REMITTANCES, PIA ETC. ETC

 Muhammad Javed

In order to get not merely more remittances but also to fetch the Overseas Pakistanis (Ops) savings abroad, the Governments from the last 10 years, every six month or so announce this scheme or that scheme but the results are never nearer to the desired level. No doubt the figures of remittances must have increased credit of which the Governments take, nevertheless it is a fact that this increase is more due to exchange rates and secondly that from Middle East for the last some years a good number of expatriates are being sent back who then take their gratuity or end of service benefits with them.  The ever increasing cost of living in Pakistan has contributed in this increase of remittances received as the OPs are under constant pressure by their families to send more as the previously sent does not cover the full month expenditures. The government files may be showing that number of out flow of Pakistani workers is increasing due to efforts of the Government nevertheless the true fact, which every Pakistani living in the Middle East can verify, is that the number of Pakistanis in Middle East is on decrease while Bangladeshi are increasing today even on Indians who previously affected Pakistani manpower. All schemes of the Government in the name of new incentives or speedy to speedier delivery of remittances are mostly paper worth. The US Ambassador in Pakistan a few years back in a speech quoted a figure how many billions Pakistanis had abroad which if brought back all international loans of Pakistan get re-paid back. Pakistanis are very patriotic people.  For the country they are always ready to sacrifice but it is a fact today it is hard to en-cash fully their such feelings today.  OPs will I am confident shower their savings even without asking for any interest on those provided however for example they are fully confident that their hard earned money will not be spent on full load of Umrah flights. They are not now going to trust on any words of mouth. This is what the Americans have in Kery Lugar Bill in indirect words ensured. Seeing the affairs of the country being run during the last 6-7 years, how our elite is fetching out their monies abroad, today a tendency has erupted in OPs that while leaving for Pakistan for good, they leave their savings in Banks where they had been serving and withdrawn what they need through modern banking in Pakistan.  Last week a news paper disclosed how much tax General Musharraaf and some other industrialist politicians etc paid.  Seeing those figures I was wondering I was paying double than that while I myself was an OP on a clerical office seat. 

 

The remittances would today increase only through practical incentives not incentives like that OPs will be given VIP treatment on arrival at airports,  OPs are the real ambassadors etc. These have no values in the eyes of OPs today as they do not want any VIP treatment but just a normal glass of water at airports which is not available despite paying about Rs. 6000 plus travel taxes.  At present the only practical incentive for an OP is a Rs. 2000/- free Passport in 5 years on remitting Rs. 150,000 in a year meaning Rs. 400/- a year incentive.  There are many ways for alluring OPs and for one I suggest that concerned authorities may prescribe that anyone who sends by legal channel a sum of Rs. 200,000 in a year gets extra 10 kgs baggage allowance on travel by PIA.  An orange stolen or plucked from the garden away from the eyes of the gardener is tastier than the 6 purchased from the shop. It is a proved thing that today supermarkets all over word attract more customers, increase their incomes by offering “Buy this Get free that” whereas that free offered item always is hardly of any worth or is just expiring.  For this “free incentive” not merely the Pakistan banks abroad/country will benefit but PIA will also fetch load of customers.  Many such schemes without losing much but fetching larger gains can be introduced but the fact is the hidden un-named invisible forces would not like schemes like these because it adversely affects the Hundi.  As such then how the eg  the Minister recently alleged  by British authorities involved in money laundering hundi through his exchange company or Kalia will be able to serve the big fish sending their monies abroad illegally

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