ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Asad Umar has directed Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to finalise proposals/incentives for promoting remittances through formal channels.

He made these remarks while chairing a high level meeting here on Monday to discuss possible measures to promote remittances through formal channels. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Zulfiqar Bukhari was also present on the occasion.

The meeting deliberated upon the issues and problems faced by the Pakistani diaspora in sending their remittances to Pakistan through formal banking channels. The issues among others included lack of banking facilities for the workers abroad. The hawala-hundi mafia took advantage of this deficiency, the meeting observed.

The various stakeholders attending the meeting highlighted the procedural and technical improvements that could facilitate the use of formal banking channels for remittances.

Finance Minister tasked the Overseas Pakistanis Division to carry out a comprehensive survey of Pakistan labour force’s export destinations as well as their areas of origin in Pakistan. He entrusted the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) with the task to devise mechanism for opening of bank accounts by all Pakistani workers, both at home and the country of their employment with the facility of debit card. Further, he directed NADRA to present a concrete proposal on its technology based initiatives on the issue. He directed that all concerned must share with him their proposals, complete in all respects, at the next meeting.

Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance, Overseas Pakistanis Division, FBR, SBP, NADRA, NBP and others attended the meeting.