THE inflow of investment in Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) has touched five billion dollars mark with overseas Pakistanis sending one hundred and eighty seven million dollars last month, which helped stabilize Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves and provided protection to the rupee in foreign exchange markets.
The RDA was launched about two years ago by the then government, offering good returns on investment to attract more foreign exchange from expatriate Pakistanis who always have proved to be a valuable asset for the country to lessen the country’s economic woes.
The fact of the matter is that our current account deficit would have further worsened with steeper rupee depreciation if the expatriates had not made investment in the RDA.
However, month-wise data shows that inflows through the online accounts slowed down to an eighteen month low in August.
There may be several factors behind it such as the global commodities super cycle and the current political instability and uncertainty in the country.
At a time when the country is faced with catastrophic flooding which has inflicted damage on a large scale, the government must do the needful to attract more inflows in RDA from expatriate Pakistanis.
At present, Naya Pakistan Saving Certificates are offering a return of 4.75% to 7% depending on the period of investment from three months to five years.
The return on rupee denominated certificates varies from 9.50% to 11%. We, therefore, will suggest the government to revise up the rate of return on these certificates to accelerate investment in RDA.
Many expatriate Pakistanis are running big businesses in different countries. These should be approached and given the necessary incentives to open up their businesses in their homeland.
We believe that enhancing the flow of investment of Overseas Pakistanis in different sectors, especially industries, IT, food processing and packaging, will also restore the confidence of other foreign investors to make investment in Pakistan.
We must understand that without substantially increasing the flow of foreign investment in the country, we cannot address our longstanding economic issues and tread the path of self-reliance.