-Terms overseas Pakistanis as country’s ‘biggest asset’
-Expresses appreciation over growing remittances
-Says foreign remittances witnessed record high level, crossing the $1 billion mark
By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai
Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday terming the nine million overseas Pakistanis the country’s “biggest asset” said their remittances had kept afloat the national economy.
“By the time we achieve the required volume of exports, the remittances by overseas Pakistanis is the only way to keep our economy moving,” he said in his address at the launch of digital incentives for expatriates, including Roshan Apni Car (car finance) and Roshan Samaji Khidmat (charity).
Imran Khan said to tap the potential of overseas Pakistanis, the government was keen to maximum facilitate them through simplified online procedures of investments. He mentioned that the country’s foreign remittances witnessed a record high level during last year, crossing the $1 billion mark.
“However, this is just the tip of the iceberg as immense possibilities lie ahead if more overseas Pakistanis divert resources towards the promising projects including the construction sector,” he said.
The prime minister lauded the efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan and the private banks for supporting the government’s initiatives aimed at facilitating the overseas Pakistanis. He regretted that the poor economic strategies of previous governments led to difficulties in the boom and bust cycle, which directly affected the life of the common man.
He said the current account deficit devalued the rupee that put a negative impact on foreign investment.
Imran Khan in particular acknowledged the services of labour class Pakistani nationals working abroad in tough conditions and sending their hard-earned money to their families back home.
He said these workers deserved utmost respect, however expressed displeasure that the embassies of the country were not facilitating them in difficult situations. It is the duty of foreign missions to extend the best possible services to Pakistani labourers and workers, he added.
The prime minister said he had ordered a full-scale inquiry of Pakistan’s ambassador in Saudi Arabia on multiple complaints of maltreatment with Pakistani nationals. Also, the maximum staff of the embassy has been recalled.
Following a high-powered investigation, he said, strict action would be taken against those held responsible for negligence.
President State Bank of Pakistan Dr Reza Baqir said under the newly launched Roshan Apni Car scheme, the overseas Pakistanis would be one click away to digitally purchase a car for their families and friends in Pakistan on reduced mark up and delivery time.
He said Roshan Samaji Khidmat would offer a simplified model for expatriates to send charity and donations to Pakistan, including to its flagship Ehsaas socio-welfare project.
He said the government was pursuing the goal of transforming the financial system of the country to facilitate the common man.
He said the focus will be laid on the training of bank staff to amicably deal with new digital projects, resolution of land title issues and promotion of Small and Medium Term Entreprises.
Earlier, the prime minister gave away awards to best performing banks for attracting the Roshan Pakistan customers. The Meezan Bank was given the first prize, while HBL, Bank Alfalah and Habib Metro Bank bagged the next three positions, respectively.