ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Tuesday said that government would clear the outstanding dues of worth Rs 3.46 billion of the banks, on the account of payment of telegraphic transfer (TT) charges of remittances, by March 21.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, while chairing a meeting of the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) at the Ministry of Finance, said that government has already cleared Rs.6 billion on account of payment of TT charges. In this manner, the Government of Pakistan will be able to clear another circular debt inherited from the previous government, he added.

It is worth mentioning here that government had to pay Rs 10 billion to different banks on the account of payment of telegraphic transfer charges of remittances. In the presence of the representatives of the major commercial banks, Moinuddin, head of PRI, gave a presentation to the chairman regarding various proposals to increase the flow of foreign remittances by overseas Pakistanis to their homeland. He suggested that home remittances should be included in the list of core businesses of the banks, adding that home remittance centers should be opened by various banks and placement of banks representatives with overseas entities. He also suggested that banks should establish dedicated remittance complaint resolution mechanism for improving home remittances through banks.

The federal minister for finance appreciated the efforts of the commercial banks for doubling their efforts for the improvement of flow of foreign remittances in the country. He said that high levels in remittance flows can have direct bearing on foreign exchange rates, domestic interest rates and balance of payments while having other indirect impact for macro-economic variables.

Dar directed the banks to identify the major migration networks and communicate with the leaders of these networks. The migrants will be encouraged to open bank accounts before leaving. NADRA would be requested to offer assistance in this regard. This will assist not only in understanding their preference matrix but also help the authorities in Pakistan to cover their expectations about desired remittance priorities.  The minister said that it is the primary responsibility of the government to consolidate the fiscal and monetary situation. He said that making Pakistan economically vibrant is doable and ‘we will work together to discourage speculators and hoarders in the interest of the country’.

The meeting was attended by representatives from National Bank of Pakistan, Bank of Punjab, Allied Bank of Pakistan, Muslim Commercial Bank, United Bank Limited, JS Bank Limited, Dubai Islamic Bank, Summit Bank, Meezan Bank, Bank Al-Habib Limited, Soneri Bank Limited, Faysal Bank Limited, Askari Bank Limited, The Bank of Punjab, Burj Bank, NIB Bank, Bank Al-Flah, Habib Bank and State Bank of Pakistan along with the senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.