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PM acknowledging Roshan’s digital accounts reach $ 500 million

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I want to thank our Pakistanis overseas for responding so warmly to SBP #RoshanDigitalAccounts. 87,833 accounts opened in 97 countries around the world. $ 500 million sent to Pakistan in just 5 months. Momentum continues to increase with $ 243 million coming in in the past 6 weeks alone, PM Khan tweeted.

I want to thank our Pakistanis overseas for responding so warmly to SBP #RoshanDigitalAccounts. 87,833 accounts opened in 97 countries around the world. $ 500 million sent to Pakistan in just 5 months. Momentum continues to increase with $ 243 million coming in in the last 6 weeks alone – Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 16, 2021

One of the original promises of Imran Khan’s political campaign was to bring Pakistani overseas investments to Pakistan, as can be seen in an official tweet from PTI below, posted in 2014.

Pakistanis overseas will invest in Pakistan as much as Pakistanis will not have to travel abroad to find work. IK at # AzadiSquare— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 29, 2014

Thus, since coming to power, the Prime Minister has been working on it. On September 10, 2020, Imran Khan inaugurated Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA), a joint initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan and the government.

The GDR is an incentive for Non-Resident Pakistanis (PNR) to invest in Pakistan, as higher returns on capital are offered compared to foreign banks. Higher yields attract larger capital inflows, as evidenced by the success of the GDR.

Commercial banks also see it as an opportunity to join this program as it is a positive step towards improving the country’s balance of payments, which could lead to less dependence on external loans.

As of the end of January, more than $ 300 million had been invested in Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs), comparable to US Treasuries but offering higher yields (as shown below, source: SBP). This means that of the $ 500 million that Imran Khan mentioned in his tweet, $ 300 million is paid as an investment and the rest as cash transfers.

The GDR is also an attempt by the government to regulate remittances that were previously sent through informal means like hundi / hawala. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, travel has been limited, prompting people to use formal channels like RDA.

Read more: Remittances surpass $ 2 billion for 8th consecutive month

Convenience for non-resident RDA holders

As another incentive for RDA holders, SBP announced on Tuesday, the taxation process has been streamlined and hassle-free.

Based on diaspora feedback and SBP recommendations, the federal government introduced several changes to the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 through the Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 in order to simplify the tax regime for RNPs that maintain the RDA, SBP said.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, this amendment means that PNRs will not have to file returns on the income they have earned from RDAs.

In addition, the tax will not be levied on RDAs holding PNRs when withdrawing cash and making bank transfers as is the case for non-filers.

Profit made on GDR deposit debt is tax exempt, however, the NPC profit tax rate is 10% for PNRs and resident Pakistanis reporting overseas assets. It is 15% on dividends received from mutual funds and companies (except independent power producers and tax-exempt companies, which are taxed at 7.5% and 25% respectively).

Read more: IT sector remittances increase 38.16% to $ 648.940 million

Under the new amendment, profit on stocks and mutual funds is also taxed at 15pc, the same rate that is applicable to filers. In addition, at the time of the purchase and sale of real estate, a tax of 1% of the value of the asset will be payable by the PNR which will be the only tax paid by the PNR on capital gains. On real estate investments made through RDAs.

These amendments will encourage Pakistanis abroad to invest in Pakistan rather than overseas, helping Pakistan and simultaneously achieving superior returns.

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