Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday asked his economic team to focus on helping Pakistanis living abroad send funds to the country through banking channels and incentivize them.
“About nine million Pakistanis overseas are the country’s trump card,” the prime minister said at a ceremony to launch the “Sohni Dharti Remittance Program (SDRP)” – an initiative to encourage use of formal channels.
He said overseas Pakistanis should be treated as VIPs like the country and have a mutually beneficial relationship.
The prime minister said overseas Pakistanis are a huge contributor to the country’s economy.
“The government appreciates their role in bridging the gap between the country’s exports and imports. “
Prime Minister Imran added that the government was working on a plan to also give tax breaks to Pakistanis overseas.
SDRP is a points-based loyalty program in which senders and their recipients will accumulate reward points by sending remittances through formal channels (SBP regulated entities) and redeem those points by participating in industry entities. public (ESP) using their services for free. load.
A mobile app, in English and Urdu, for iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) is available for senders to download for registration purposes and later for redemption of points in PSEs.
A sender can also add a beneficiary relationship and can transfer reward points to it.
A centralized back-end system is developed and managed by 1-LINK.
The prime minister said the government introduced another program – Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) – whereby overseas Pakistanis could buy homes and invest in real estate in their home country of safe and transparent way.
“Investing in real estate through the RDA will be safe as the relevant banks will check and verify the legal details of the housing company so that overseas Pakistanis can be protected from fraud. “
Prime Minister Imran noted that 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.
“Although the country will achieve the highest exports this year, but other corresponding economies [until the 1960s] like singapore now [with around $200 billion) and Malaysia [with around $300 billion] are far ahead of us in terms of annual exports.
The Prime Minister noted that with the growth of the Pakistani economy and the increase in 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 have to approach the IMF [International Monitory Fund],” he added.
He said the only way out of this “vicious circle” was to increase exports and boost the industry, which had been “stagnant for many years”.
Speaking on the occasion, financial adviser Shaukat Tarin said that previous banks were rewarded for sending remittances into the country, but for the first time Pakistanis abroad would receive benefits by scoring points in the request.
State Bank Governor Reza Baqir said that after the success of the GDR, the launch of SDRP by the central bank would help ordinary or less educated foreign Pakistanis send their remittances by registering on the application, which required minimal information, including details of their identity. cards and passports.
In addition, the Prime Minister, while chairing a meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development, asked the authorities concerned to take urgent measures to increase the country’s green coverage through reforestation on encroached land.
He described reclaiming forest lands from land grabbers and invaders as the government’s priority.
Prime Minister Imran observed that it was essential to curb unauthorized use of land and restrict the horizontal sprawl of housing companies.
“Such measures will ensure food security and facilitate the provision of better civic amenities like water and sewage,” he added.
The Prime Minister ordered the authorities concerned to share the results of the cadastral survey with the provinces and this should be followed by swift action to recover public property.
The Prime Minister also met the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Khalid Khurshid, and discussed issues relating to ongoing development projects in the region.
PM Imran has been informed that work is in full swing to provide international standard facilities to tourist spots in Britain.
The two leaders also discussed issues relating to the displacement of the population due to the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam and energy policy.
(With APP input)
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