The government has set its sights on helping overseas Pakistanis invest in the country and make transactions in the form of remittances easier as well. The Roshan Digital Accounts Project, announced by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Zulfi Bukhari, stands to do this by providing digital banking facilities to overseas Pakistanis. Under the new plan, overseas Pakistanis will be able to open local and foreign currency accounts without visiting the country. They will have to submit their necessary information and documents to the State Bank of Pakistan online. This initiative is long overdue.

Digital banking for the overseas citizens will help the ease of doing business in Pakistan. Pakistan holds many opportunities to invest; there are just a lot of stumbling blocks that tend to stand in the way of sending money back home. The government is now making it possible to invest in the Pakistan Stock Exchange, debt markets, residential and commercial real estate and TDRs with banks efficiently. This will help in long-term sustainability of the country, not to mention increasing the trust of the diaspora in the government’s revitalisation efforts.

Opening digital accounts allows for remote access and greater impetus to keep earnings and savings in Pakistani accounts. Amongst other benefits that Pakistani expats will enjoy, the facility will help them to route their remittance through formal banking channels, and the use of Hundi will be discouraged. Likewise, the authorities will locate the source of funds easily if more transactions are routed through banking channels, which is one of the top priorities of the PTI government.

This will also help the country improve its foreign exchange reserves. Through this account, credit card and auto loan facilities could also be obtained for local beneficiaries in Pakistan. Moreover, our unnecessary reliance on international financial partners will decrease significantly. The revenue generated from these services can now finally stay here at home. There are a lot of potential avenues for income generation through this initiative; the government just now needs to get a large portion of overseas Pakistanis on board.