ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved incentives to create favourable conditions for overseas Pakistanis to send in remittances through legal banking channels.

According to the media cell of the Prime Minister Office, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and authorised banks have been allowed to implement Business to Customer (B2C) and Customer to Business (C2B) transactions through foreign correspondent entities under their existing home remittance agency arrangements.

Under B2C, freelance and information systems services are allowed transaction of up to $1,500 per individual per month. Transaction services other than computer and information services are also allowed to transact up to $1,500 per individual per month. Also, pensioners can now receive up to Rs250,000 per individual per month.

Under C2B, direct payments from overseas Pakistanis abroad can be received to pay for utility bills, education fees of institutions (accredited by the Higher Education Commission), superstores, insurance companies, credit card payments, etc. Remittances received by reputed real estate builders/developers and housing societies from overseas Pakistanis on account of purchase of property such as residential and commercial houses, plots, flats, building, etc, are also allowed, except remittances for equity/participation in an enterprise.

The prime minister also approved an incentive payment by the government on mobile wallet use to the tune of Rs2 on each transaction of $1 remittance as airtime that was previously Re1.

Exchange companies and authorised dealers i.e. banks that bring in 15 per cent more remittances than the prior financial year will also have an incentive of Rs1 against each dollar incremental remittance transaction. These incentives will have a significant impact on increased remittances.

The prime minister hoped that by taking these measures the government would be able to increase remittance flows from $20 billion to at least $30bn per annum and perhaps even $40bn — through proper banking channels.

A survey will also be conducted to get feedback from overseas Pakistanis, particularly workers in the Middle East, about how to further facilitate them in the process of sending remittances to the country.

The prime minister said he believed overseas Pakistanis were the country’s greatest assets and that the government would facilitate them in every respect. He directed the ministries/departments concerned to work out further incentives as well.

The meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Media Iftikhar Durrani, SBP Governor Tariq Bajwa and others senior government officers.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2018

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