KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed the banks to clean, disinfect, seal and quarantine all currency being collected from hospitals and clinics, blocking it from circulation.
The SBP held a meeting, chaired by governor Reza Baqir, with banks on Monday through video link to assess their readiness to ensure uninterrupted supply of services to clients in the wake of lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recognising the need for issuance of fit, authenticated and disinfected cash by the banks, detailed instructions have been provided by the SBP to the latter, said a press release.
The banks will report daily collection of cash from hospitals to SBP, which will credit the latter’s accounts for the amounts so quarantined by them.
“Further, arrangements are being made to provide sufficient fresh or disinfected cash to banks enabling them to issue fresh cash or the re-issuable cash that remained in quarantine for at least fifteen (15) days to their clients,” the statement said.
Banks were ensured that the SBP has sufficient quantity of such cash, and it would meet all demands for it. It has also directed continuous and round-the-clock availability of ATMs by the banks and to keep call centers and helplines operative 24/7.
“Large scale closure of branches may cause rush and congestion in the operative branches, which may be counterproductive to efforts to contain the spread of the disease,” the SBP said, adding that the situation will be reviewed again in a couple of days based on the customers’ visit to branches during lockdowns.
Further, the banks may start their branch operations from 10am, if needed to better facilitate their clients.
Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2020