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‘Assets’: PM Imran calls for incentivizing, facilitating overseas Pakistanis

PM for incentivizing Pakistani expatriates for a win-win situation. (Source: PID)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday termed overseas Pakistanis as the ‘country’s asset’ and directed his economic team to focus on incentivizing and facilitating them for sending remittances and investing in the country through banking channels for a win-win situation.

The premier made these remarks while addressing the launching ceremony of Sohni Dharti Remittance Programme for overseas Pakistanis in Islamabad to reward overseas Pakistanis points against the remittances they send through the legal channels.

“I urge the economic team to keep in mind that we have to incentivize our nine million Overseas Pakistanis and ensure ease of doing business so that that they send their remittances through banking channels,” he maintained.

The Prime Minister further directed that the Overseas Pakistanis should be treated as VIPs, because incentivizing and facilitating them besides benefitting the country will also benefit them.

“Pakistan, which was ahead of countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia in exports in 1960s, was now lagging behind due to past neglect and facing the issues of trade and current account deficits,” he pointed out.

He said that with Pakistan’s economy growing and imports increasing, there was pressure on current account. “When pressure comes on current account, it also puts pressure on rupee and we have to approach the International Monitory Fund,” he remarked.

PM Imran also said that the only way out of this vicious cycle was to enhance exports and boost industry, which has been stagnant for the last many years.

The premier, however, noted that with growth in Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) sector during the COVID-19 pandemic remaining on positive trajectory, enhanced remittances from Overseas Pakistanis helped bridge the gap in current account.

The Prime Minister appreciated the State Bank of Pakistan for its initiatives like RDA and SDRP for facilitating and incentivizing the Overseas Pakistanis for sending remittances through banking channels, adding, “But such initiatives should have been taken three years back.”

“Sohni Dharti Remittance Program”

According to APP, Sohni Dharti Remittance Program was a point-based loyalty program in which remitters and their beneficiaries will accumulate reward points by sending remittances through formal channels (SBP regulated entities) and will redeem those points at participating Public Sector Entities (PSEs) by availing their services, free of cost.

A mobile App, in English and Urdu, for iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) is available for remitters to download for the purpose of registration and later on for point redemption at PSEs.

Remitter can also add one beneficiary relationship and can transfer reward points to him/her for utilization. A centralized back-end system is developed and run by 1-LINK.

A per the criteria under Sohni Dharti Remittance Programme , Green category remitter will be awarded 1% of upto $10,000 annual remittance, 1.25% for Gold category sending from $10,001 to $30,000 and 1.5% for Platinum category sending annual remittances over $30,000.

The Public Sector Entities (PSEs) would offer special services for the entitled remitters including PIA on intentional air tickets, payment for extra luggage, FBR on mobile phone duty payment, purchase of vehicles, and duty on imported vehicles, NADRA on renewal of CNIC/NICOP, State Life on Insurance premium, OPF on school’s fee and Utility Stores on purchases.

The development of mobile App by 1-LINK has been completed with approved branding and logos that is available in English as well as Urdu languages on both android (Google)/ iOS (Apple) platforms. Further, the option of cash redemption is also being worked out.

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