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KARACH: Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP) President Malik Bostan Monday said that black marketing of dollar is increasing in the country due to lower official foreign inflows as currently a large number of remittances are arriving through Hundi and Hawala due to unstable exchange rate.

Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club, Bostan said that the recovery of the economy is a test of the politicians’ wisdom. The enemies of Pakistan are targeting its ideology, its army, politicians and officers. ECAP Secretary General Zafar Paracha, Haji Haroon and others were also present.

He said Pakistanis have some 10 billion dollars’ reserves in their lockers and homes. The market can improve, if the government requests the people to bring these dollars into the market in the larger interest of the country. Overseas Pakistanis are also holding remittances abroad due to uncertainty in the currency market.

He added that dollar smuggling in Afghanistan is also a major reason behind the dollar crisis in the country. “There is a shortage of other currencies including dollar in the open market and some $2 billion are being sent to Afghanistan unofficially every month.”

The country can save $24 billion per year, if the government allows trade in local currencies with Afghanistan. Afghan Transit Trade is gradually increasing and import has risen to 15,000 containers compared to 3,000 containers imported previously.

“We have made great sacrifices for Afghanistan, but we haven’t benefited from the regime change there and our civilian soldiers are martyred in terror attacks daily. When the Afghan Taliban formed the interim government, in August 2021, the value of the dollar was Rs 155, while now it is trading at Rs 225 in interbank market,” he added.

Bostan said currently, ATT is directly hurting Pakistan’s economy and causing irreparable damage to the country’s economy. Afghan Transit Trade is an anti-national activity and not only Afghan businessmen but also Pakistani businessmen are involved in this activity.

He further said that some $180 billion have been sent abroad during last 27 years against $130 billion total debt of the country.

“India wants to create political and economic crisis by spreading unrest in Pakistan to destroy the economy and default the country, so Pakistan’s nuclear programme could be rolled back by blackmailing the government of Pakistan economically,” he maintained.

Currently, the county is facing a serious economic crisis and it is the responsibility of all to think about the country. All the political leaders should show national unity to get Pakistan out of the economic morass, he said.

“I personally request Imran Khan and Prime Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif to sit together so that the economic affairs of the country could be brought to the right track,” Bostan added.

He said that presently, the SBP’s forex reserves have reached $6 billion level and the US dollar is not available.

The federal government has imposed heavy import duties on the import of many luxury items to reduce the import bill and discourage imports. However, more steps are needed to bring the dollar into the country and build the depleting foreign exchange reserves of the country, ECAP President said.

He said currently, exchange companies are surrendering 100 percent of the home remittances inflows into the interbank market, of which dollars are not available in the open market. He requested the Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to allow exchange companies to hold 20 percent of workers’ remittances so that dollars are available in the open market for health and educational needs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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