State Bank of Pakistan introduces ESFCA to facilitate IT exports

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) increased the permissible retention limit of information technology (IT) exporters from 35 percent to 50 percent of their export proceeds in their exports-specific accounts to facilitate the IT exporters and encourage them to bring their foreign exchange earnings into the country, the central bank said in a statement on Monday.

The usage of the balances available in the Exporters’ Specialized Foreign Currency Accounts (ESFCA) has been simplified by allowing the exporters to make their payments from their accounts without any approval from SBP or banks, the statement said.

The banks have also been advised to facilitate the issuance of debit cards, enabling the IT exporters to make online payments from the balances available in their ESFCAs, the statement added.

A new framework for freelancers has also been introduced to further ease the opening of their bank accounts and allow higher retention of amounts in their foreign currency accounts.

The freelancers will now be able to open the bank accounts both digitally and physically at their choice with minimum documentation requirements, the central bank said, adding that the freelancers’ ESFCAs will also be opened concurrently with the opening of their primary local currency account.

The freelancers can retain 50 percent of their export proceeds or 5,000 U.S. dollars per month, whichever is higher, in their ESFCAs and can make all payments from these accounts without any approval from SBP or banks, the statement added.

Earlier in January this year, the SBP directed banks to allow the retention of 35 percent of their export proceeds in special foreign currency accounts.

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