After the appointment of Arif Usmani as President and CEO National Bank of Pakistan, last week Finance Minister Asad Umar visited NBP Head Office, Karachi to discuss few financial matters and special discussion on remittances. Finance Minister has tasked government-owned NBP with stepping up struggles to entice higher worker remittances into the Pakistan’s foreign currency assets and help to raise foreign income to make strong national economy.
In this regard, the bank is considering options on how to increase remittances, which include surprising benefits and opening of NBP Foree Remittance account within 15 minutes nationwide. Asad Umar said during the interview for the post of NBP President, my focus was on remittance income. He said NBP was working on options to increase the stream of remittances but entire details will be shared later.
However, National Bank of Pakistan became the 3rd largest bank in terms of attracting remittances in 2018, before that NBP was on 7th Position but now remittance influxes are increasing at a pace of 45 percent per year. Arif Usmani said that he had floated an idea in meeting with the Finance Minister that a lucky draw could be held to award, for example a Rs: 100,000 prize in order to encourage people to send remittance though NBP.
The NBP President Arif Usmani said NBP has achieved record revenue of 97 billion during the year 2018 and now definitely bank will play their best role in increasing remittances income and must take them to maximum potential level. He said I would like to suggest that Banks can discourage illegal Hawala/Hundi operators in increasing remittance only through surprising and amazing incentives for remittance senders and receivers.
Another NBP high official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the NBP was going to open bank account opening counters at seven airports by mid-March. The move is to help the Pakistani workers going to work overseas. According to the recent stats almost $2.25 billion Pakistan has received in remittances in 2017 and will try to increase them up to $3 billion in 2019.
Further, he said almost 442,000 Pakistani workers go abroad every year. Three to Four years before around 900,000 Pakistani workers used to go abroad per year. He reminded that Qatar had agreed to invite 100,000 Pakistani workers this year. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has reduced visa fee for Pakistani workers. The initiatives would encourage a higher number of Pakistanis to go abroad for finding job opportunities.