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No cash flow: Gilgit faces shortage of smaller denomination notes

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: The Gilgit branch of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has not received smaller denominations of currency notes since December 2015. This has created a dearth of cash flow in the markets and negatively impacted businesses in the region.

Officials privy to the development have said airlines have refused to transport boxes of cash. This is primarily because there is minimal space in aircrafts and the boxes tend to be bulky. As a result, smaller denominations are unavailable.

NBP Gilgit Manager Sajjad Hussain told The Express Tribune on Saturday the last time they received change from the head office was in December.

“This is because Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) does not transport the large number of cash boxes,” Hussain said.

He added they are thinking about alternative means of transportation to bring small denominations of currency to the region as soon as possible.

Spare some change?

Referring to shortage of change with vendors, Abdul Rehman, a resident of Gilgit told The Express Tribune, “It is a difficult situation to
deal with.”

He said when people shop, traders ask for smaller bank notes. “[Many of them] say they do not have change and even banks apologise when we ask them for smaller currency notes in exchange for bigger ones,” Rehman said.

Munir Khan, a shopkeeper, said the situation affected their businesses as buyers were forced to return empty-handed due to shortage
of change.

“People come to us with big notes—Rs5,000 or at least Rs1,000—and when we are unable to break a change, they return without purchasing anything.”

He added, “The situation is getting worse for us with each passing day.”

According to Munir, dozens of banks, including NBP, located in the city had failed to provide smaller denominations since change has not come from NBP’s head office.

People who make a living through businesses that deal with change have been adversely affected by the current situation.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2016.

 

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