Banks Allowed to Remit Forex to Saudi Arabia for Hajj Group Organizers

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has allowed authorized dealers mainly selected commercial banks to make remittances in foreign exchange to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on behalf of Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs) subject to compliance with applicable terms and conditions.

Authorized dealers may also make Hajj-related remittances, on behalf of HGOs, to Tawafa/Hajj service providers duly designated by the Saudi Arabian Hajj Authorities.

According to the circular issued by the SBP, the remittances will be made on receipt of the following information by authorized dealers:

Details of Hajj Package bifurcating local and foreign expenses per pilgrim in terms of related Hajj Package(s). An undertaking from the concerned HGO for repatriation of funds in case of non-utilization. Moreover, it will be the responsibility of the authorized dealer to satisfy themselves with the bona fides of the transaction.

The government each year announces the scale on which foreign exchange will be released to intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia. Foreign exchange may be released by the designated authorized dealers to intending pilgrims in the form and on the scales in accordance with the special instructions and conditions laid down by the government for different categories of pilgrims.

Banks may remit foreign exchange on behalf of the Hajj Group Organizers (HGOs) that have been allocated quota by the Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony under the Private Hajj Scheme for the respective Hajj season subject to terms and conditions mentioned below. Authorized dealers may obtain the list of enlisted HGOs along with the allocated quota in respect of each HGO from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Banks, on being approached, shall either open a PKR account in the name of the concerned HGO with the suffix “Hajj” or use the previously opened similar account specifically for the purpose of Hajj related remittances to Saudi Arabia subject to the following:

a) While opening and operating these accounts, authorized dealers shall strictly follow SBP’s AML/KYC guidelines and ensure compliance with all related rules and regulations issued from time to time. They shall obtain all necessary documents from the concerned HGO.

b) For the purpose of related remittances to Saudi Arabia, each HGO is permitted to maintain only one account with the authorized dealer of its choice. In this respect, the authorized dealer shall obtain an undertaking from the HGO that it is not maintaining such account with any of the other authorized dealers/ banks or any other branch of the same dealer for this purpose.