As Eidul Fitr approaches, the demand for fresh currency notes has increased.
A large number of ‘currency traders’ have been seen near the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) searching for customers to offer them Rs10, Rs20, Rs50 and Rs100 packets. They make profit ranging from Rs60 to Rs100 per packet.
“I have five packets of Rs10 notes. I will sell these to a customer and make a profit of Rs500. I will charge Rs1,500 for notes of Rs1,000,” says Liaqat Ali, a currency trader.
Manzooran, another currency trader, has five packets of Rs10 notes.
“I’m charging Rs100 for each packet of Rs10 notes. I got it from the bank,” she says.
These traders gather at the SBP building every morning and are given five packets of Rs10 notes and one packet of Rs20, Rs50 and Rs100 notes each upon receipt of copies of their CNICs by the bank.
A bank official, speaking on condition of anonymity, says every day the bank gives out Rs22,000 in notes. He says the bank also caters to commercial banks and other government organisations on need basis for fresh currency.
“Our country is probably the only country in the world where currency is traded,” he says.
He says that if commercial banks need more fresh notes, they should directly ask the central bank instead of misleading clients about there being a shortage of fresh notes.
He says long queues of currency traders outside the bank have created security problems. He says the bank has written to the local government to provide them additional security at.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2013.
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