KARACHIThe State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Tuesday allowed banks to remit foreign exchange (Saudi riyal) on behalf of the Haj group organizers (HGO) having allocated quota by the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony (MORA) for this year.

The SBP also issued a list of HGOs with their quota under the Private Haj Scheme 2015. The banks, on being approached, will open a new rupee account in the name of enlisted HGO specifically for the purpose of Haj related remittances to Saudi Arabia.

While opening and operating these accounts, banks are advised to strictly follow SBP’s guidelines and ensure compliance of all related rules and regulations issued from time to time.

The banks will have to obtain all necessary documents from the concerned enlisted HGO including authenticated copies of quota allocation letters issued by the MORA.

The bank account of the enlisted HGO will be opened in its business name with suffix “Haj”.

For the purpose of effecting Haj related remittances to Saudi Arabia, each enlisted HGO is permitted to maintain only one account with the bank of its choice.

In this respect, before opening the account, the bank will obtain an undertaking from the enlisted HGO that it is not maintaining such account with any of the other banks or any other branch of the same bank for this purpose.

The banks have been told to focus on the procedure and guidelines issued by Saudi authorities for opening of bank account by the HGOs which make it mandatory for each enlisted HGO to open a Saudi riyal account in any of the banks in Saudi Arabia.

The only permissible deposits will be Pak rupee funds received from intending pilgrims by the HGO.

The banks will obtain the list of intending pilgrims from concerned HGOs and allow remittances from interbank against the PKR funds.

The remittances will only be made for the purposes of expenses of housing, catering, transportation, guides, subsistence requirements and charges of the Ministry of Haj in respect of intending pilgrims.

The HGOs will provide per pilgrim per service foreign exchange requirements to banks for the services.

The banks will make remittances for such services after due verification keeping in view the total quota allocated to the concerned HGO.

However, in any case, the total per pilgrim remittances to the bank account of enlisted HGO in Saudi Arabia should not exceed 80 per cent of the Haj package being offered to individual pilgrim.

In case aggregate remittance against all services by an HGO on any given day exceeds $100,000, the concerned HGO will approach Exchange Policy Department, SBP, Karachi along with related details of the bank for prior approval.

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