June 9, 2020 (MLN): The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has taken multiple measures and has issued various guidelines for the Banking Sector to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
With regards to cash management, the Finance Department of SBP has also issued comprehensive guidelines in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply of disinfected banknotes throughout the economy. On the operational front, SBP BSC Offices are also continuously facilitating the Regional Banking sector.
However, in light of the emerging situation i.e. rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country, it is imperative that additional measures be adopted to safeguard those directly involved in cash management and operations. For this purpose, in addition to the precautionary measures, social distancing SOPs/ guidelines already issued by the GoP/ WHO; banks have been advised to mandatorily comply with the following operational guidelines, with immediate effect:
i. The commercial bank/CIT interested in deposit/withdrawal of cash from SBP BSC shall coordinate with respective SBP BSC field office(s) and seek the time to visit the office for the purpose. The bank/CIT will be allowed access in the SBP BSC premises only at the time allocated to them.
ii. Commercial bank/CIT shall ensure minimum/efficient deployment of staff for cash deposit/ withdrawal from SBP BSC Offices, in order to mitigate spread of the COVID-19 virus.
iii. Wearing of face masks, latex gloves are mandatory for bank representatives / CIT staff entering SBP BSC premises. Similarly, while entering the Bank’s premises temperature screening of all such visitors shall be carried out by SBPs’ security officials.
iv. Commercial bank representatives / CIT staff exhibiting symptom(s) including but not limited to coughing, sneezing, fever, etc; shall not be engaged in cash handling/storage/transportation. While screening at SBP BSC, if any of the bank /CIT staff exhibits any of the aforementioned symptoms, such individuals will not be allowed to enter SBP BSC office(s).
Commercial bank representatives / CIT staff to ensure compliance of all preventive measures related to social distancing including guidelines issued by the Government of Pakistan and WHO, while present in SBP BSC premises.
vi. It should be ensured that banknote deposits (all denom) are shrink-wrapped in accordance with the Banknote Packing Instructions, as the same shall be disinfected before deposit in SBP BSC vault.
vii. Furthermore, commercial banks/CITs shall adopt similar practices / precautionary measures during interbank/intra-bank cash dealings.
viii. Commercial banks/CIT companies are encouraged to facilitate testing of all employees suspected of contracting COVID-19 to present the image of a socially responsible institution.
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