State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will not issue any fresh currency notes, worth billions of rupees for the general public on Eid-ul-Fitr this year.
The decision was taken as a precautionary measure to avert the spread of COVID-19 among the general public through currency notes, which are a possible carrier of COVID-19.
The overall system of printing and circulation of fresh currency notes will increase human interaction. Mainly, the visits of hundreds of customers to the banks’ branches could risk the preventive practice of social-distancing and could spread COVID-19 from customers to other customers or bankers.
Besides, the fresh currency notes that are distributed as a cash gift or Eidi among individuals, particularly kids could risk the transmission of the COVID-19, hence the tradition of Eidi (cash gift) could be highly risky this year.
SBP, in its circular, informed the banks’ officials about this. This news will be disappointing for kids but it will be good news for bankers who will heave a sigh of relief to execute the hectic exercise of distributing cash among the customers. Bankers are already facing increasing workloads due to the introduction of various schemes of the central bank for customers and businessmen.
For the past few years, the central bank has devised an SMS-based system for the distribution of fresh currency notes ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. In this way, not only the injection of fresh currency notes in the banking system but the demand of the economy is met for the circulation of currency notes.
Last year, the central bank issued fresh currency notes of Rs. 284 billion of different denominations.