State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) issued a total of Rs. 363 billion in fresh currency notes ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr to facilitate masses celebrating the religious festivities through cash gifts. The value of various denominations is 6 percent higher than the previous year.
State Bank, in a statement issued, said that this amount includes Rs. 53 billion in fresh notes issued directly to the customers through banks during the month of Ramzan.
In 2017, the central bank disbursed the fresh currency notes with an aggregated value of Rs. 342 billion. The value of this seasonal disbursement stood at Rs. 237 billion in 2016.
According to available details, SBP through its 16 field offices of its subsidiary SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP BSC), provided fresh banknotes of various denominations that had an aggregated value of Rs. 363 billion, plus Rs 53 billion of fresh notes directly to the general public leading to Eid-ul-Fitr.
The SMS service (8877) was operated across 132 cities through more than 1,500 commercial banks’ branches and 16 field offices of SBP BSC. The service was used by more than 2.2 million people before Eid-ul-Fitr, a 50% increase from last year. However, the utility of the service has fallen short of the target of 2.7 million due to the limited capacity of bank branches.
The central bank claimed that sufficient quantity of fresh notes of higher denominations were issued to banks for smooth operations and availability of cash in ATMs during and before Eid Holidays. For this purpose, special teams of SBP and SBP BSC officials were also deputed to inspect and monitor the working of ATMs across Pakistan, which ensured uninterrupted availability of cash to the general public during Eid holidays.