ISLAMABAD: The government announced several reforms on Thursday in multiple public sectors like customs, banking, overseas Pakistanis, information technology, health and social welfare to ensure smooth service delivery.

The reforms — announced by Head of Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms Salman Sufi in a press conference — allow Pakistanis travelling abroad to return with duty-free baggage of up to $1,200, besides ensuring swift enlistment of small enterprises with SECP, security of women in trains, two-wheelers transportation facility for women and curbing the issue of bogus cheques in private transactions.

Moreover, cruelty to animals will now be a punishable offence and the offender could be jailed.

Mr Sufi told reporters FBR had notified new rules to settle the personal baggage limit of international travellers arriving in Pakistan, under which their personal luggage would be duty-free. Pakistanis returning home within 30 days, 60 days and onward could carry duty-free baggage worth up to $400, $800 and $1200, respectively.

Pakistanis returning home can carry duty-free baggage of up to $1,200

As for banking sector reforms, he said a portal launched by the SECP would facilitate banks for online ope­ning of fast-track accounts of small and medium enterprises without the need for typical documentation work.

Similarly, digital freelancers engaged in exporting software would now be able to open their bank accounts through their computerised national identity cards and the postal address mentioned on them would be treated as their official address.

To prevent bogus cheques, the State Bank of Pakistan would launch an app to provide details of account holders showing whether their cheques have ever bounced or dishonoured.

Another banking reform would enable an existing account holder of a bank to open more accounts with other banks without indulging in the process that they had to go through the first time.

In another measure, an online Directorate of Protectorate was being launched to facilitate emigrants, following which there was no need for them to visit the directorate concerned in person as all documents would be processed online, including the electronic stamp that would be verified by the immigration staff of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) at airports.

Commenting on the measures taken in the social services, he said an online application was being launched within a month to help citizens facing physiological issues due to any reason. Moreover, a nationwide hotline was being launched in collaboration with the human rights ministry to register and resolve transgender people’s complaints in an effective manner.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2022

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