The federal government has aside Rs. 80 billion to support various schemes related to home remittances in a bid to encourage the use of formal channels for remittances.
In a statement, Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar said that the government released an amount of Rs. 20 billion to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in this regard today. She requested the overseas Pakistanis to use formal channels for sending home remittances and assured that the government will ensure the process of sending remittances through banks, financial institutions, and public sector entities is hassle-free.
The minister mentioned different schemes that the funds will go towards. Under the first scheme, the remitter or recipient will not be charged any kind of fee for home remittances of over $100. She added that the particular scheme was first introduced in 1958.
The second scheme is the Sohni Dharti Remittance Program (SDRP), SDRP is a point-based loyalty scheme for remitters who work abroad and send money to their loved ones in Pakistan through banking channels or exchange companies.
The third scheme is for the exchange companies and was introduced in 2020 while the final scheme aims to incentivize marketing home remittances. Under this scheme, awareness initiatives will be undertaken to apprise the public about the benefits of sending remittances through formal channels.
The minister also gave details of the lucky draw scheme for high-remitting individuals under which lucky draw winners are given cash prizes. The Pakistan Remittance Initiative will also benefit from the allocation, the minister added.
It is pertinent to mention here that remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis declined by 24 percent (or $651 million) to $2.09 billion in August 2023 compared to inflows of $2.74 billion registered in the same month last year.
The country registered its highest every remittance inflows in April last year, coming in at $3.1 billion. In the last five months, remittances have dropped significantly and haven’t crossed the $2.5 billion threshold even once.