LAHORE -  The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has urged the government to give maximum incentives to the overseas Pakistanis who are playing fundamental role in economic uplift of the country through their remittances.

In a statement, LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that remittances are a major part of Pakistan’s economy. They said that the overseas Pakistanis sent home remittances worth 6.44 billion US dollars during first four months of the financial year 2018. The remittances improved 2.27 percent for 4MFY18 as against 6.30 billion US dollars reported during the same period of last year. During the month of October this year, the overseas Pakistanis' inflows surged by 27.87 percent to 1.65 billion US dollars when compared with September 2017 and mounted by 5.99 percent as against October last year. Pakistanis living and working in Saudi Arabia contributed the most with remittances worth 461.07 million US dollars during October 2017.

The LCCI office-bearers said that government should take measures to ensure that these remittances are invested in productive sectors instead of wasting them in consumption. They said that foreign remittances could easily reach $ 40 to 50 billion in the next few years if government announces incentives on the investment made by expatriate Pakistanis. They said that government should encourage the expats to invest in the sectors like energy, agriculture, telecommunication and information technology.

They urged the government to get removed all bureaucratic hurdles that are coming in the way of smooth inflow of the foreign remittances to Pakistan. They said that a large number of overseas Pakistanis are keen to invest in Pakistan but red-tapism is keeping them away.

They said that government should discourage the Hawala system as annually billions dollars are being sent through this illegal way. 

The LCCI office-bearers said that at a time when the country is experiencing various economic challenges, increase in home remittances would provide much-needed support to the external sector of the economy. “It is indeed a very positive development especially at a time when current account balance is under pressure.”

They said that it is also an encouraging fact that the increase in remittances is not confined to a country or a region but has originated from almost all the countries, suggesting the onset of a positive trend. They said that increase in home remittances would be a great help in narrowing down current account deficit of the country, building foreign exchange reserves, imparting stability to the exchange rate of the rupee, softening inflationary pressures and reducing the need of the country to borrow from the IMF and other sources. Being an unrequited transfer, it would also not increase foreign indebtedness of the country but pave the way for a self-reliant economy. They said that overseas Pakistanis are an asset for the country and therefore, government should acknowledge their services for the country. LCCI President hoped that the government should make policies more conducive and announce lucrative incentives to attract maximum investment of the overseas Pakistanis.