Pakistan has halted payments for in-app purchases including online video games bought
by local customers using
airtime from telecommunications companies, the latest sign of distress caused by the country’s depleted foreign-exchange reserves.
Telecom service providers were violating regulations by allowing payments to be made for customers under an arrangement with the government that permitted the phone companies to pay for IT-related services for their own use, State Bank of Pakistan said in a statement. The regulator has stopped the transactions and telecom operators to resubmit their requests.
The South Asian country’s economy is dealing with
various pressures including a dollar shortage and a downgrade by rating agencies further into junk.
The nation’s foreign-exchange reserves cover about one month of imports, less than the three-month benchmark. Pakistan has been restricting overseas payments and imports to deal with its shortage of the US currency.
Automobile companies including local units of Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor
Co have had multiple weeks-long shutdowns this year because have been unable to import parts.