Prime Minister Imran Khan has introduced the ‘Roshan Digital Account,’ an initiative that will make it easier for millions of Pakistanis across the country to conduct fund transfers, bill payments, and investment activities.
Speaking on the occasion, he said that the Pakistani diaspora is the biggest asset of the country but they are always regarded with suspicion. “They are our best minds. Many complain they can’t even become ministers or members of the cabinet. We need to change that mindset.”
The Premier said that “Often we lack in-country skills and thus need Pakistanis overseas services”.
Roshan Digital Account Investment: Overview & Complete Details
The Pakistan Prime Minister inaugurated Roshan Digital Account on September 10, 2020. Roshan Digital Account is a major initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), working in partnership with Pakistan-based commercial banks.
These accounts will provide all the banking facilities for millions of Pakistani Non-Residents (NRPs) seeking to participate in banking, payment, and investment activities in Pakistan. Account opening is a fully digital and online operation, without having to visit a branch of the bank. The account opens in 48 hours’ time.
The Roshan Digital Account will completely integrate the Pakistani diaspora with the banking and payment system in Pakistan by;
- To provide digital access to all traditional account facilities, including transfers of money, bills and fees, and e-commerce;
- Allowing investment in Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs) to be issued by the Government of Pakistan very soon at highly competitive risk-free rates.
- Allowing equity investments in Pakistan.
- Shortly opening up investment opportunities in Pakistan’s real estate market, including both commercial and residential property.
PM About Roashan Digital Account For Overseas Pakistani
“The overseas Pakistanis are our greatest asset and we have been unable to harness their ability beforehand”, the Premier said. We could not make Pakistanis overseas part of the nation-building process, owing to the faulty policies of the past. The launch of this Roshan Digital Account, therefore, represents a significant move for Pakistan.
Opening the Roshan Digital Account requires a simple collection of information and records, which will take just 48 hours to complete all records. Pakistan’s State Bank launched this project to provide modern banking facilities, in collaboration with eight local banks.
A customer can choose either a controlled account in foreign currency or rupee or both. Funds in those accounts would be completely repatriable, without any regulatory approval being required.
Importantly, with one click of a button, the account can allow bank transfer, bill payment, fees. It will also give the Pakistani diaspora the opportunity to invest in the country’s stock market as well as in the residential and commercial real estate sector.
Remittances have increased, but now we want Pakistanis overseas to invest in the country. We couldn’t provide them with viable investment avenues. As they mostly invest in the real estate sector, the upcoming mega-government projects in Punjab and Sindh are the best investment opportunities for them.
Highlighting the obstacles, Khan pointed out that the country needs to increase economic growth, which, in turn, would bring prosperity. And that will allow the government to pay back its debt.
He said the country faces a dollar shortage due to the historic import-export gap, which directly impacts the rupee.
“Rupee falls when there is a dollar shortage and that leads to an increase in the cost of living and also puts brakes on foreign investment in the country because of uncertainty. Significantly, this also weakens the country’s wealth generation,” he said.
Imran Khan has also taken on those politicians who condemn the government for supporting NRPs who hold dual government nationality.
“People look at Pakistanis abroad who hold high positions in government with suspicion. Pakistanis living abroad are very patriotic, more than many of us living inside the country. People look at dual nationals suspiciously as if they were traitors. We need to realize why those over nine million Pakistanis have gone abroad. It’s because we couldn’t provide them with good jobs,” he said.
He added that this huge talent and resource pool could come back whenever the country provides them with the right conditions.
Citing an example, he said many Pakistanis from overseas have joined Shaukat Khanum Hospital, a specialized cancer hospital founded by Khan.
Roashan Digital Account – A New Gateway To Naya Pakistan
The Prime Minister said it is the expatriates who have to be encouraged to invest before the export levels can be lifted in the post-coronavirus economic climate.
The PM congratulated Reza Baqir, Governor of State Bank, and Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Finance Advisor, and their economic think tanks on the “first major step” in bringing the country to great heights.
Predicting a “building boom” in the country as a result of the policies of the government, the Premier urged Pakistanis overseas to make use of this initiative and invest wholeheartedly in the region.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a press release published earlier that the central bank initiative would coordinate with commercial banks operating in Pakistan.
“Non-resident Pakistanis (NRP) will be able to open an account remotely for the first time in the country’s history through an entirely digital and online mechanism without any need to visit a bank branch, embassy, or consulate,” it said.
As mentioned earlier, the customer can select either a controlled foreign currency or rupee account, or both. Funds in these accounts will be completely repatriable, without any regulatory approval being needed.
Speaking to Bloomberg last month, SBP Governor Dr. Reza Baqir said the new facility would be open to Pakistan’s nine million non-residents, allowing them to invest money in local stock markets, buy government bonds and shares, and make use of basic banking.