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SBP’s claim of clearing 98% remittances termed ‘misleading

Atif Abbas

Islamabad: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)’s claim of clearing 98 per cent remittances has been termed ‘misleading.

Governor State Bank explained in a meeting of cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan that 98.1 per cent of remittances are processed within 72 hours.

One of the cabinet members had hinted that the figure showing 98.1 per cent cleared remittances could be misleading as there are thousands of Pakistanis workers whose remittances do not even get into the system, hence go un-noticed.

Overseas Pakistanis are showing reluctance to send remittances due to sharing data by banks with Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

During the discussion in a recent meeting of cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran, some of the members highlighted the problems being faced by the overseas Pakistanis from the local banks on account of remittances.

However, due to strict requirements of correspondent international bank post FATF grey listing, the local banks in 1.9 per cent cases do seek additional information such as source.

It was pointed out that since banks data is now being shared with FBR, some overseas Pakistanis are reluctant to divulge the information for fear of exploitation which causes delays in processing of remittances. One of the members hinted that the figure showing 98.1 per cent cleared remittances could be misleading as there are thousands of Pakistanis workers whose remittances do not even get into the system, hence go un-noticed.

The cabinet directed that State Bank of Pakistan to look into difficulties being faced by the overseas Pakistanis in processing of their remittance by the local banks and ensure that they are not embroiled in unnecessary requirements and are properly facilitated.

Overseas people told Newztodays.com that local banks were creating trouble for the overseas in sending remittances to Pakistan. He said that there were thousands of Pakistanis who had obtained work permit visa but they were doing some other works by paying some money to Saudi employer. He said that there were several people especially in Saudi Arabia as they had visa with lower salary but they were allowed by Saudi employer to do some other business.

“However, they cannot prove their source of income as they are employee on visa papers but they are doing some other businesses with higher income, making hefty money, he said adding that whenever such people send money to Pakistan through local banks, Pakistani banks approach Saudi Banks to find out their source of income and it results in facing inquiries there.

Overseas people are of the view that Pakistani banks were creating more trouble than Saudi banks who do not enquire source of income and they send money into Pakistani banks.

“This practice has encouraged using unconventional means like Hundi to send money to Pakistan, he said adding that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had access to their accounts in Pakistani banks now and therefore, it was another trouble for them for those workers especially working in Saudi Arabia where no one can work without Saudi Employer.

He said that government of Pakistan should have conducted due diligence before making any strict laws regarding overseas Pakistanis how they were working there and making money. He further said that it had also become difficult for overseas People to invest in real estate sector in Pakistan. He said that they could not prove source of income in Saudi Arabia officially.

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