ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that the country’s trade deficit was the fundamental constraint for the government to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Although our exports are increasing, they are still lower than our imports. This causes pressure on our rupee, devaluation of our currency and inflation, the prime minister said at the launching ceremony of the Sohni Dharti Remittance Program (SDRP), aimed at encouraging the use of channels formalities for remittances.
Although Pakistan would achieve the highest exports this year, other equivalent economies until the 1960s such as Singapore (now around $ 200 billion) and Malaysia (around $ 300 billion) were far ahead of the country. in terms of annual exports, he noted.
The prime minister said Pakistan has so far approached the IMF for financial support 20 times.
Launch of a program to encourage the use of formal channels for remittances
Mr Khan said that with the growing Pakistani economy and increasing imports, there was pressure on the current account. When the pressure comes on the current account, it also puts pressure on the rupee and we need to get closer to the IMF, he added.
Mr Khan called nine million Pakistanis overseas the country’s trump card and urged his economic team to focus on the incentives and facilitation for sending remittances and investing in the country through banking channels for a win-win situation.
He said overseas Pakistanis should be treated like VIPs, as enticing and facilitating them would benefit the country.
The Sohni Dharti Remittance Program is a points-based loyalty program where senders and their recipients will accumulate reward points by sending funds through formal channels (entities regulated by the State Bank) and redeem these points with participating public sector entities (PSEs) using their services free of charge.
A mobile app, in English and Urdu, for iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) is available for senders to download for registration and later for redeeming points at PSEs.
A sender can add a beneficiary parent and can transfer reward points to them for use. A centralized back-end system is developed and managed by 1-LINK.
The prime minister said the government will launch another program where overseas Pakistanis can buy homes and invest in real estate in their home countries through Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) in a safe manner. and transparent.
He said the banks would check and verify the legal details of the housing company so that overseas Pakistanis can be protected from fraud.
The prime minister ordered the planning division to offer tax incentives to overseas Pakistanis for their real estate investments.
According to the criteria of the Sohni Dharti remittance program, the green box sender will be allocated one percent of a maximum annual amount of $ 10,000, 1.25 pc for the Gold category sending $ 10,001 to $ 30,000 and 1.5 pc for the Platinum category sending an annual payment of more than $ 30,000.
Public sector entities would offer special services to authorized shippers, including on intentional PIA plane tickets, payment for additional baggage, payment of cell phone taxes, vehicle purchase, vehicle taxes imported, renewal of CNIC / NICOP, insurance premium, OPF school fees and purchases from a utility store.
In addition, the cash refund option is also being developed.
Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan, which led countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia in terms of exports in the 1960s, now lags behind due to past neglect and trade deficit issues. and current.
However, he noted with satisfaction that with the growth of the large-scale manufacturing sector during the Covid-19 pandemic remaining on a positive trajectory, the increase in remittances from overseas Pakistanis had helped fill the gap. current account gap.
He said that with efforts to improve foreign direct investment as well, Pakistan’s remittances abroad have been of great support in this difficult time.
State Bank Governor Reza Baqir said that after the success of the GDR, the launch of the SDRP app by the central bank would help ordinary or less educated foreign Pakistanis send their remittances to safety. registering on the SDRP app, which required minimal information, including details. their identity cards and passports.
He said the State Bank, under Prime Minister Khan’s vision, had also started a loan program for the purchase of 5 and 10 Marla houses. While requests for loans of Rs 236 billion had been received so far, a loan of Rs 90 billion had been approved and Rs 25 billion disbursed, he added.
PM meets GB CM
Later, the Prime Minister met with Gilgit Baltistan Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid and discussed issues relating to ongoing development projects in the region.
The Prime Minister was informed that the works are in full swing to provide world-class facilities to the tourist points of Gilgit Baltistan.
The meeting also discussed issues relating to the displacement of people due to the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam and energy policy.
Retired Wapda chairman Lt. Gen. Muzammil Hussain also called the prime minister and briefed him on the progress of the wok on the major dams.
Meanwhile, calling the talent of Pakistani youth unprecedented, Prime Minister Khan said international companies are welcome to establish their businesses in the country.
He expressed these views in a meeting with Kaan Terzioglu, CEO of Veon Group, a multinational telecommunications services company, the prime minister’s office said.
The prime minister said Pakistani youth could greatly benefit from major international IT and telecommunications companies. He emphasized the transfer of technology and the training of young people.
Posted in Dawn, le 26 November 2021
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