The government of Pakistan has decided to launch a digital banking facility next month for Overseas Pakistanis. They will soon be able to open their bank accounts and make investments directly in the country from abroad.
The ‘Roshan Digital Accounts’ project will be rolled out in the first week of September as Prime Minister Imran Khan had already okayed the initiative, said a senior officer of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD).
After the launch of the project, the expatriates will have to submit their documents online for opening a new bank account. Under the initiative, they will get multiple facilities including funds transfer, e-commerce, bill payment, and others.
The Roshan Digital Account is a major initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan, in collaboration with the commercial banks operating in Pakistan. This account will provide innovative banking solutions for million of Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) seeking to undertake banking, payment and investment activities in Pakistan.
The officer said that this initiative will enable the overseas Pakistanis to make a direct investment in the real estate sector and the Pakistan Stock Exchange.
The banks have already made separate portals on their websites with the all information regarding the Roshan Digital accounts and are running it as a pilot project till the launch.
Fully Digital Account Opening and Operations
For the first time in Pakistan’s history, NRPs are being provided an opportunity to remotely open an account in Pakistan through an entirely digital and online process without any need to visit a bank branch. Opening the account will require only basic set of information and documents. The banks have been asked to complete all necessary customer due diligence within 48 hours.
The Roshan Account Digital will integrate the Pakistani diaspora fully into Pakistani banking and digital payment systems:
- It will provide access to all conventional account services, including funds transfer, bill payments for their families, e-commerce and other payments in Pakistan.
- It will also enable investment in specially designed saving instruments for NRPs called Naya Pakistan certificates, which are being launched soon by the Government of Pakistan. These instruments will be available in both US dollars and Pakistani rupees, at short and long term tenors, with attractive rates of return, and in both conventional and Shariah-compliant forms.
- It will allow NRPs to invest in fixed deposit products offered by the banks.
- It will also enable them to invest in Pakistan’s stock market.
- Going forward, it will also enable NRPs to undertake residential and commercial real estate related transactions in Pakistan.
- It will be backed by debit and virtual debit cards for both domestic and overseas use.
Accounts Availability in both Foreign Currency and Pakistani Rupees
NRPs can choose either foreign currency or rupee-denominated account, or both. They would be interoperable and enable real-time online conversion from foreign currency to Pakistani rupees and vice versa.
Funds in the Roshan Digital Account will be fully repatriable. They can be remitted back from Pakistan without any regulatory approval.