GLOBAL REMITTANCES AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PAKISTAN

YOUTH TRAINING RESPONDING TO WORLD MARKET IS VITAL

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Sep 17 - 23, 20
12

A huge potential in the global remittance market exists for Pakistan, however proper planning for human resource development, use of friendly contacts with the global partners as well as improvement of the image of the country are essentially required to tap the available opportunity around the world.

In this respect, the Governor, State Bank of Pakistan Mr Yaseen Anwar while speaking on the occasion of an award distribution ceremony held in recognition of bankers' commendable services in facilitating home remittances by Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) in Karachi said that it is quite satisfactory to note that the banks have started to improve their infrastructure and related systems with a view to offering better remittance services to their customers.

Mr. Anwar observed that the continued impressive growth in workers' remittances is the result of the efforts made by SBP and PRI, in collaboration with banks and other stakeholders, to facilitate both overseas Pakistanis and their families back home. He outlined the steps taken to enhance the flow of remittances through formal channels which include: (a) preparation and implementation of national strategy on remittances; (b) playing the advisory role for the financial sector; (c) creating separate efficient remittance payment highways; and (c) becoming a focal point for overseas Pakistanis through round-the-clock call centre with toll free lines.

'We cannot afford to be complacent. We can always learn more from other countries' best practices in facilitating remittance flows including end-to-end efficient systems, maximum satisfaction of both remitters & beneficiaries, highest degree of commitment of the financial sector, and development of new products and services,' he added.

He assured full SBP & PRI support in facilitating all efforts of the financial sector towards achieving the desired objective of maximizing the flow of remittances through formal channels into the country. 'Remittances sent home by overseas Pakistani workers crossed the $13 billion mark for the first time in country's history during the last fiscal year,' he added.

SBP Governor distributed the awards amongst banks' officials in different areas relating to home remittances including remittances services at branch level both in Pakistan and overseas, processing at centralized Home Remittance Cells and IT support for swift remittance delivery. The 'Leading Bank in Home Remittances Award for the year 2011 was conferred upon Habib Bank Limited. Forty-five officials from a number of banks also received individual performance awards for facilitating remittances into Pakistan . The ceremony was attended, among others, by senior SBP officials and a large number of bankers.

It is important to note that overseas Pakistani workers remitted an amount of $2,463.69 million in the first two months (July - August) of the current fiscal year 2012?13 (FY13), showing a growth of 2.36 percent or $56.91 million when compared with $2,406.78 million received during the same period of last fiscal year (July- August 2011).

The inflow of remittances in July- August, 2012 from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman), and EU countries amounted to $657.78 million, $505.80 million, $446.61 million, $334.06 million, $274.09 million and $63.57 million respectively as compared with the inflow of $601.62 million, $552.11 million, $458.45 million, $282.45 million, $250.76 million and $74.97 million respectively in July- August 2011. Remittances received from Norway , Switzerland , Australia , Canada , Japan and other countries during the first two months of current fiscal year (July- August FY13) amounted to $ 181.78 million as against $186.42 million received in the first two months of last fiscal year (July- August FY12).

The monthly average remittances for July-August 2012 period comes out to $1,231.85 million as compared to $1,203.39 million during the corresponding period of the last fiscal year.

An amount of $1,258.98 million was remitted by overseas Pakistanis in August, 2012 as against $ 1,310.47 million in the same month of the last fiscal year (August 2011).

In August 2012, the inflow of remittances from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman), and EU countries amounted to $308.12 million, $265.26 million, $231.31 million, $185.57 million, $133.73 million and $32.74 million respectively as compared with the inflow of $309.79 million, $ 294.46 million, $263.58 million, $163.90 million, $134.31 million and $42.38 million respectively in August, 2011. Remittances received from Norway , Switzerland , Australia , Canada , Japan and other countries during the second month of current fiscal year (August FY13) amounted to $102.25 million as against $102.05 million received in the second month of last fiscal year (August FY12).

The continued growth in workers' remittances is the result of the efforts made by Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) in collaboration with other stakeholders to facilitate both Overseas Pakistanis and their families back home. Since its inception, PRI has taken a number of steps to enhance the flow of remittances through formal channels which include: (a) preparation of national strategies on remittances (b) taking all necessary steps to implement the overall strategy (c) playing the advisory role for financial sector in terms of preparing a business case, relationship building with overseas correspondents, creating separate efficient remittance payment highways and (d) becoming a national focal point for overseas Pakistanis through round the clock call centre (021-111-222-774) with toll free lines, separate web site etc.

It may be recalled that in order to provide an ownership structure in Pakistan for remittance facilitation, the Government of Pakistan through State Bank of Pakistan , Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and the Ministry of Finance had launched a joint initiative called Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) in April 2009. This initiative has been taken to achieve the objective of facilitating & supporting faster, cheaper, convenient and efficient flow of remittances.