Exploit true potential of expatriates

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TALKING to Chairman of EU-Pak Friendship Federation Ch. Pervez Iqbal Losar, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood reaffirmed the government’s commitment to address the problems of Overseas Pakistanis on a priority basis. Given their contribution to the country’s economy in the form of remittances which almost equals to our exports as well as extending support in case of any difficult time, these overseas Pakistanis are really a precious asset who certainly need to be facilitated in every possible manner. It is really heartening to see the focus of present government towards that end.
It is however important that our Overseas Pakistanis’ policy should not be just remittance focused. There should be a comprehensive integrated policy to exploit their true potential and have their contribution in various other domains as well: social, development, political, etc. Many Overseas Pakistanis possess exclusive and substantial material/non-material assets that could be galvanized for beginning suitable business/institutional programmes in Pakistan. Some Overseas Pakistanis own and operate multi-billion dollar organizations abroad. They could be motivated to employ their financial resources and organizational expertise for replicating twin set-ups in Pakistan. As the government has launched its economic diplomacy, our focus apart from foreign investors must be these expatriates and for this we need to create avenues for their secure and profitable investments in all sectors of national economy alongside simplifying investment procedures. They should be provided fiscal incentives for setting up small and medium businesses. Such relief could be in the form of tax holidays and other gestation period-related concessions. The Pakistani Diaspora should be made stakeholders in the country‘s politics, economy and social life. We could take a leaf from the Chinese experience as well as other regional countries and carve an important role for them in the country‘s economy. We will suggest that a special Commission be established to induce and integrate the positive effect of Pakistani Diaspora on homeland. At the same time, it is important that we provide market-oriented technical skills to our youths so that they could get better job opportunities in the foreign markets.