KARACHI -  Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Shamim Ahmed Firpo has urged the State Bank of Pakistan to take strict action against Exchange Companies (ECs) which were reluctant convert the old-design US$100 notes and were charging 3 to 4 percent fee to exchange the old bills with the new ones or convert them into Pakistani rupee or any other currency.

KCCI chief, in a statement, said that the Chamber has been constantly receiving complaints nowadays from its members, who are being offered 3 to 4 percent less exchange rate against the current market value in case they bear old-design notes, which is highly unfair, totally illegal and sheer looting by the Exchange Companies.

Shamim Firpo said that these exchange companies further advise the public that if they are not willing to pay 3 to 4 percent fee, they can take these dollars with them to Dubai or any other country where these dollars are acceptable as per market value but in Pakistan, they will have to pay an additional fee which is not making any sense. “When the old-design notes are acceptable all over the world then why ECs are reluctant to exchange the same in Pakistan”, he asked. He said that the central bank must to take action against the cartel of exchange companies, responsible for creating a strange situation and triggering anxiety amongst the public.

He said that moneychangers buy old-design notes at a cheaper price and manage to exchange the same in Dubai without incurring any cost and thus make a heavy profit.

He opined that both, old- and new-design, dollar bills are legal tender and remain acceptable around the world whereas the new-design notes were not something new as these were introduced some five years back but the issue of old and new-design bills keeps resurfacing in Pakistan after intervals as similar incident took place in January this year and now in August.

President KCCI said that moneychangers who charge 3 to 4 percent fee for exchanging each $100 bill accuse the banks while the banks usually deny which indicates that some unscrupulous activity was definitely going on therefore, the State Bank, being a well-organized, vigilant and an efficient regulator, has to thoroughly review the entire situation and accordingly take action against those responsible for giving losses to the masses. He urged Governor State Bank to immediately initiate an enquiry and take strict action against Exchange Companies.