KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan has revised foreign exchange regulations to facilitate import of medical equipment and medicine.
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the SBP “allowed all federal and provincial government departments, hospitals in public and privates sectors, charitable organisations, manufacturers and commercial importers to make import advance payment and import on open account, without any limit, for the import of medical equipments, medicines, and other ancillary items for the treatment of COVID-19.”
Further the banks have been allowed to approve Electronic Import Form (EIF) for the import of the equipment donated by international donor agencies and foreign governments to facilitate their seamless and speedy purchase.
The move comes amid the growing number of coronaviru cases in the country. “An effective strategy to fight against the menace of COVID-19 requires timely availability of needed equipment,” said the SBP.
“In the backdrop of unprecedented spread of the deadly virus, the SBP has taken these measures to facilitate the import of much needed equipment in a seamless manner,” said the SBP.
It has also revised the existing foreign exchange regulations for import of goods against Advance Payment and Open Account, the press release added.
T-bill cut-off yields decline
The government on Wednesday borrowed Rs552 billion through the auction of treasury bills as cut-off yields on all three tenors declined significantly compared to the last auction.
The Wednesday’s auction saw total bids worth Rs1.3 trillion showing investors’ appetite for government papers. However, despite large interest, the government only raised Rs552bn close to its auction target of Rs500bn.
The government raised Rs242.2bn from three-month instruments with a cut-off yield of 11.3 per cent, noting a reduction of 143 basis points compared to the previous auction.
Similarly, cut-off yields of six-month papers were also reduced by 121bps as the government raised Rs151.9bn from this tenor at a rate of 11.3pc.
The government also raised Rs157.5bn from 12-month papers at the rate of 10.87pc noting a reduction of 113bps in the yield of one-year papers.
The State Bank of Pakistan also cut the policy rate to 11pc from 13.25pc in the last seven days.
Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020