ISLAMABAD: Describing nine million Overseas Pakistanis as the country’s asset, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday urged his economic team to focus on incentivizing and facilitating them for sending remittances and investing in the country through banking channels for a win-win situation.
“I urge the economic team to keep in mind that we have to incentivize our nine million Overseas Pakistanis – an asset for the country – and ensure ease of doing business so that that they send their remittances through banking channels,” he maintained.
The prime minister expressed these views while addressing a ceremony held here to launch Sohni Dharti Remittance Programme (SDRP), to encourage the use of formal channels for remittances.
He said the Overseas Pakistanis should be treated as VIPs, because incentivizing and facilitating them besides benefitting the country will also benefit them.
Advisor to PM on Finance Shaukat Train and Governor State Bank Reza Baqir also addressed the launching ceremony.
Sohni Dharti Remittance Program is a point-based loyalty program in which remitters and their beneficiaries will accumulate reward points by sending remittances through formal channels (SBP regulated entities) and will redeem those points at participating Public Sector Entities (PSEs) by availing their services, free of cost.
A mobile App, in English and Urdu, for iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) is available for remitters to download for the purpose of registration and later on for point redemption at PSEs.
Remitter can also add one beneficiary relationship and can transfer reward points to him/her for utilization. A centralized back-end system is developed and run by 1-LINK.
The prime minister said that the government will also bring another program under which the Overseas Pakistanis will be able to purchase houses and invest in real estate in their homeland through Roshan Digital Accounts (RDAs) in a safe and transparent manner.
He said that the investment in real estate through RDAs will be safe as the concerned banks will check and verify the legal details of housing society so that the Overseas Pakistanis could be protected from any fraud.
The prime minister said that the government was also planning to offer tax incentives for the Overseas Pakistanis to investment in real estate.
A per the criteria under Sohni Dharti Remittance Program, Green category remitter will be awarded 1% of upto $10,000 annual remittance, 1.25% for Gold category sending from $10,001 to $30,000 and 1.5% for Platinum category sending annual remittances over $30,000.
The Public Sector Entities (PSEs) would offer special services for the entitled remitters including PIA on intentional air tickets, payment for extra luggage, FBR on mobile phone duty payment, purchase of vehicles, and duty on imported vehicles, NADRA on renewal of CNIC/NICOP, State Life on Insurance premium, OPF on school’s fee and Utility Stores on purchases.
All participating PSEs had already signed the agreements with 1-LINK. Further, Financial Institutions including banks and exchange companies have also signed necessary agreements with 1-LINK and have integrated with 1-LINK for necessary data sharing for the program.
The development of mobile App by 1-LINK has been completed with approved branding and logos that is available in English as well as Urdu languages on both android (Google)/ iOS (Apple) platforms. Further, the option of cash redemption is also being worked out.