The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) decision to withdraw all the prize bonds worth Rs. 40,000 is freaking out the general public.
While the expiry date of the bond ends in March next year, panic among the masses is already prevailing as a large number of bondholders are approaching the office of the central bank to encash their bonds.
There, they face another shocker from the SBP when the bank officers inform them that these bonds cannot be encashed or redeemed– but can only be transferred to their bank accounts or converted to into Premium Prize Bonds, Special Saving Certificate or Defence Saving Certificates.
The sudden shift in government’s policy is to tighten the noose on black money and to comply with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) recommended action plan to curb the money laundering and terror financing.
However, a citizen, Iqtidar Shah, said the government’s decision to control the black money has put common people in trouble.
“While the black money holders can easily encash their bonds through agents of the prize bond dealers. They are paying Rs. 38,000 for each bond of Rs. 40,000 denomination.”
Another bondholder, Nousheen Rashid, said she heard on a news channel that the government was withdrawing Rs. 40,000 prize bond. She had three of them.
“I hardly slept that night and very early in the next morning, I decided to encash my bond. When I reached the state bank’s office, I saw long queues of bondholders there. On my turn, which came after waiting for a few hours, the bank official told me that I could either convert them into Premium Prize Bonds, Special Saving Certificate or Defence Saving Certificates or transfer cash into my bank account. So, I accepted the first option.”
The rumor has it that the government is also considering canceling the currency note of Rs. 5,000.