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If exchange businesses help, the government can bring in $10 billion

KARACHI: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir have told exchange companies that their operations will be facilitated, with the firms claiming to be able to bring in up to $10 billion each year.

The finance minister and the SBP governor were keen to see increased remittances in banks by exchange businesses during a meeting with exchange companies hosted by Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan chairman Malik Bostan in Karachi on January 1.

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The exchange companies asked for permission for signing agreements with the international money transfer companies since the commercial banks have pacts with 300 international money transfer companies.

“We asked [the government] to allow us to go for agreements with at least 100 companies that will help us bring up to $10bn annually in to Pakistan,” said Mr Bostan. The SBP governor assured of help in this direction, he added. He added that exchange companies provided $13bn to banks since 2018 to Dec 2021. Last year, exchange companies provided $4.5bn.

He said the millions of dollars dated before 2013 were not accepted by commercial banks and exchange companies but were not banned by the USA. The SBP assured that exchange companies would be helped to take these old US dollar notes to Dubai like other currencies to exchange it.

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The exchange companies were also assured that they will be provided benefits on remittances. Currently, the banks are getting Rs6 per dollar on remittances.

Mr Bostan said that Afghans were importing up to $500 million per month from China, Iran and other countries. The Afghans are also buying dollars from Pakistani markets.

He also demanded that banks must not sell dollars to importers more than they [banks] buy from exporters. “Only this way a balance could be achieved,” he added.

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