ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday launched the `Roshan Apna Ghar’ scheme for non-resident Pakistanis who can purchase or obtain financing for a house in the country through Roshan Digital Account and termed the initiative a “game changer” to meet the current account deficit.
“The new initiative will attract a lot of money because Pakistan needs dollars and overseas Pakistanis are the only source to decrease the gap between the country’s exports and imports,” the prime minister said while launching the scheme.
He said the government was introducing reforms and giving incentives to attract investment of overseas Pakistanis.
“Nine million overseas Pakistanis had as much money as the total GDP of Pakistan,” he said.
“Pakistan could greatly benefit from investment potential of the expatriate community and from their technical skills, professionalism and expertise as since my cricketing days I have had interaction with overseas Pakistanis who are the biggest asset of the country but their potential has not been fully utilised,” the prime minister said.
The government in the past, he said, did not focus on the welfare of these Pakistanis. “But we have to create an environment and give incentives so that top professionals return to Pakistan,” he added.
Mr Khan said that corruption was the biggest hurdle in attracting investment of overseas Pakistanis in the country.
Overseas Pakistanis can purchase or obtain financing for a house through RDA
The prime minister said that overseas Pakistanis wanted to build their homes in Pakistan but land mafia was a nuisance for them as it illegally occupied their plots of land.
Under the Roshan Apna Ghar scheme, he said banks would be giving guarantees for plots purchased by overseas Pakistanis.
He expressed the hope that the current account deficit gap would be filled by investment of overseas Pakistanis.
The prime minister noted that Pakistan had substantially improved its ranking among countries in the area of ease of doing businesses.
He said that sustainable economic growth would be achieved with the money invested by expatriates.
“We are reforming the system to bring investment of overseas Pakistanis.”
The prime minister gave away awards to top three performing banks -- Bank Alfalah, Habib Bank and Meezan Bank -- for attracting investment of overseas Pakistanis.
Speaking at the ceremony, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said that State Bank of Pakistan, particularly its Governor Raza Baqir, had shown great leadership to ensure success of Roshan Digital Account which had attracted $2 billion from overseas Pakistanis.
“The use of technology to bring all banks under one platform was the biggest challenge in the execution of RDA,” he added.
The finance minister said that multiple schemes had been launched for overseas Pakistanis, but the Roshan Apna Ghar scheme would prove to be a game changer and it would help tap remittances.
Speaking on the occasion, State Bank Governor Raza Baqir said that three banks had shown excellent performance for increasing RDA deposits from $1 billion to $2 billion.
He said the Roshan Apna Ghar scheme would connect overseas Pakistanis and address almost all issues faced by them regarding real estate investment in Pakistan.
Highlighting contours of the scheme, the SBP governor said it would include tax deduction at source, fixed tax rate and standard rates for loans.
Mr Baqir said the expatriates would be free to either invest in the projects of their choice or those supported by the banks which would obviously give overseas Pakistanis a sense of security for their investment.
In a separate meeting of the National Export Development Board the prime minister stressed the need for encouraging rice exporters so that Pakistan got its maximum share in the international market.
The meeting was told that with vast prospects of improvement in rice exports sector, the current $2 billion target of rice exports could be boost up to $5 billion by increasing the per acre production of the commodity through laser levelling of land and adopting modern means of cultivation and harvesting.
The prime minister directed to put special focus on the production of organic and brown rice and encourage the people for its use so that the increasing trend of sugar disease in the country could be checked.
PM meets lawmakers
Earlier, lawmakers Amir Mahmood Kiyani, Nasrullah Dareshak, Rai Muhammad Iqbal, Samsam Bukhari, Husain Bahadur Dareshak and former MPAs Ali Raza Dareshak and Rai Zahid called on PM.
Special Assistant to PM Malik Amir Dogar was also present in the meeting during which political situation as well as problems of the masses in the constituencies concerned were discussed.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ticket holders from Bahawalnagar also met the prime minister and discussed political situation in Bahawalnagar and peoples’ problems.
Those who met the PM included Shaukat Mahmood Basra, Mumtaz Ahmad Matiana, Malik Muzaffar, Abdullah Venas, Ehtasham Lalika, Nadeem Shah, Mian Fayaz Sikandar Bhudairam and Shahid Imran Teja.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2021