SBP allows dealers to remit foreign exchange for Hajj operations
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has decided to allow the Authorized Dealers (ADs) to remit foreign exchange (Saudi Riyals) on behalf of the Hajj Group Organizers having been allocated quota by the Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony ( MORA) under the Private Hajj Scheme for Hajj-2015.
The central bank has issued details instructions to Authorized Dealers related to remittance transfer policy and mechanism for operating service of facilitator of Hajjis.
Authorized Dealers, on being approached, shall open a new Rupee Account in the name of enlisted HGO (referred hereunder as ' designated account in Pakistan') specifically for the purpose of Hajj related remittances to Saudi Arabia. While opening and operating these accounts, ADs are advised to strictly follow SBP's AML/KYC guidelines and ensure compliance of all related rules and regulations issued from time to time.
They shall obtain all necessary documents from the concerned enlisted HGO including authenticated copies of quota allocation letters issued by MORA.
The bank account of the enlisted HGO shall be opened in its business name with suffix "Hajj". For the purpose of effecting Hajj related remittances to Saudi Arabia, each enlisted HGO is permitted to maintain only one account with the AD of its choice. In this respect, before opening the account, AD shall obtain an undertaking from the enlisted HGO that it is not maintaining such account with any of the other ADs or any other branch of the same AD for this purpose. Attention of Authorized Dealers is also invited towards the procedure/guidelines issued by Saudi Authorities for opening of bank account by the HGOs which, inter alia, make it mandatory for each enlisted HGO to open a Saudi Riyal account in any of the banks in Saudi Arabia.
The ADs will be permitted to deposit Rupee funds received from intending pilgrims by the HGO whereas they shall obtain the list of intending pilgrims from concerned HGOs containing details about the intending pilgrims including Name, address and contact details, Passport No. and HGO Hajj Package opted.
ADs shall allow remittances from interbank against the Rupee funds collected by HGOs in terms. The remittances shall only be destined to the specified bank account of concerned HGO in Saudi Arabia. The remittances shall only be made for the purposes of expenses of housing, catering, transportation, guides, subsistence requirements and charges of the Ministry of Hajj in respect of intending pilgrims performing Hajj from the quota allocated to the concerned HGO against authenticated underlying contracts with service providers in Saudi Arabia. The HGOs shall provide per pilgrim per service foreign exchange requirements to ADs for the services in terms of related package. ADs shall make remittances for such services after due verification keeping in view the total quota allocated to the concerned HGO under the Private Hajj Scheme for Hajj-2015. However, in any case, the total per pilgrim remittances to the bank account of enlisted HGO in Saudi Arabia should not exceed 80% of the Hajj Package being offered to individual pilgrim.
In case aggregate remittance against all services by an HGO on any given day exceeds US$ 100,000/-, the concerned HGO will approach Exchange Policy Department, SBP, Karachi along with related details and Form 'M' through the concerned AD for prior approval. It is mandatory for HGOs to transfer the balances held in their accounts in Saudi Arabia after completion of Hajj season to their designated bank accounts in Pakistan. In this respect, the ADs shall obtain authenticated documentary evidence from the HGOs to the effect that they have closed their bank accounts in Saudi Arabia.
ADs shall ensure that they have received back the entire balances available in the bank accounts of HGOs in Saudi Arabia at the time of their closure and have credited the same after conversion into the designated Rupee accounts of HGOs maintained with them. HGOs shall have the option to withdraw or transfer these Rupee funds to any other Rupee account. ADs shall mark the accounts of HGOs as inactive/inoperative on or before last day of Moharram, 1437 A.H. In case of repatriation of funds mentioned in pipeline, the accounts shall be marked as inactive/inoperative latest by 7th Saffar, 1437 A.H.
ADs will obtain from the respective HGOs the Recognition Letter (RL) issued by the MORA on yearly basis. In case the RL is not produced by any HGO for any reason, the AD shall close the account of that HGO immediately.