IN a bid to stimulate economic growth and bolster foreign exchange reserves, Finance Minister, Shamshad Akhtar, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative: the Home Remittance Incentives Scheme. This ambitious program, with a staggering budget of 80 billion rupees, aims to streamline the process of remittances from Pakistani citizens residing abroad.
One of the primary features of the scheme is the government’s commitment to cover telegraphic transfer fee for funds exceeding $100. This provision is revolutionary, as it empowers overseas Pakistanis to send money back home without incurring any additional costs. By eliminating transfer fee, this scheme not only eases the financial burden on remitters but also encourages them to send more money back to Pakistan, thus increasing the inflow of remittances. The involvement of banks in this scheme is another strategic move. To further motivate remitters, the Home Remittance Incentives Scheme introduces a rewards system known as “Sohni Dharti.” This innovative feature allows remitters to accumulate points which can later be redeemed for additional benefits. This rewards system not only recognizes and appreciates the contributions of overseas Pakistanis but also encourages more individuals to utilize the scheme, amplifying its impact. Crucially, this initiative aims to promote the use of legal channels for remittances. By holding lucky draws and offering incentives for those who send money through legitimate channels, the government is discouraging illegal and unregulated transactions. This not only safeguards the interests of remitters but also ensures that remittances contribute positively to Pakistan’s economy. The timing of this initiative is noteworthy, as it comes in response to a recent decline in remittances from foreign workers in Pakistan. In August 2023, remittances amounted to $2.1 billion, representing a 3.1% increase from the previous month but still a 24% decrease from the same period the previous year. The introduction of the Home Remittance Incentives Scheme is a strategic response to this decline, demonstrating the government’s commitment to reversing this trend and tapping into the full potential of remittances. As the government is striving to attract investment in different sectors, we will also suggest it to approach Pakistani Diaspora and extend to them the necessary incentives and facilitation for investment back in their homeland. This will really make a difference in changing the whole economic landscape of the country.