A currency dealer counts US dollar notes at a currency exchange office in Karachi on May 26, 2023. — PPI

Pakistan’s central bank Tuesday lifted the restriction on exchange companies to import US dollars, allowing them to bring the greenback to the country on a need basis against the value of their export consignments.

In a circular, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said the exchange companies, on a need basis, may import cash US dollars against the value of their export consignments of permissible foreign currencies “within five working days, through reputed cargo/security companies”.

“This arrangement shall initially be in place till December 31, 2023 and will be subject to the condition that total cash US dollars imported by an exchange company during this period shall not exceed 50% of the value of its export consignments.”

The central bank mentioned that exchange companies must ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations, including those of the jurisdiction from where US dollars are being imported.

“Exchange companies shall ensure that all transactions related to import of cash shall be properly reflected in their books of accounts.”

Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP) General Secretary Zafar Paracha said the central bank’s move would help in bridging the gap between the open market and interbank rates.

“The state bank’s [decision] to allow dollar imports will help the country overcome dollar shortage. This is a welcome step,” Paracha added.

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