KARACHI: After 10 years, the State Bank has once again allowed the exchange companies to bring in US dollars directly in baggage or in their accounts against the sale of foreign currencies abroad.

“This arrangement shall remain in operation from Aug 3 to Oct 15 unless advised otherwise or until further instructions,” said the State Bank.

Currency dealers said the decision will immediately improve dollar supply in the market, reduce dollar demand, bring down difference in dollar rates in open/inter-bank and will bring stability in the exchange rate.

“Exchange companies were banned in April 2005 to bring dollars into the country and were bound to send dollars through TT (telegraphic transfer- through banks),” said Zafar Paracha, Secretary, Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan.

However, the State Bank has made it mandatory to bring dollars only through Jinnah Airport, Karachi.

“Dollar currency notes can be imported only through Jinnah International Airport (JIAP) Karachi. Thus ECs (exchange companies) exporting foreign currencies from Karachi, Lahore or Islamabad airports will bring into Pakistan cash (US dollars) only through JIAP Karachi,” said a State Bank circular issued on Monday.

Earlier, on July 24, the State Bank governor met the currency dealers, along with President, Forex Association of Pakistan, and asked the reasons for sudden rise in dollar prices since the dollar rose to Rs103.40 in the open market.

“The State Bank was told that since July 14 and due to Eid, banks did not supply dollars to the exchange companies which created their shortage, thus prices started crawling up,” said Malik Bostan, President, FAP, adding that the State Bank asked banks to immediately supply dollars to the exchange companies.

Bostan said the demand was high because 0.3 million Pakistanis will leave the country within 45 to 50 days for Hajj and they are buying dollars and Saudi Riyals.

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