Rupee usage in Kandahar hits extreme low
KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): After the imposition of a ban on domestic transactions in the Pakistani currency, currently almost all traders and common people use the Afghan currency in southern Kandahar province.
Moneychangers, traders and Afghanistan central bank officials say daily trade deals are only done in the afghani in Kandahar.
About two weeks ago, a ban on the usage of Pakistani currency was announced in Kandahar, resulting in a dramatic increase in the value of the afghani against the Pakistani rupee and the American dollar.
Within no time, the afghani appreciated against the rupee and 1000 Pakistani rupees were exchanged for 549 afghanis only.
But now the rupee has regained its position against the afghani and currently 1000 rupees are accounted for 623 afghanis in Kandahar money exchange markets.
Central bank officials say the reason behind the rupee’s recovery against the afghani is that the ban on the Pakistani currency is limited to Kandahar only and domestic transactions in the Pakistani currency still take place in several other provinces.
Kandahar Money Exchange Market and moneychangers’ union head Haji Qandi Agha told Pajhwok Afghan News it was for the first time in the past 16 years that the ban on Pakistani currency was seriously and completely implemented.
He said after the ban, all traders, shopkeepers and common people use the afghani and had shunned the Pakistani currency.
But he said except Kandahar the Pakistani currency was still widely used in other provinces.
When the ban was first imposed, all people thronged the money exchange market to sell their Pakistani currency holdings and buy the afghanis and as a result the afghani greatly appreciated against the foreign currency, said Qandi Agha.
But he said now the Pakistani currency had regained its value against the afghani because the ban was confined to Kandahar only.
Dan Afghanistan (central) Bank official in Kandahar Mohammad Naeem Akbari also said fortunately the usage of the Pakistani currency in the province had hit a record low and the process was being monitored by a commission appointed by the central bank.
He said security organs were cooperative in the process and those violating the ban were being fined and punished.
He said it was due to security organs’ cooperation that the central bank was able to ban the use of the Pakistani currency and make the process a success.
He said in the initials days of the ban, a large number of people converted rupees into afghanis and it resulted in the Afghan currency’s appreciation.
The official said the afghani had appreciated enough against the Pakistani currency as before the ban, 1000 rupees were accounted for 650 afghanis and currently exchanged for 623 afghanis.
Akbari renewed the warning and said the central bank and the Kandahar administration were committed to the ban and the security departments were cooperative in this regard.
He said they were also pushing a ban on the usage of Pakistani currency in Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces, but the outcome was not satisfactory because security organs were not cooperating as required.
He said the afghani could be put on the path to stability if a ban was imposed on the Pakistani currency in the whole of the country.
He said the ban in Kandahar alone could not leave an impact on the bazaars across the country.
Kandahar residents also say the use of the Pakistani currency has almost ceased in the province.
A resident of Deh Khwaja area of Kandahar City, the provincial capital, Abdul Nafi, said before the ban, shoppers would demand the Pakistani currency but now they did not because they feared police would fine them.
He said people were happy with the ban, but the ban had created some problems as well.
Elaborating, he said, previously a shopkeeper would sell a product for 100 Pakistani rupees but now they sold the same good for 100 afghanis.
The resident asked the authorities concerned to regulate the prices and prevent artificial price-hike.
A resident of Spin Boldak border town Allaudin, who owns an electronic equipment shop in the Wish bazaar, said the situation had changed in the district and now people had shunned the Pakistani rupee.
He said previously hundred percent domestic transactions took place in the rupee, but now only happened in the afghani.
Kandahar security officials say they are fully cooperating with the central bank officials in preventing the usage of Pakistani currency and the ban has been effective.
Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq says Afghan traders in the Spin Boldak district alone paid $150,000 to $200,000 in taxes to Pakistani banks because they had no option but to deposit their money in the Pakistani banks across the border in Chaman, Pakistan.
The Afghan traders who daily traveled to Pakistan to deposit their money in banks also faced abductions and similar threats and the benefit went to a foreign country, he reasoned.
He said it was no longer acceptable that the revenue of Afghans’ trade and investment ended up in other countries and that was why the people could no longer do business in the Pakistani currency.
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