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Pakistan’s digital drive to be a game changer

Rohma Sadaqat /Dubai
rohma@khaleejtimes.com Filed on April 21, 2021
Ahmed Shaikhani, president, PBC Dubai; Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan; Afzaal Mahmood, Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE; and Imran Chaudhry along with a guest at an event held in Dubai recently. — Supplied photo

‘Brand Pakistan’ will be officially launched by the end of May this year.

The growing wave of digitisation that has swept across Pakistan will be a game changer for many overseas Pakistanis, experts said.

Several initiatives that have been launched as part of this digitalisation drive, such as the Roshan Digital Account, are already bearing tangible results, while the upcoming introduction of many more, including a court to resolve land grabbing cases and a long-term national tourism strategy, will tackle key issues that overseas Pakistanis have been facing in recent years.

Launched by the central bank, in cooperation with eight banks of the country, the Roshan Digital Account are designed to attract more remittances in order to boost Pakistan’s foreign exchange re-serves. According to reports, remittances to Pakistan from the country’s diaspora stayed above $2 billion for the 10th consecutive month in March 2021, reaching $2.7 billion, up by 43 per cent when compared to same month last year. Cumulatively, remittances have risen to $21.5 billion during the July-March 2021 fiscal year, up by 26 per cent over the same period of 2020 fiscal year. The State Bank of Pakistan has credited the proactive policy measures by the government and the introduction of the Roshan Digital Accounts as contributing to the sustained rise in remittances.

Fast-track court

Another key issue that will soon be resolved for overseas Pakistanis is the introduction of a fast track court to identify and resolve land grabbing issues. Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari, special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said that these courts will soon be rolled out over the next few months, starting in Islamabad. Land grabbing disputes, which can drag on for years in a normal court, will be resolved in just a few weeks, Bukhari said. Another welcome news for many over-seas Pakistanis who wish to explore more of their home country during the holiday seasons, is the launch of a national tourism strategy and portal.

“We have recently finished with our 10-year tourism policy, as well as a 5-year tourism action plan. We have created an online portal for ‘Brand Pakistan’ which will be officially launched by the end of May this year. We want people to see Pakistan for what it is, and we want people to recognise Pakistan for all its natural beauty. We want them to look at Pakistan as an exotic destination,” said Bukhari.

Digitisation to drive economy

Ahmed Shaikhani, president of the Pakistan Business Council Dubai, also highlighted how digitisation has proven to be an effective tool for the growth of the country’s economy.

“The Roshan Digital account initiative is very unique and one of the game changers for the economy. This is the first time that the government has introduced a very easy remittance facility on such a large scale. The most important thing about this initiative is that it is not only for remittances, but can also be used as an investment tool for overseas Pakistanis for the short and long-term. This initiative is one of the main reasons why foreign remittances have increased to the country.”

He added: “The introduction of an online court system is also a very significant step to tackle the issues of land grabbing. Through this system, overseas Pakistanis can apply and register their problems online in a court, and a judge will hear the case, with a decision being reached in 60 days.” Shabbir Merchant, managing director of Champion Neon, said that constant change, development, and innovation are a healthy sign in an economy and “the only way to move forward.”

“The digitisation drive across Pakistan is a very good sign and it is a very healthy indicator of progress and prosperity,” he said. “This includes the safe and secure movement of remittances, resolving various disputes, investments, and setting up new businesses. The success of this digital transformation will also have a positive influence on a number of different sectors that will aid the growth of Pakistan’s economy in the years to come. These include tourism, hospitality, travel, e-commerce, banking, logistics, real estate, manufacturing, and renewable energy. It will also help to attract further investment from various entities into the country.”

“During the recent visit of Zulfiqar Bukhari, special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan, he further reinforced Pakistan’s existing and new ties, and how it proves to be a viable investment platform along with Pakistan’s tourism potential, and find ways for overseas Pakistanis to contrib-ute to the economy,” he added.

— rohma@khaleejtimes.com

author

Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.





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