Remittance processing time improves: survey

Published June 16, 2021
Nine of every 10 respondents said in the latest survey that the SBP was now “proactively engaged with stakeholders”. — AFP/File
Nine of every 10 respondents said in the latest survey that the SBP was now “proactively engaged with stakeholders”. — AFP/File

KARACHI: An overwhelming majority of foreign investors recently surveyed by the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has reported a significant improvement in the foreign exchange remittance processing time.

OICCI on Tuesday announced results of its annual remittance survey conducted among its members last month, 94 per cent respondents reported dividend remittances were now being approved by the central bank within three months of applications. The share of respondents reporting this level of processing time was 72pc in the preceding survey conducted in 2019.

OICCI initiated this survey in 2018 after foreign investors raised concerns about the delays in remittances to their headquarters and suppliers. But nine of every 10 respondents said in the latest survey that the SBP was now “proactively engaged with stakeholders”.

About 90pc respondents indicated that the technical fee was also being remitted within three months versus 47pc in the last survey. Likewise, 67pc respondents reported a similar timeline for royalty remittances as opposed to only 28pc in the last survey.

Foreign investors recommended that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) should give more autonomy to authorised dealers in making routine remittances and allow the hedging of major foreign exchange payments like dividends, royalty and technical fees. The SBP should further simplify its foreign exchange manual by making it sector-wise.

OICCI President Irfan Siddiqui appreciated the SBP’s modernisation initiative, which enabled over two-thirds of the respondents to track their remittance application online.

Over 200 members of OICCI belong to 35 countries and have collectively been contributing one-third of the country’s tax revenue for many years.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2021

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