Should Pakistan discontinue the Rs5,000 currency note?

KARACHI: Former chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi on Thursday insisted that the discontinuation of Rs5,000 note and curbs on the physical movement of dollars is key to curbing the cash economy in the country.

The financial expert made these remarks on Geo News show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath just hours after a fake notification fuelled rumours among the people claiming that the government has decided to ban the note of the highest denomination.

Zaidi maintained that currency circulation is very high in Pakistan and the Rs5,000 note provides convenience in the cash economy, adding that people have kept wealth in their lockers in dollars and Rs5,000, which should be banned.

“What will a person do with cash dollars in Pakistan, if anyone is seen with the greenback, should be arrested until he proves where the dollars came from.”

50% of the people will not encash if they are asked to deposit the note in banks, Zaidi added, and cited the example of India which discontinued the Rs2,000 note some time ago in a bid to curb corruption.

He, however, suggested the authorities give some time to the holders so that they can exchange it.

“I spoke about shutting down exchange companies, now people have understood the reason behind it. The work of the exchange companies should be given to the banks, these companies will be abolished in a year. There are no exchange companies anywhere in the world except Dubai. By establishing exchange companies, the dollar has technically been made the currency of Pakistan.”

‘Discontinuation of Rs5,000 will create uncertainty’

On the other hand, former finance minister Miftah Ismail has strongly opposed the idea, saying the move will only create uncertainty and fear and will not solve the problem we are trying to address.

MIftah Ismail shared that the Indian economy suffered a setback of 1-2% due to this.

The former minister mentioned that people do find ways to avoid restrictions and every note of Rs2,000 was encashed in India.

“It is not proved anywhere in the world that discontinuation of currency stops corruption.”

Opposing Zaidi’s idea, Ismail said it would increase dollarisation.

He credited the appreciation in rupee value to an increase in confidence after the recent meeting of military leadership with the businessmen.

“Smuggling of petroleum products from Iran is necessary,” Ismail added.

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