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December 11, 2017

Pak expats to be bound to have bank accounts in Pakistan

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December 11, 2017

DUBAI: Pakistan’s money monitoring authority State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has clearly vowed to make mandatory for Pakistanis living abroad to open bank accounts back home to transfer money legally. It is expected that the move would be helpful to curb illegal transfer of money and frauds. Executive Director State Bank of Pakistan Syed Irfan Ali was speaking to the media after the first Pakistan’s Remittance Summit 2017 held at a local hotel in Dubai on Friday. He also believed that the country can get $30billion every year through foreign remittances if the challenges faced by banks and money transfer exchanges were eradicated.

The summit was organised by Pakistan Finance Ministry and State Bank of Pakistan in collaboration with National Bank of Pakistan, Allied Bank Limited, MCB Bank Limited and United Bank Limited.

Pakistan had experienced downward trend in remittances last year and received $19.3 billion remittances but now once again the country’s foreign remittances have been going up as compared to the previous fiscal year.

While talking to media, Executive Director State Bank of Pakistan Syed Irfan Ali further stated that currently remittances are 6 percent of Pakistan’s GDP but he expressed hope that it should be increased to strengthen the economy.

He acknowledged the de-risking and ‘Hundi’ (illegal transfer of money) were the major obstacles to boost up the remittances. He also revealed the plans of mandatory bank accounts for Pakistanis going abroad for jobs and better incentives for the bank account holders who receive remittances so the Pakistanis living outside the homeland could remit foreign exchange through banking sectors.

Replying to a question asked by The News about the Value Added Tax’s (VAT) impact on remittances, Syed Irfan Ali welcomed the VAT that is being introduced in the UAE and Saudi Arabia from January 1 and hoped that it would increase remittances through banking mode of money transfer. He also disclosed that the Pakistan Remittance Summit will be held in Riyadh and Jeddah next month.

The summit will be attended by senior officials of the Foreign Exchange institutions as well as executives from banking industry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

While, SEVP & Group Chief, Payment Services & Digital Banking Group of National Bank of Pakistan Mudassir H. Khan informed the participants of the summit that 50 percent of total remittances of Pakistan were to be received from Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Talking with The News, he said that Pakistan has witnessed more than 12 percent growth of remittances in the past 10 years which is the highest around the globe. Referring to Anti-Money Laundering regulations and heavy penalties on Foreign Exchange institutions, he said that the banks, internationally, have been facing the challenges of fear and risk of penalties.

The purpose of the summit was to find the solutions of challenges and overcome the problems to increase the remittances to Pakistan.

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