ISLAMABAD    -    The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has called upon the government to take policy measures and offer good incentives for channeling remittances towards the investment and productive activities that would help in promoting business activities and improving economic growth of the country.

In a statement on Thursday, President ICCI Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that remittances this year have exceeded $21 billion that showing an increase of 9% compared to the same period of last year that was very encouraging. However, he stressed that government should take concrete measures to develop required expertise and institutional mechanism to channel the remittances towards the investment and productive activities.

The ICCI President said that remittances were an important source of economic wellbeing for a large number of families in the country and were helping in boosting consumption that benefited our industries. However, he said that remittances could play more effective role for the economy if their major portion was channeled towards savings and investment.

He said that due to encouraging policies, many expatriate Chinese and Indians have returned to their home countries to start business ventures and Pakistan should also take necessary measures to facilitate Overseas Pakistanis to invest and start business ventures in their home country.

Senior Vice President ICCI Rafat Farid and Vice President Iftikhar Anwar Sethi said that many Sub-Saharan African countries have improved GDP and economic growth rate by diverting remittances towards savings and investment, therefore, it was high time that Pakistan should take solid measures to enhance the share of remittances towards SMEs in the country.

They said that Pakistan was receiving more remittances than foreign direct investment and development assistance, thus increasing their share into savings instruments would help in developing capital markets and providing more funds for productive endeavors. Therefore, it was right time that government should take policy measures to divert remittances towards investment and productive activities in the country.