Bangladesh Bank has given directives to all authorised dealer banks in the country to release foreign exchange for performing Umrah-Hajj. A circular to this effect was issued on Monday.
The circular said authorised dealers shall obtain documents from licensed agents in support of the sales of Umrah Hajj packages to intending pilgrims, compliant with the government's Umrah-Hajj policy.
Authorised dealers shall endorse foreign exchange out of annual travel entitlement on passports of pilgrims up to the expenses to be incurred in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and retain the same in foreign exchange margin accounts of licensed agents. Service charges including air ticket fare for journey from Bangladesh, if included in the packages, payable to licensed agents shall be settled in Taka, according to the circular.
Intending pilgrims may arrange foreign exchange out of their annual travel entitlement and/or balances held in Resident Foreign Currency Deposit accounts. Pilgrims may also arrange Foreign Demand Draft (FDD) from their designated authorised dealers favoring licensed agents after endorsement on passports.
Foreign exchange so realised against sale of Umrah Hajj packages shall be remittable to KSA on deduction and payment of applicable taxes thereon. Authorised dealers may also release foreign currency out of unused travel entitlement in cash to meet the needs of intending pilgrims during their stay in Saudi Arabia.
As usual, authorised dealers shall observe customers' due diligence/KYC including AML/CFT standards and reporting routine to Bangladesh Bank, the circular also said.