ISLAMABAD - Highlighting the importance of foreign remittances in economy, Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday called for taking every possible measure to facilitate overseas Pakistanis as they were as an asset for the country.

He directed to ensure delivery of full amounts of the remittances, sent by the overseas Pakistanis, to their families.

The prime minister was presiding over a meeting of the government’s economic team during which he was presented a proposed incentives package regarding remittances sent by the overseas Pakistanis through legal channels.

Under the proposed package, banks and exchange companies would be offered special incentives for promotion of foreign remittances.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Communications Murad Saeed, Minister for Economic Affairs Hamad Azhar, Minister for National Food Security Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for Privatization Muhammadmian Soormo, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for Energy Umar Ayub, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Special Assistant on Social Protection Dr Sania Nishter, Special Assistant Nadeem Babar, Board of Investment Chairman Syed Zubair Haider Gilani, State Bank Governor Reza Baqir, Naya Pakistan Housing Authority Chairman Lt-Gen (r) Anwar Ali Haider and secretaries and senior officers of the relevant departments.

Besides enhancement in the incentives for banks regarding foreign remittances under the package, it was also proposed to reduce the amount of money required for a transaction. Measures were also being taken to further improve the system through renewal of foreign exchange remittance card.

In order to promote use of legal channels for sending remittances from abroad, it was also proposed to launch a promotion scheme, under which the overseas Pakistani remitters would be awarded prizes through draw.

Under the proposed package, opening of bank account would also be made mandatory for the people travelling abroad for jobs.

The Pakistan Post informed the meeting that for facilitation of foreign remittances the number of designated post offices in the country would be raised from 240 to 3200, from where the foreign remittances would be delivered to the families concerned at their doorsteps.

In this respect, the matters between the Pakistan Post and the National Bank of Pakistan had been finalised.

The prime minister was told that the State Bank of Pakistan would offer incentives package to private banks regarding foreign remittances on the basis of their performance.

About reforms in the rates of provincial taxes, the meeting was told that provincial governments had finalised a plan in that respect which would soon be presented to the prime minister.

The meeting was also apprised of the progress made so far on the ease of doing business for the business community.

The Naya Pakistan Housing Authority chairman briefed the meeting about the measures being taken for promotion of construction sector in the country.

The meeting also discussed establishment of special economic zones and the progress on further improvement of laws in this respect.

It also discussed and reviewed measures being taken for revival of sick industrial units and the progress so far.

The meeting was told that work on formulation of a long-term policy for promotion of textile and leather industries was in progress, which would be completed by February 2020.

The adviser on commerce informed the meeting that government’s decision to eliminate duties on import of tools and machinery relating to medical sector had been implemented.

The prime minister, in his remarks on the occasion, said the present government took the reign of affairs in difficult economic situation. However, owing to its efforts the country had now achieved economic stability coupled with restoration of investors’ and businessmen’s confidence, and positive trends were emerging, he added.

He underlined the need of taking forward the current scenario of economic stabilization, improvement in economic indicators and further improving the environment for business community, so as to boost process of economic development.