KARACHI: Pakistan to introduce new currency designs with advanced security features Pakistan currency notes. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmed revealed on Monday that the central bank has made a landmark decision to introduce new currency notes across all denominations, aiming to enhance security features and combat counterfeit currency circulation in the country.
In a surprise announcement made during an informal discussion with journalists, the central bank Governor revealed plans to introduce new currency notes across all denominations in Pakistan.
The move, aimed at combating black money within the country, signifies a principled decision by the State Bank of Pakistan to overhaul the existing currency system.
Governor Jameel Ahmed emphasized that the new currency notes would incorporate advanced international security features to deter counterfeiting. Moreover, a design competition slated for February will determine the aesthetic framework of the upcoming currency. The envisioned notes are expected to boast vibrant colours, distinct serial numbers, intricate designs, and heightened security measures.
Assuring against sudden disruptions, Governor Jameel Ahmed clarified that the transition would not mimic India’s abrupt currency change. The decision stems from mounting concerns regarding the proliferation of counterfeit notes nationwide, reflecting the central bank’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of Pakistan’s monetary system.
SBP maintains key interest rate at 22pc
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday held its key rate at 22 per cent for the fifth policy meeting in a row.
The decision is the last under the caretaker government before general elections due next week. It also comes in the midst of the $3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Addressing a press conference in Karachi today, SBP Governor Jameel Ahmad said the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had met earlier today and reviewed the “current economic developments”. “The MPC decided that the current policy rate, which is 22pc, will continue. In other words, it decided to maintain status quo,” he said.
Ahmad said the MPC noted that Pakistan’s external account had “improved”, which was reflected in the country’s foreign exchange reserves. He said that in July 2023, when Pakistan had signed a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund, forex reserves were a little over $4 billion.
“In the past six months, our reserves have increased to more than $8bn. Right now they are $8.3bn. This is despite the fact that we have repaid $6.2bn of principle foreign debt,” the governor said, adding that interest payments were also done.
“So despite all these payments, our reserves have increased by $4bn,” he said. Ahmad went on to say that the SBP’s forward book, which was at $4.5bn in July, had improved to $3.5bn.
He recalled that the current account deficit was very high in 2022 but was later contained following measures taken by the central bank and the government. “It shrunk from 4.7pc to 0.7pc and in the first six months of the current fiscal year, it is contained and stands at $800m. A similar trend is continuing in January as well,” the SBP governor added. But at the same time, Ahmad highlighted that Pakistan had to make several debt repayments this year.
Talking about inflation, he said the MPC reviewed inflation-related developments. In May 2023, inflation peaked at 38pc but a declining trend has been noted now. “Although it still remains elevated, inflation will start declining faster from March,” Ahmad added.
The SBP governor said the MPC committee also closely reviewed inflated gas and electricity prices that impacted the continued inflationary pressure. “Keeping this in view, the committee has revised the average inflation assessment for the current fiscal year to 23-25pc,” he stated. Similarly, Ahmad said the central bank had set a medium-term target, which would be achieved by September 2025.
He further stated that business confidence had improved in recent days and its reflection could be seen in Pakistan’s economic activity, particularly in industrial capacity utilisation and large-scale manufacturing.