Brining expats into mainstream to ensure economic development: FPCCI

Islamabad: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Wednesday said overseas Pakistanis are a great asset for the country that should not be left out in the cold.

Pakistanis living abroad have been playing active role in making the country economically viable while developing the social sector through their remittances which is a great service, said Zubair Ahmed Malik, President FPCCI.

In a statement, he said that government should encourage expatriates and address their issues on priority so that country can become economically self-reliant as foreign exchange inflows facilitate economic development directly and indirectly.

He said that remittances are the biggest source of generating foreign exchange outside exports therefore expats who send $14 billion annually to Pakistan or 5.48 per cent of the GDP, should be encouraged.

Pakistan pays over 3 billion dollars to international financial institutions as interest which is unsustainable therefore country has to seek loans to repay loans, the FPCCI chief said, adding that the key to resolve this matter lies in promotion of remittances.

Zubair Ahmed Malik said that remittances have no strings attaches and they are immune to international political developments, sanctions, mismanagement and corruption. Focus on remittances can reduce dependence on aid.

Overseas Pakistanis sent 13.18 billion dollars in 2012, 13.9 billion dollars in 2013 and a ten per cent rise is expected 2014, he said, adding that brethren from Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa always had the major share in the overall dispatch.

He said that overseas Pakistanis should get voting rights and transfer of money must be improved so that more foreign exchange could be earned settling many grave issues confronting country.

Malik said that investment climate is picking up but many investors still overlook Pakistan as a good destination for investment which necessitates attention of the government towards remittances which will improve economy and reduce unemployment.

Remittances worldwide have nearly tripled since 2000 represented growth of 36pc while Pakistan’s share is not very satisfactory, he noted.

He also called for an overhaul of tax system which has been targeting salaried class and industries while ignoring many other sectors. Similarly, sectors like infrastructure, transport, communication, education, health and laws must be improved.

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