LAHORE   -    The Pakistan Industrial & Traders Association Front (PIAF) has asked the government to announce incentives and attractive package for oversees Pakistanis to enhance the volume of foreign inflows, as the country received 1.43 percent lesser remittances amounting to $5.47 billion in first quarter of 2019-20 compared to $5.55 billion in the same period of previous year. PIAF Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir observed that remittances could help in partly financing the deficit in import payments and foreign debt repayments. He suggested that structural reforms could revive Pakistan’s economic growth with major focus on incentives for oversees workers.

If government support overseas Pakistanis and provide them incentives, they could play a vital role in boosting Pakistan’s economy through their remittances and investments for high economic growth, he said.

He said that the government’s efforts raised the question mark taken under Pakistan Remittance Initiative to support the higher remittance flows in the FY20. The government targets workers’ remittances to reach the level of $24 billion. He said that the drop in remittances was disappointing despite the fact that the SBP has allowed exchange companies to start work on directly attracting worker remittances from the countries from where the inflows remain nominal. Mian Nauman Kabir noted that migrant cash flow, which was a lifeline for the country’s struggling current account deficit, was expected to weaken more in the coming months due to US economic slowdown and its trade war with China.

According to the data of the central bank, remittances fell 8.37 percent in the first two months of the current fiscal year, standing at $3.73 billion during Jul-Aug FY20 compared with $4.07 billion recorded in the same period last year. Lamenting the gloomy picture of country’s position in the region with regard to its GDP growth in 2019, he said that upward trend in September remittances to Pakistan from overseas workers was good news for the economy.

He said that it was also good news for the country that Pakistan’s trade deficit has narrowed but exports were almost flat despite huge depreciation in rupee. He said the growth of 18 percent in remittances in Sept to $1.74 billion compared to $1.48 billion of last year’s Sept gives some positive hope. The growth has also helped increase overall inflows in the Jul-Sept quarter. A significant drop in remittances in the second month of August of the quarter had a notable negative effect on the overall growth in the quarter.