RDA benefits

Published March 15, 2021

OVERSEAS Pakistani workers have shown a tremendous interest in the Roshan Digital Account initiative of the State Bank. Pakistanis living and working in 100 countries across the world have so far opened 100,000 accounts to transfer a total sum of $671m back to the country of their origin in almost six months after the initiative was launched by the prime minister. Half of these deposits are said to have been shifted to local banks in the last two months as more non-resident Pakistanis learn about the scheme. The market expects the number of accounts to grow further and RDA deposits to jump to $1bn before the end of the current fiscal on June 30 and to $1.5bn-$2bn by end December, shoring up the country’s weak foreign exchange reserves. Lucrative interest rates compared with the nearly 0pc return they are getting in their host countries as well as the ease of moving their money into and out of Pakistan by clicking on their mobile devices whenever they need to is believed to have contributed significantly to the success of the initiative. In addition, the facility to non-resident Pakistanis to invest in property, government debt papers and the stock market, and to pay online tuition fee or utility bills through their digital accounts must have also served as a huge attraction.

By way of example, non-resident citizens of India as well as China have had a crucial role to play in the economic progress of their home country. They have not only helped by remitting their savings for investments but have also played an important role in changing the world’s perception of their countries, resulting in the inflow of massive foreign direct investment. Overseas Pakistani workers have also been doing much to help their country by contributing to the stability of the nation’s external account via large remittances that are equal to our annual exports. It is regrettable though that it is only now that the government and the central bank have taken steps to facilitate them in moving their savings back home. It is hoped that the success of these digital accounts will encourage the central bank to come up with more initiatives to persuade overseas Pakistanis to invest in the manufacturing industry and other productive segments of the economy in order to enhance growth, create jobs and make up for the drying foreign investment.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2021

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