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November 28, 2019

Govt prepares new incentives to boost documented remittances


November 28, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The government is drafting a set of fresh incentives, including tax free import of a luxury vehicle, for expatriate workers to attract more foreign remittances through legal channels, it said on Wednesday.

The statement said the commerce division has been requested to give their opinion on allowing overseas Pakistanis, who remit $100,000 to Pakistan in two years' time, to bring one hybrid vehicle up to 3,000cc without any duty.

The proposed incentives, the statement said will also discourage hundi/hawala culture and encourage transaction of remittances through banking/legal channels.

“It has been proposed that holders of Foreign Exchange Remittance Card, remitting $100,000 over a period of two years, be allowed to bring one hybrid car up to 3000cc duty-free into the country,” the statement said.

“The ministry of Overseas Pakistan has proposed a major reward for overseas Pakistanis in recognition of their services for the country and for their enduring convenience abroad.”

The statement said the ministry was currently in the process of developing a list of major concessions and privileges to be given to expatriates for which all stakeholders and various departments had been requested to offer their concessional proposals.

The ministry has sent the proposal to Commerce Division for their opinion, while the latter has proposed sending the same to the Ministry of Industry and Production/Engineering Development Board (EDB) to obtain their opinion.

These departments had been requested to submit their comments on the proposal as soon as possible so that Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis could prepare this list within a stipulated time as advised by the Prime Minister’s office.

Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development said the ministry has proposed to reward Pakistani, using banking channels to send money back home, for their contribution to the national exchequer. “… in time we can kill the menace of hundi/hawala” tweeted Bukhari.

Remittances from Pakistani workers abroad edged 1.82 percent down to $7.478 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year. The inflows stood at $7.617 billion in the same period of last year. Analysts attributed this decline to a slowdown in the major source countries.

The State Bank of Pakistan, in its last annual report 19, expects workers’ remittances to remain robust in FY20 on the back of measures taken and incentives given to overseas Pakistanis remitting under Pakistan Remittance Initiative.

The central bank reported Pakistan ranked 8th in terms of absolute remittance inflows during 2018, and in terms of growth, Pakistan’s position improved to 8th from 18th last year.

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