For consecutively the second time, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has not issued fresh currency notes in view of Eid-ul-Fitr.
This means that the usual custom of giving out fresh and crisp notes in Eidi will cost more this year as these bundles can be availed but at a high premium.
The SBP issued, in 2017, fresh notes worth Rs168 billion. In 2018, it said that the number of recipients of fresh bundles surged by around 50% as they grew from 1.8 million to 2.7 million.
However, as part of the coronavirus SOPs, the central bank has refrained from issuing fresh notes for the previous two years.
These bundles can be availed from the prize bond market at Karachi’s Bolton Market. People are buying Rs10 and Rs20 bundles of a hundred fresh notes at a premium of Rs200. A buyer has to pay Rs1,200 to get Rs1,000 in fresh notes of Rs10 and Rs2,200 for Rs2,000 in new Rs20 notes.
Fresh bundles of Rs50 and Rs100 are being sold at a premium rate of Rs500.
The country is observing Eid today (Thursday) as a result of moon sighting being announced by the central moon-sighting committee at 11:30 pm in the night.
The country again stood amidst a frenzy with provinces being divided on the issue.
The government, late-night, reiterated its directions that Eid is to be observed with strict SOPs. It said that the people should refrain from the usual meet and greet and should observe social distancing amidst religious festivities during the day.
The central government said that elders should be taken specific care of. Pakistan reported a slight dip in fresh coronavirus cases and the government is keen to maintain the downward trend by enforcing a strict lockdown in the extended holidays of Eid.