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Pakistan to get up to $1.5B investments through Roshan Digital Accounts

Muzaffar Rizvi/Dubai
Filed on March 13, 2021
The Roshan Digital Account programme is helping overseas Pakistanis support their families back home while also saving wherever they are.

Programme pegged to be third major source of foreign currency inflows into country after rising remittances, steady exports

Pakistan is expected to receive up to $1.5 billion foreign currency inflows through the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) programme this year as overseas Pakistanis pose trust in the central bank’s initiative, experts say.

The RDA, a State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) initiative to ease remittances and offer investment opportunities in the country, is gaining momentum among overseas Pakistanis, with over 100,000 accounts signed so far since its launch in September last year.

“Roshan Digital Account has just crossed 100,000 accounts. They have been opened from 100 countries around the world. Deposits have reached $671 million, with half of these coming in the last 8 weeks alone,” the SBP tweeted.

According to the central bank, the growing popularity of accounts among non-resident Pakistanis across the globe indicates the increasing reach of the RDA and helping the government and the SBP improve external account of the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the RDA service on September 10, 2020. It is a joint effort of the SBP and the federal government in collaboration with eight commercial banks operating in Pakistan. Later, more banks have joined the initiative to facilitate the overseas Pakistani community.

The major objective of the RDA is to attract millions of Pakistanis living abroad by offering much higher returns on deposits than those in developed economies. The initiative helped overseas to remotely open bank accounts in Pakistan through online digital portals without physically visiting branches.

“The account offers digital banking facilities, domestic funds transfer, utility bills and tuition fee payment in Pakistan, as well as investments in government bills, stock exchange and real estate with an option of full repatriation,” Hamid Ali, a senior banker, told Khaleej Times.

He said the RDA is going to be third major source of foreign currency inflows into the country after rising remittances and steady exports.

“Most of the RDA inflows are credited to Naya Pakistan Certificates, which offer up to seven per cent profit in dollar accounts and 11 per cent per annum in local currency, if the investment is made for five years,” Ali said.

“With the current account surplus and 24 per cent increase in remittances, over nine million overseas Pakistanis are confident about the country’s economic future and they are likely to open more RDA accounts and invest in Naya Pakistan Certificates,” he added.

Experts said the country may receive a sizeable investment through the RDA if inflows continued with the current pace.

“I’m confident the country will cross $1 billion investment through the RDA by June and another $500 million will be added by December. The RDA is likely to receive up to $1.5 billion investment from overseas Pakistanis this year,” Samiullah Tariq, head of research at Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company, told Khaleej Times on Saturday.

To a question, he said the RDA is getting popularity among non-resident Pakistanis due to multiple reasons.

“This initiative offers ease of payment facility for utilities bills, school fees, local transfer of accounts and better returns on Naya Pakistan Certificates. These are some of the basic facilities overseas Pakistanis are looking for to help out their families while working abroad and at the same time saving some money for their future as well,” Tariq added.

— muzaffarizvi@khaleejtimes.com





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