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ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Friday that foreign remittances from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman declined after labour reforms were introduced in these countries.

In response to a question from Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani about reduction in the flow of foreign exchange from these countries in the last three years, Minister for Finance Asad Umar said remittances from Saudi Arabia declined by 9.50pc, Bahrain by 1.64pc and Oman by 12.05pc. The reforms have already affected Pakistanis living in these countries.

Mr Omar said compared to 2017 remittances from all Gulf countries registered a growth in 2018.

The inflow of foreign exchange grew by roughly 3.87pc from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 2.11pc from Kuwait and about 0.96pc from Qatar.

Similarly, remittances from both the USA and UK also grew by 12.03pc and 22.45pc respectively in 2018 against last year.

In response to a question by Senator Azam Khan Swati regarding the number of taxpayers, the minister said there were 1.6 million registered taxpayers.

The amount collected as income tax during the last four years increased from Rs879.35bn in 2014-15 to Rs1,315.97bn in 2017-18.

To a question from Senator Chaudhry Tanvir Khan, Mr Omar told the house that $69.174bn foreign loans were obtained by Pakistan from 2008 to 2018.

He said an amount of $47.08bn foreign debt was repaid during the same period.

The government obtained foreign loans amounting to $42.1bn from July 1, 2013, to March 31, 2018, while repayments were recorded at around $20bn during the period.

Besides, the total amount of foreign financial assistance loans and grants received (disbursed) from countries and organisations and distributed among the affected by floods from June 1, 2013, to May 31, 2018, was $446.89 million, comprising $2.50 million grants and $444.39 million loans.

The assistance provided by countries such as China and Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank on bilateral and multilateral bases were utilised for rehabilitation and reconstruction in the flood affected areas, the minister said in response to a question from Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Sheikh.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018