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Remittances to Pakistan to continue growing in coming years

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on January 18, 2020
Remittances to Pakistan to continue growing in coming years

(KT file)

Remittances from overseas Pakistanis are projected to maintain their upward trend in the coming years, rising nearly one-third in the next few years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its latest country report.

It forecast that workers remittances will jump from $19.91 billion (Dh73 billion) in the 2017-18 fiscal year to $21.56 billion in 2018-19 fiscal year, and $21.83 billion in 2019-20. It predicted $26.91 billion in remittances by workers by 2023-24.

Iqbal Dawood, president of the Pakistan Business Council in Dubai, said that remittances will increase if there is no major mishap or geopolitical tension in other countries where a lot of overseas Pakistanis have to go back. "I am quite sanguine about increase in remittances in the coming years," he said.

"Pakistanis seeking jobs abroad are on the rise. From global investment point of view also, Pakistan is an attractive destination for investments. Despite challenges there, it is one of the best destinations for investment. Growing population and lack of infrastructure offer great opportunities for investment there. Opportunities are huge and abound there," Dawood told Khaleej Times in an interview.

"If someone wants to do business in Pakistan sincerely and with commitment, the chances of success are pretty high. Foreign companies are attracted to it. Hence, chances are fairly strong that remittances will continue growing in coming years," PBC president said.

Overseas Pakistani workers remitted $11.4 billion in the first half (July to December 2019) of 2019-20 fiscal year compared with $11 billion received during the same period in the preceding year, showing a growth of 3.31 per cent. Remittances from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the USA and the UK reached $472.94 million, $427.56 million, $427.56 million and $357.45 million, respectively.

The latest figures from the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development showed that 563,000 Pakistanis went abroad for greener pastures in 2019 with UAE becoming remaining the most favourite destination. In 2018, 382,439 Pakistan went abroad for jobs.

More than eight million Pakistanis are living and working abroad, remitting billions of dollars every year. Export of skilled workforce can further increase remittances as most of the country's workforce going abroad are blue-collar workers or low-skilled workers.

In addition, Pakistan government is also working on a package to reward overseas Pakistanis who will use legal channels to send remittances, said Syed Zulfi Bukhari, special assistant to the prime minister for overseas Pakistanis and human resources development.

"In recognition of our overseas Pakistanis who use banking channels to send money back home, my ministry has proposed to reward them for their contribution to the national exchequer. I will be backing this initiative with full force so in time we can kill the menace of hundi/havala," Bukhari had said.

Irfan Afsar, former president of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Dubai chapter, said the most import factor will help grow remittances to Pakistan is stronger foreign policy and betters ties with the countries - especially GCC countries - where a large number of overseas Pakistanis are living and working.

"Our relationship with the Western countries is growing, hence it will directly impact tourism and more Pakistanis will be able to go abroad for work," he said.

On the other hand, he suggested that Pakistan needs to groom and train people going abroad for employment as they are representatives of the country.

- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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