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SBP and foreign currency accounts

Published Jun 27, 2012 12:09am


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I AM a Pakistani-born British national. I have been visiting Pakistan for the last 10 years. For my expenditure in Pakistan, I bring adequate amount of British pounds. With the introduction of foreign currency account in Pakistani banks, I opened an account with Askari Commercial Bank, Blue Area branch, Islamabad.

While returning to the UK, I used to deposit all the balance foreign currency in my account. This way my saving in foreign currency account soared to thousands of pounds. I was happy that this small amount would be contributing, albeit, on a small-scale, to much needed foreign exchange requirements of Pakistan.

I am sure that most of the expatriate Pakistanis like me, who are estimated to be two to three million, have foreign currency accounts in banks and such combined saving would definitely be of some percentage of total foreign currency reserves of the country. Needless to say that profit on such accounts by the banks is negligible.

At the end of my recent visit to Pakistan, I went to my bank for some withdrawal from my foreign currency account to clear the debts. I was shocked, when the bank reported that my account has become dormant and I have to undergo some procedural formalities to revive my bank account.

The bank authorities informed that under the new instructions of the State Bank, every account becomes dormant, if no transaction is made during six months. I failed to understand the necessity of the issuance of such instructions.

Under these instruction, expatriates like me visiting Pakistan once a year, cannot maintain the foreign currency account operational. The only plausible explanation understandable to me was that the State Bank does not want the country to be benefited with small amounts like mine which becomes million, if not billion, collectively.

After fulfilling the procedural formalities, I decided to close my foreign currency account no. 00081300201370 in Pakistan and enchased balance of a few thousand of British pounds from my account which are now deposited in British banks. At least they do not make my account dormant, if non-operative, even for years. I am sure many like me would prefer to close their foreign currency accounts with Pakistani banks.

A. RAZZAK United Kingdom


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Comments (14) Closed

Sam Jun 27, 2012 08:17pm
Who know their intensions.Why dont they try to be more transparent in their dealings.
Sam Jun 27, 2012 08:21pm
Pakistani banks are not so much transparent in the dealings like it happens all over the world. Pakistani banks try their best to hide statements, transactions or fees subtracted from account.
@UsmanMalik Jun 27, 2012 12:48pm
Sam they are not taking your money out or blocking you out of your account forever! You can always ask them to reactivate it by signing a simple form there.
Ali Akbar Jun 27, 2012 01:47pm
My Dear Pakistani I fully agree with because our beloved country is very beautiful and very intersting.
Javed Jun 27, 2012 10:47am
We living in foreign countries can not get Bank Draft for sending to Pakistan but can send only TT. Thus practically through Habib Bank Bahrain I can not send money to OPF, to my national savings account, to KDA for my plot installment because I am a non account holder but can freely send to any smuggler, drug pusher, Jihadi in Pakistan as so called home remittances is open for any one despite being a non account holder.
Abdul Shakoor Crack Jun 27, 2012 10:37am
This is shameful act by sbp.i am outside the country and cannot go regularly.Anyhow this also reflects how everything is run in our beloved country.
M. Anwar Qureshi, Libya Jun 27, 2012 09:37am
Not only SBP must review its policy which is counter productive; or before doing that, SBP must issue a memorandum to the account holder giving him enough time to make some transaction to keep account current. Moreover, SBP should consider some special profit rates for expatriates; we dont get any benefit to send our remittances through banking channels which is the single largest financial support for Govt of Pakistan after exports.
@UsmanMalik Jun 27, 2012 12:47pm
Same thing happened with me, but I don't see why would it make me angry enough to close my account? My foreign Currency accounts had to be twice reactivated in last two years but it never took more than 2 minutes of form filling and less than a minute of wait! And yes as Sameer said, you can deposit your money even if your account is dormant!
Javaid Jun 27, 2012 04:11pm
I am also a non resident Pakistani and have been staying out of Pakistan for the period three times more than Mr.Razzak. I have been to UK for a number of times and I very well know how much Pakistani origin british nationals are rich. I am not sure but strongly believe that Mr. Razzak does not know that the rule of declaring non operative accounts for a certain period as dormant is in practice in most of the countries of the world. I feel the Mr. Razzak's comments about the rule in Pakistan is only a show off. So what ?
Sam Jun 27, 2012 03:58am
I am a Pakistani living in USA and I use western union or other methods for such money transfer. I never use banks. I think you have forgot Pakistan , it lawlessness,bribe culture and habbit of people/leader to steal others money.Pakistan is running on overseas AID its because we are too lazy to work. Good luck with your money but I myself work very hard to earn my money.I cannot afford such looses therefore I never use bank simply because they are not transparent in their dealings.
Javaid Khan Jun 27, 2012 04:10am
I fully agrees with the views expressed.State Bank must change its rules regarding Foreign Currency accounts and becoming dornmant after 6 months.
K. Khan Jun 27, 2012 04:26am
That is a awful outcome of new SBP instructions regarding bank accounts. Officials should review their policies especially which affect foreign currency accounts.
Naseer Jun 27, 2012 05:42am
I totally agree with you. I also had to do the same few months back. Not sure why but probably with these policies we want to penalise all those who want to contribute to their homeland. Another shock for me last year was that when in PK I had to make a small payment (1000 USD) & I went to the bank to get a DD (DD was the requirement) using my foreign currency account and the bank refused to do so. So I had to resort to non-banking channels. At least rest of the world encourages its citizens to use banking channels. As an expatriate in middle east I dont want to keep my money in these countries but fear transferring it back home if we've these kind of strange policies, limitation of inter bank transfers using internet banking and above all lots of banking scandals.
sameer Jun 27, 2012 06:59am
I face the similar problem and was angry in the first place, but it is for the safety of the account holder and with a short procedure e.g. making a transaction and a short letter shall get your account activated. You may deposit even when your account is dormant.