of money laundering, tax evasion, and smuggling, which have been blocked,” the lawmaker claimed.
He said a limited time period should be given to surrender the highest denomination.
Another PTI Senator Waleed Iqbal joined the fellow lawmaker’s call to ban the Rs5000 currency note, saying that digital payments should be promoted to reduce currency circulation.
Responding to the senator’s claims, caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi said Rs5,000 currency notes worth 905 million have been issued so far and added that Rs4.5 trillion are in circulation at the moment.
Solangi said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) operates under its laws and the previous government granted “too much” autonomy to the central bank.
This is not the first that any official has held the highest denomination note responsible for the increase in corruption.
In September this year, former Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chief Shabbar Zaidi insisted that the discontinuation of Rs5,000 notes and curbs on the physical movement of dollars is key to curbing the cash economy in the country.
Zaidi maintained that currency circulation is very high in Pakistan and the Rs5,000 note provides convenience in the cash economy, adding that people have kept wealth in their lockers in dollars and Rs5,000 notes, which should be banned.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MoIB) had rebutted the reports of a purported ban on the use, possession, and circulation of Rs5,000 currency notes, after a fake circular with the letterhead of the Finance Division went viral on social media.