THE State Bank of Pakistan, vide its circular letter dated Oct 19, 2018, had advised banks to obtain biometric verification for their customers, and had provided a timeline of June 30. As a sequel to this circular letter, the SBP issued another circular letter dated June 3, this time explaining the requirements from Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) and those Pakistanis temporarily outside Pakistan. There was no timeline stated in the second circular, except that “all other instructions on the subject shall, however, remain unchanged”.
Considering the lengthy process involved in the accounts for biometric verification of NRPs, the SBP is requested to extend the timeline for biometric verification of such accounts. The reason is, that some banks have started to temporarily block accounts in the absence of biometric verification from NRPs. This blocking of accounts obviously causes inconvenience to customers. The fact that the second circular was issued on June 3, and the banks have taken the liberty to block the accounts starting July 3.
Meanwhile, in the press, it has earlier been highlighted by senior citizens, that, due to old age, biometric verification just cannot be captured, and the SBP has not given guidelines to the banks to resolve this issue. It is requested that the SBP should issue specific guidelines to bring relief to the affected customers of banks, particularly for accounts blocked by banks in the absence of the SBP’s directives to do so.
Freddy R. Sethna
Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2019