KARACHI: More than Rs350 billion fresh currency notes will be available for the general public from banks on Thursday.

The State Bank had issued Rs342bn fresh currency notes on Eidul Fitr in 2017 which was 44 per cent higher than 2016.

When contacted, the State Bank said the exact figure for this year’s supply of currency notes could be provided after Eid. Since the demand for fresh currency has been increasing each year, the supply could be more than Rs350bn.

“We have provided fresh currency to all banks today (Wednesday) and the banks would supply to general public from Thursday,” said Mr Abid Qamar, chief spokesman for SBP.

The SBP has issued procedure to get fresh currency notes which looks complicated for a person who needs small amount of fresh currency notes. However, the increasing demand shows that people are ready to follow whatever is the procedure.

The SBP said under this facility, a person may send an SMS message comprising his or her 13 digits CNIC or Smart Card number along with the desired e-branch ID [e.g. 3130205839863(space)KHI005] to short code 8877.

In return, the person will receive an SMS containing the redemption code, e-branch address and the code validity period. Redemption code received by the customer will be valid for two working days as per the mentioned dates in the SMS.

The customer may then approach the concerned e-branch along with his or her original CNIC or Smart Card, a photocopy of the CNIC or Smart Card and transaction code received from 8877 to obtain fresh currency notes. An individual can obtain three packets of Rs10 and one packet each of Rs50 and Rs100 as per stock availability, said the SBP.

The SBP further informed that the fresh currency notes will be available from designated commercial bank branches called “e-branches” and the sixteen field offices of SBP BSC. The branch ID for e-branch is different from the existing branch/SWIFT code of banks.

“The issuance of fresh currency through mobile SMS service will commence from 1st June and continue till June 14, 2018,” said the SBP, adding that the service will be provided through 1,535 e-branches in 132 cities across Pakistan to ensure maximum geographical coverage.

The charges for the service are Rs1.50 plus tax, per SMS.

The branch IDs of designated e-branches are available at SBP website http://www.sbp.org.pk, PBA website http://www.pakistanbanks.org, and commercial banks websites. The ID will also be displayed prominently outside the designated e-branches.

Last year, out of total Rs342bn, commercial banks issued fresh notes of Rs40bn of small denomination up to Rs100.

The amount included fresh notes of higher denomination, Rs500 and above, amounting to Rs.296bn in 2017.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2018