Overseas Pakistanis can contribute more

ACCORDING to latest figures, Overseas Pakistanis remitted over $16 billion in first ten months of the current financial year, showing 25% growth over same period last year. There are expectations that the amount may reach all time high of about $20 billion by the close of the fiscal year.
This high growth of remittances is of great significance for the country struggling to improve its foreign exchange reserves through borrowing from international lenders on their terms and selling bonds on the international markets. It is also to be noted that the remittances constitute about 60% of the foreign exchange that the country earns from exports, which are dwindling now in the face of slump in the global market. The country’s dependence on remittances has greatly increased over the years and had there been no substantial increase in remittances the economy would not have witnessed the ease it is experiencing these days. Overseas Pakistanis are not only a source of raising of standards of their families back home but their contribution is also vital for economic and social development. Experts say that there is still vast untapped potential of overseas Pakistanis who have billions of dollars in the banks of the host countries. The Government needs to do concrete planning, in close consultations with Pakistani Diaspora, to attract them to invest their money in profitable ventures back home. However, for this to happen, steps would have to be taken to plug flight of capital from the country as has been highlighted by Panama Papers. It is also pertinent to note that remittances can increase substantially if we are able to send trained manpower abroad and convince Overseas Pakistanis to remit money through legal channels. Overseas Pakistanis Foundation was created long ago to facilitate them and their families but regrettably the foundation is working in a bureaucratic manner with the result that Overseas Pakistanis have more complains than appreciation of the institution.

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