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February 17, 2021

Roshan digital accounts receive $500mln in five months

Business

February 17, 2021

KARACHI: Roshan Digital Accounts (RDAs) have received $500 million inflows from non-resident Pakistanis (NRPs) in five months with the number of accounts having reached 87,833, Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday.

“I want to thank our overseas Pakistanis for responding so strongly to SBP’s Roshan digital accounts. 87,833 accounts opened from 97 countries around the world. $500 million sent to Pakistan in just 5 months. Momentum continues to rise with $243 million coming in the last 6 weeks alone,” Khan wrote on Twitter.

The government also announced a new simplified and convenient tax regime for RDAs, according the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

“Based on feedback from the diaspora and recommendations from SBP, the federal government has introduced several amendments in the Income Tax Ordinance 2001 through Tax Laws (amendment) Ordinance 2021 to make the taxation regime simple, convenient and hassle-free for NRPs maintaining RDAs,” the SBP said in a statement.

The amendments simplify and reduce the tax compliance cost for the NRPs maintaining RDAs. While the NRPs investing in Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs) through their RDAs were already under the full and final taxation regime, the amendments have extended the coverage of full and final taxation regime to dividends and capital gains on shares and mutual fund investments made through RDAs, and capital gains on real estate investments made through RDAs.

NRPs will not need to file tax returns against their income derived from investment made through RDAs under the above heads.

“With this removal of returns filing requirements, NRPs having RDAs have also been insulated from penalties (doubling of tax rate) due to their absence from the active taxpayer’s list.

Further, NRPs with RDAs will not be subject to tax on cash withdrawals and bank transfers that are applicable on non-filers,” said the SBP.

While the profit on debt on RDA deposits is tax exempt, the tax rate on profits on NPCs is 10 percent for both NRPs and resident Pakistanis having declared assets abroad, and 15 percent on dividends received from mutual funds and companies (except tax exempt companies, which are taxed at 7.5 percent and 25 percent respectively).

The capital gains on shares and mutual funds are also taxed at 15 percent, the same rate that is applicable on filers. In addition, a tax of 1 percent of the value of the purchase/sale will be payable by the NRPs both at the time of purchase and sale of real estate, which will be the full and final discharge of tax liability of NRPs against capital gains on real estate investments made through RDAs.

“The simplification of the taxation regime is likely to give a further boost to the Roshan digital account scheme, which has already attracted considerable inflows from NRPs in the five months since it was launched,” said the SBP.

“The RDA is a flagship initiative of State Bank aimed at connecting overseas Pakistanis with Pakistan’s banking and payment system. Looking ahead, the SBP will continue its efforts towards making the policy, regulatory, business and taxation environment around RDA investor friendly.”

RDA, launched in September last year, provides innovative banking solutions to millions of NRPs and resident Pakistanis with declared offshore assets, who need secure and convenient facility to undertake banking-payments, fund-transfers and investment activities in Pakistan, remotely, from abroad.

Remittances from overseas Pakistani workers rose 24 percent to $16.5 billion in seven months of the current fiscal year. Remittance flows amounted to $2.3 billion in January, up 19 from a year earlier.