Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved major structural changes in the system to enhance foreign remittances through banking channel and facilitate overseas Pakistanis.
The decision to incentivize home remittances through legal channels was taken during a follow-up meeting held for facilitating overseas Pakistanis.
To further facilitate overseas Pakistanis, the Prime Minister allowed State Bank of Pakistan and its authorized banks to implement business to customer and customer to business transactions through foreign correspondent entities under their existing home remittance agency arrangements.
As regard to B2C transactions, freelance and Information Systems Services are allowed up to $1,500 per individual per month. Transaction services other than computer and information services are also allowed to transact up to $1,500 per individual per month. Pensioners can now receive up to Rs250000 per individual per month.
For C2B transactions, direct payments from overseas Pakistanis can be received to pay utility bills, education fees of Higher Education Commission’s accredited institutions, superstores, insurance companies and credit card payments etc. Remittances received by reputed real estate builders/developers and housing societies from overseas Pakistanis on account of purchase of property such as residential and commercial houses, plots, flats and buildings are also allowed except remittances for equity/participation in an enterprise.
Moreover, the Prime Minister accorded approval for incentive payment by the government on Mobile Wallet use to the tune of Rs2 on each transaction of $1 remittance as airtime that was previously Rs1. Exchange companies and authorized dealers i.e. banks who bring in 15 per cent more remittances than the previous financial year will also have the incentive of Rs1 against each $1 incremental remittance transaction. These incentives will have a significant impact towards increasing remittances.
The Prime Minister also approved initiation of a survey of overseas Pakistani workers, particularly based in Middle Eastern countries, to get their feedback on further facilitating and incentivizing the home remittance processes. The Prime Minister emphasized that Overseas Pakistanis are the country’s greatest asset and the government will facilitate them in every respect. He also directed concerned ministries and departments to work out further incentives for Pakistanis abroad in order to attract remittances through legal channels.
The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Adviser to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to the PM on Media Iftikhar Durrani, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Tariq Bajwa, Secretary to the PM, Secretary Finance, Secretary Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Chairman FBR, Chairman NADRA and other senior officers.
These measures are expected to have positive effect on the remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis but the government needs to take concrete steps to resolve issues faced in Pakistan by overseas workers specially property related matters.