DialZero, Meta’s Authorized Sales Partner for Pakistan, has been facing payment clearance issue while sending advertisement funds to Meta. As per sources, the central bank was unable to provide the required clearance and permission to the company hence hampering the payments to Meta. Previously, all telecom operators had penned a letter to the IT ministry, expressing their concerns over the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) blocking payment by users to Google. In response, SBP strongly refuted the ‘baseless claims,’ saying, “The SBP strongly refutes all such assertions. The fact is that in order to facilitate domestic entities. The SBP specified certain information technology-related services, which such entities can acquire from abroad for their own use and make foreign exchange payments there against up to $100,000 per invoice. Such services include satellite transponder, international bandwidth/internet/private line services, software license/maintenance/support, and service to use electronic media and databases.”
Payment Clearance Issue Goes Deep
As per sources, DialZero is not the only company facing foreign payment clearance issues. In fact, it has been going on with many other firms that are making foreign payments. A source close to the central bank informed that the bank has run out of dollars and it is only using foreign exchange for absolute essential payments and imports.
On the other hand, the forex reserves are continuously declining, the recent data released by SBP reveals that the foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank fell by 0.2% on a week-on-week basis. On 9th December, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $6,700 million, down $14.9 million as compared with $6,714.9 million on 2nd December
Upcoming Shortage of Commodities
Experts believe that SBP has taken measures to stop the outflow of dollars due to the depleting reserves, but, the central bank has not made any official statement in this regard. The country will likely face increased commodity rates as SBP has squeezed the opening of letters of credit due to the shortage of dollars. According to a local blog, ‘The central bank is not opening LCs for the import of raw materials used in medicines with the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) warning of a potential shortage of medicines in the country.’