Biometric verification to be made mandatory for purchase of $500 and above

Under SBP's proposed reforms, FIA will be tasked to launch crackdown against illegal foreign exchange operators

By
Khalid Mustafa
A foreign currency exchange dealer counting notes in this undated picture. — AFP/File
A foreign currency exchange dealer counting notes in this undated picture. — AFP/File

  • SIFC briefed on SBP's proposed reforms on January 3.
  • FIA to be tasked to launch crackdown against illegal forex operators.
  • Reforms to be made public when SIFC meeting approves them.


ISLAMABAD: In a bid to stop hoarding of the greenback, the State Bank of Pakistan devised a plan under which biometric verification will be made mandatory for anyone purchasing $500 and above from exchange companies, reported The News on Friday.

“The top notches of the central bank informed the meeting of the SIFC (Special Investment Facilitation Council) Apex Committee’s participants on January 3, 2024, that this is part of the comprehensive reforms in the exchange companies sector,” an official at SIFC Secretariat told the publication on the condition of anonymity.

Pakistan faces a dollar crisis as exports and remittances are not up to the mark and major chunks of greenback are utilised to finance the imports. Furthermore, unscrupulous elements take advantage of the situation and hoard US dollars to make windfall profits.

SIFC was also told that the SBP has also reduced the US dollar purchase limit for travel purposes from $10,000 to $5,000 and annual from $60,000 to $30,000.

Any customer purchasing $2000 or above from exchange companies has to pay from their Pak Rupee account.

For an individual, the central bank has fixed the US dollar purchase limit of $10,000 per day and annual purchase of $100,000.

Under the reforms, the Federal Investigation Agency will be tasked to launch an effective crackdown against illegal foreign exchange operators in coordination with the State Bank of Pakistan and relevant stakeholders.

“These reforms will be made public when the next SIFC meeting approves them,” the official said.

Last year, when the dollar crossed the 300 mark the government launched a crackdown against dollar smuggling, hoarding.

The Ministry of Interior had developed a list of the groups involved in the crimes after the identification of facilitators of the government officials and their patrons.