KABUL (Pajhwok): Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) distributes old and new design dollar notes, saying both are relevant but money changers buy old notes 200 afghanis cheaper than the new bills.
Money changers at the Sara-i-Shahzada, the biggest money market in the county, buy old dollar notes from people at a cheaper price. The Afghanistan Money Changers Union says they do not appreciate the purchase of old dollar notes while banks stress they accept old notes that are not soiled and mutilated.
DAB in a statement in April said dollar printed before 1996 were not acceptable to them if they were mutilated and repaired, sprayed with color and security signs on the note had deteriorated.
The statement said US dollar notes beyond 1996 if in stable condition were acceptable in cash services providing institutions.
Money changers buy old dollar notes cheaply
Ehsanullah, a client of New Kabul Bank, said on Wednesday he withdrew $500 of his salary from the bank and he was given $300 new notes and $200 old notes.
He said the money changer exchanged each old bank note 100 afs cheaper compared to the new dollar notes.
“It is unfair, the DAB has announced that old dollar notes that are in stable condition have no difference with the new dollar notes but money changers purchase them cheaply from customers. DAB should prevent this practice,” he said.
He added: “The profit of old dollar notes go to money changers while common people suffer a loss.”
Another Kabul dweller Masoud shared similar complaint and said the Afghanistan International Bank and Azizi Bank offered two old dollar notes in $1,000 and money changers purchased them cheaply.
He said each $100 bill was bought by money changers 100 afs cheaper.
Moneychangers: old dollar notes purchased at low price
Munir, a moneychanger in Kabul, said he purchased old US dollars at 100 to 200 afghanis low price compared to the new notes.
He added that the age of the notes was also considered, if any part of the $100 bill is damaged or scratched, then it is bought at a cheaper price of up to 400 afghanis.
When asked why he purchases the 100 US dollar note cheaper, he replied: “White dollars are old, people don’t buy them here, so they are exported to Dubai and a extra commission is charged over it.”
But according to him, the moneychangers of Sara-i-Shahzad buy the old USD notes cheaper than the original price of the dollar and sell them to other moneychangers within the market and earn their own profit.
He said: “When we take dollar notes to Sara-i-Shahzad, the large moneychangers buy white notes at a cheap price so we also buy these notes in at a cheaper price than the new ones.”
Moneychanger union: old banknotes not accepted by private banks
Abdul Rahman Zirak, a spokesman of the Afghanistan money changers association, said about purchase of old notes at a cheaper price: “Unfortunately, the issue of white dollars exists in Sara-i-Shahzad market, the main reason is that private banks do not easily accept old notes from customers and moneychangers and it is a huge issue.”
He said the Da Afghanistan Bank sold dollars in the form of auction and it included old notes but actually the issue was in private banks.
He expressed hope that Afghanistan bank would resolve this issue with private banks. He said his community had requested the authorities several times to solve this problem, but it remained unaddressed.
Without giving details, Zirak said the “scarcity and smuggling” of newly printed or blue dollars in the market was another reason for the decrease in the value of the white dollar, which should be given serious attention.
According to him, some people take unfair advantage of the buying and selling of white dollars.
Banks: we purchase and sell white dollars that are not so old
However, a treasurer at Kabul bank’s dollar payment section told Pajhwok that since the bank had millions of old dollars in its reserves, it gave customers one 100 dollar old note in every $300.
He said that the blue or newly printed dollar notes had no difference in value with white notes and they also take accept them customers if the notes are not very old.
A treasurer of Azizi Bank also said that if the dollars were not very old and doubtful, then this bank takes them from customers, but when the customer withdraws, they return the notes in the same way.
Pajhwok tried to get the official comment of Kabul bank, Azizi Bank and Afghanistan International Bank officials about the issue, but they did not respond.