Dollar buying plunges on biometric condition

KARACHI: After introduction of mandatory biometric certification, the daily dollar buying from the open market has plunged to $2-$3 million compared to $7-$8m previously.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had made it mandatory for purchasing foreign currencies equivalent to $500 or more and set the Oct 22 deadline but the exchange companies could not implement the requirement due to technical reasons.

However, for facilitating genuine buyers the SBP temporarily allowed till Nov 5 the exchange companies to sell over $500 to individuals on production of biometric certification from the National Database and Registration Authority’s e-Sahulat franchises.

The e-Sahulat outlets provide certificate of biometric which is rechecked from Nadra’s website by the exchange companies before selling dollars to an individual.

The biometric condition has sharply cut the volume of trading — neither are the buyers available nor are the sellers selling their currencies, said Malik Bostan, chairman of the Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan.

The other foreign currencies sold in the open market were taken to Dubai to bring the equal amount of dollars in Pakistan, he added.