Kathmandu, January 30
Owing the shortage of dollar bills in the country, the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has paved the way for commercial banks to import physical dollars.
In a recently issued circular, the central regulatory and monetary authority has allowed recovery of up to Re 0.30 as handling charge accrued in import of dollar on top of exchange rates fixed by NRB from clients who receive the exchange facility from the banks.
As the shortage of greenback became acute, the NRB had also imported $10 million from Singapore in the first week of November last year. US dollars are in short supply in the country due to slowdown in tourism sector, rampant hundi and smuggling of US dollars from the country.
According to Janak Bahadur Adhikari, executive director of the Banking Office of NRB, the handling charge to import dollar bills worth $10 million accrued at $23,000.
NRB had been mulling over charging Re 0.24 to Re 0.28 per dollar while providing exchange facility of physical dollar and also providing the options to the banks to import dollar bills by themselves.
The country has been witnessing a shortage of physical US dollars despite having ample foreign exchange reserve. After ban on travellers’ cheques, the demand for dollars from those travelling abroad has been rising. NRB allows exchange facility of up to $500 for people travelling abroad after presenting their ticket and travel documents.
Some commercial banks have shown interest to import physical dollar bills into the country to address the cash crunch, as per NRB officials.
A version of this article appears in print on January 31, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.