PRIME Minister Imran Khan on Thursday stressed the need to incentivize and provide VIP treatment to overseas Pakistanis as they sent remittances to the country.
He was addressing the launching ceremony of the Sohni Dharti Remittance Programme (SDRP), which will award points to overseas Pakistanis for sending remittances through the legal channels.
For the first time in many years, the overseas Pakistanis are getting the right attention from the Government, which is determined to optimally exploit this precious source of foreign exchange.
The present Government deserves credit for coming out with several initiatives aimed at giving incentives to overseas Pakistanis to send their money back home through official channels and these have started paying dividends as the remittances are picking up at a satisfactory pace, providing much needed support to the economy at a time when the authorities were forced to accept harsh conditions for a few hundred million dollars from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Apart from extending them all possible facilities to send money through banking channels, the Government recently got approved a landmark legislation from the parliament allowing right of vote to them and hopefully they would be an active stakeholder in the next general election.
The Prime Minister also declared the intention of the government to provide relief in taxes to overseas Pakistanis besides telling them that they could now buy houses and invest in real estate through the Roshan Digital Initiative which is also a resounding success.
It may also be pointed out that the reward programme is also important in that previously only banks were rewarded for attracting remittances but now individuals would be able benefit by scoring points.
This is expected to generate a healthy competition which might result in significant increase in home remittances by overseas Pakistanis.
Governor State Bank Reza Baqir rightly pointed out that SDRP is another step towards digitalization and financial inclusion that would play a significant role in the digital on-boarding of overseas Pakistanis and their beneficiaries in Pakistan.
The overseas Pakistanis are, no doubt, contributing a lot to the national economy but experts argue that we are not utilizing the precious money sent by them for increasing productivity or on projects that could ultimately help the country stand on its own feet economically.