APBF suggests incentives for overseas Pakistanis


Lahore: As the remittances have registered a decline of more than 36 percent, the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) has suggested the government to announce incentives for oversees Pakistanis so that the drop in foreign remittances could be controlled, besides boosting investment in the country by Pakistani expatriates. APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said that Current Account (C/A) deficit has expanded to US$591mn in July 2016, where US$575mn deterioration was largely owing to US$745mn (or 36% MoM) decline in Workers’ Remittances.
Remittances sent by overseas Pakistan dropped 20 per cent annually to $1.33 billion in July. The oil-rich Arab countries account for almost 65 percent of entire remittances sent by overseas Pakistani workers. Ibrahim Qureshi said that the fall could be a setback for Pakistan as it largely depends on remittances to meet its foreign obligations and reserves. In July, the inflow of remittances from Saudi Arabia dropped by 20 percent, but it was still the highest at $379 million. What is more concerning is the plunge in remittances from the United States and the United Kingdom as inflows from these countries fell by 33.5 and 38 percent, respectively. Remittances from US and UK dropped 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively, in the preceding fiscal year.
APBF president said that if government assists overseas Pakistanis and provides them incentives, they can play a pivotal role in boosting Pakistan’s economy through their remittances and investments for the socio-economic prosperity. He remarked that oversees Pakistanis can invest in agriculture, transportation, telecom and energy sectors which have huge potential. The government has badly failed to attract foreign investment because the persisting process of approval of projects discourages the investors, he added.
Ibrahim Qureshi asked the bureaucracy to mould simple procedures by revisiting the existing processes so that the investors could be facilitated. He said that export-oriented industries should be facilitated. He was of the view that rules, regulations and procedures for export-oriented sectors should be easy so that it could play its due role in economic stability of the country. “It is a matter of concern that exports are showing a decline trend besides the fact that country has all resources. He said that we have to focus on investing in the energy sector, lowering of tariffs on smuggling prone items, increasing the share of direct taxes in revenue and lowering the slab of indirect taxes to achieve key economic targets set for the year 2016-17. He said the Protection of Economic Reforms Act”, 1992 should also be amended appropriately to curb the practice of remitting undeclared income through unofficial channels outside Pakistan and the same being brought into Pakistan through banking channels in Foreign Exchange. Pakistan Observer

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