SBP, FIA move to curb dollar flight

November 10, 2013

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“The MoU will allow our staff to be posted at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar airports,” SBP Governor Yaseen Anwar told Dawn. 
— File Photo
“The MoU will allow our staff to be posted at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar airports,” SBP Governor Yaseen Anwar told Dawn. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan and the Federal Investigation Agency will sign a memorandum of understanding next week to curb smuggling of foreign currencies from the country.

“The MoU will allow our staff to be posted at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Peshawar airports,” SBP Governor Yaseen Anwar told Dawn.

The arrangement stipulates that first SBP officials will identify ‘dollar carriers’, the FIA will check their luggage and then arrest them, if needed.

The carriers (popularly known as ‘khepias’) carry suitcases stuffed with dollars and they can be picked out easily from other passengers, but so far the FIA and the Customs department have not taken any action against them.

The limit for physically taking dollars out of the country through legal means is $10,000.

The country has been facing a significant decline in foreign currency reserves and the State Bank governor had said recently that smuggling could be up to 25 million dollars during a certain week.

A PIA airhostess said some passengers carried a huge baggage and they even purchased additional tickets for it, but it was not “our job to check them”.

“There is an illegal outflow from the country, but that does not constitute a major chunk of declining foreign exchange reserves,” a banker told Dawn. “The poor inflow of dollars is the real problem.”