Commerce Ministry warns firms against refusing to deal with cash in transactions

October 07, 2020

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

The Ministry of Commerce warned that punitive measures will be taken against those commercial establishments, which refuse to deal with cash in their transactions.

The warning came in a recent circular issued by Omar Al-Suhaibani, acting deputy minister of commerce for consumer protection, a copy of which was seen by Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

The deputy minister said in the circular that all commercial establishments, covered by the ministry’s control, would be held accountable if they refuse to accept paper or metal currencies on the pretext of fighting coronavirus.

The ministry issued the warning after it noticed that some shops refrained from accepting banknotes or coins, while some of them exhibited boards stating that all transactions will be through bank cards and that banknotes or coins will not be accepted.

The ministry stated that the Saudi Arabian Monetary System gave legal power to banknotes issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the central bank.

These currencies have been granted the status of legal tender to pay off debts and obligations as well as to show the respect to the national currency in its capacity as one of the manifestations of the sovereign state and to enhance confidence in it.

The ministry stressed that refusing to sell in paper or metal currencies may result in the refusal of sale, which weakens the level of confidence in the nation’s currency.

It also noted that the previous instructions related to limiting acceptance of payment from customers only through electronic means and not accepting paper or metal currencies for the reason of fighting coronavirus no longer exists.

At the same time, the ministry required that precautions must be continued while dealing with currencies as in the case of other tools.

The ministry’s circular is directed to the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), which in turn shall address the directive to the rest of the chambers of commerce and industry in various regions of the Kingdom.

The chambers would pass on the directive to all shops, establishments, companies and markets to accept paper and metal currencies, and not reject them under the pretext of the coronavirus.

It is noteworthy that SAMA has started the circulation of a new polymer currency in the five riyal denomination effective from Oct. 5. The central bank said that the new denomination would go side by side with the five-riyal, as well as the rest of the sixth issue of paper notes, which are in circulation as legal tender.

SAMA emphasized that the new five-riyal denomination was printed according to the latest standards in the field of polymer currency printing. The note boasts of many technical specifications and high-quality security features.

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