State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed commercial banks to provide services for freelancers that can enable them to receive payments of up to $1,500 per month.
The central bank has come up with a set of instructions for the banks to serve the maximum number of professionals from different sectors who provide skilled and creative services to their clients or employers based in different countries. As these professionals can help attract significant foreign exchange inflows in Pakistan, every effort must be made to facilitate them.
A large number of freelancers avoid using banking services mainly because of the complicated requirements of banks and their high fee charges. Now, the central bank devised a policy for banks to facilitate customers who can bring precious foreign exchange inflow in their country.
It is pertinent to mention that a large number of Pakistanis have been doing freelance work for various customers and clients located in different countries. In fact, Pakistan has historically being ranked as as the third or fourth worldwide with the largest global share of freelancing business.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP):
Banks could receive remittances by resident individuals from reputed overseas IT firms and online platforms on account of freelance of computer, information systems, and other services up to $1,500 per individual per month.
All transactions will be account credit only and shall be disbursed in PKR only. Cash disbursement is not permissible for any of these transactions.
The banking regulator further directed that all payments, except freelance payments, shall be made on non-repatriable basis without any exceptions.
Exporters of Freelance services shall be allowed to repatriate up to 35% of the export earnings through their PKR denominated bank account in Pakistan for outward remittances.
Banks shall ensure that these proceeds would be utilized only for payment of commission/discount to the overseas agents/buyers and to use the same to meet other expenses such as promotional publicity, import of Hardware/Software, foreign consultant’s fee etc.
Under no circumstances, should a bank resort to netting off inflows and outflows with entities both within and outside Pakistan, the central bank added.