Banks ‘open’ but clearing system not available

Imran Zakir

KARACHI: Government has decided to keep banks open on May 10-11, but there is non- availability of fully functional banking services during working hours. A large number of customers’ cheques were not cleared which are deposited after the last working day, Friday adding disappointment in public due to the suspension of NIFT clearing services, which provides cheque clearing between banks.
Earlier, the SBP announced that banks will remain closed from May 10 to 15th for Eid holidays that are considered disastrous for the economy by the business community including trade and industry and pharmaceutical sector.
In order to ensure the availability of banking services to trade and industry in particular and public in general during the extended holidays before the forthcoming Eidul Fitr, it has been decided that banks shall open 50 per cent of their total authorized branches dealing in foreign exchange and trade activities on May 10 (Monday) while the remaining 50pc of such branches on May 11 (Tuesday) from 9:00am to 2:00pm (without break),” said a circular issued by the State Bank on Thursday. But due to unavailability of RTGS system the cheque will clear after 17th May informed by the SBP spokesperson.
While the small traders/Shop Vendors have fear that increasing infection rate of Covid-19 could result into imposition of complete lockdown across the country that would hurt the economy as Eid-related products could not be sold out and will not be safe during prolonged holidays.

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