Ombudsman directs Finance, AGPR, IT to finalize automation of E-pension system

ISLAMABAD, Sept 27 (APP): Federal Ombudsman, M. Salman Faruqui has directed the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment (BEOE) to complete work of automation within the organization during the current year.

In this regard, a meeting was convened in the Ombudsman Secretariat under the chair of Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar, Grievance Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis and Zafarullah Khan, Senior Adviser.

Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar emphasized on carrying out team work to expedite the automation process for Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) for utilizing Pakistani talents abroad and earn precious foreign exchange for the country.

The meeting was attended by the representatives of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, State Bank of Pakistan, Overseas Pakistani Foundation (OPF), BEOE and Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.

DG BEOE informed the participants that the PC-1 for automation of the work of the Bureau and its regional offices was almost complete and would be submitted to Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis by next week.

He informed that after automation 13 data fields out of 36 data field boxes presently manually filled in by Pakistanis seeking employment abroad would be filled in automatically.

Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmed Khokhar advised the DG to finalize all issues of automation with the concerned government agencies within seven days.

The meeting was also informed that at present Pakistani nationals seeking employment abroad had to deposit fees in three separate banks to cover OPF, State Life Insurance Corporation, BEOE dues and there was a need to put efforts to centralize all such deposits being made with the National Bank of Pakistan.

Hafiz Ahsaan Ahmad Khokhar directed the relevant officials to issue Foreign Exchange Remittance Card (FERC) along with NICOP and increase the life insurance cover from two years to five years to facilitate OPs.

He said efforts must be carried out to encourage OPs to send their remittance through banking systems, facilitating them with easy facility for opening bank accounts before their departure and online as well as ATM payments.

He directed that for this purpose the Bureau had to take on board all stakeholders and submit compliance report .

He urged the Ministry of Finance to consider changes in the procedure regarding Foreign Exchange Remittance Card (FERC) and allow issuance of card along with NICOP without any limit of remittance, which was now $2500.

Then, he said, State Bank of Pakistan would accordingly issue instructions to all scheduled banks to open an “Asan Account” on production of FERC, within 24 hours to facilitate overseas Pakistanis workers .

He also directed OPF and BEOE to contact with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for the establishment of a dedicated helpline for Pakistanis seeking employment abroad.

The next meeting on the subject will be held in the next month and in the meanwhile all agencies will submit their compliance on the decision taken to federal ombudsman secretariat.