ISLAMABAD, Jan 31 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday launched Pakistan Banao Certificate to attract investment from Overseas Pakistanis and help strengthen the country’s economy.
Under the dollar-based financial instrument, the first of its kind floated by the present government, the expatriate Pakistanis have been offered 6.25% to 6.75% rate of return per annum on a minimum investment of US $5,000 and multiples for a period of three and five years, respectively.
The prime minister while addressing the launching ceremony of the financial instrument, urged the Pakistani expatriates to fully support the initiative by purchasing the bonds to steer the country out of economic crisis along with earning the profit.
The launching ceremony was also attended by the federal cabinet members, special assistants to the prime minister, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, parliamentarians, senior government officials and a large number of overseas Pakistanis.
Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan could become a role model for developing world once the ongoing efforts by the government came to fruition.
Lauding the efforts by the finance minster, State Bank governor, he remarked that the Pakistan Banao Certificate should have been launched earlier to attract the investment from expatriates.
He said though the bond offered return in dollar denomination but he urged the expatriates to get the profit in rupee to support the national currency.
Recalling his previous interactions with expatriates during his cricketing era, the prime minister said they had immense love for their motherland and strived throughout their lives to support their families and serve the country.
The overseas Pakistanis always served the country in hours of distress and recalled and lauded their continuous contribution for construction and operations of Shaukat Khanum Hospital.
He said Pakistan was going through the toughest circumstances facing huge current account and fiscal deficits.
The prime minister said during last five months, he had come to know the actual problems and potential of the country.
He said the government had the options of either approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or seeking support from friendly countries. The IMF’s conditions were tough that could have adverse repercussions for the masses in the form of inflation, he added.
Terming the corruption and incompetence as real factors to mar the situation, he called for a need to enhance productivity by using modern technologies to support the national economy.
The prime minister strongly advocated for promoting religious, mountain, historic and modern tourism and believed that the country could earn huge revenue by exhibiting its variety and diversity to the world.
He said the government had already relaxed its tourist visa regime and resolved to bridge the current account deficit through tourism.
He said Pakistan was a virgin territory for the investors as around 120 million of population was below 30 to 35 years of age. The government was also bringing ease of doing business besides bringing the administrative reforms, he added.
Reiterating his call for supporting the bond, the prime minister said the uplift of the national economy would also enrich overseas Pakistanis’ image abroad.
He said the country would be made self-dependent without letting it to be dragged in others’ wars.
He said the government would revive the lost dignity of the green passport and the embassies had been instructed to take special care of the expatriates who contribute around $20 billion per annum in the form of remittances. He also urged the expatriates to send remittances through banking channels.
Addressing the ceremony, Finance Minister Asad Umar said the crisis of balance of payment was being overcome through prudent policies.
He said the expatriates, being an asset for Pakistan, had been struggling abroad to earn their livelihood as well as contributing to the development of their motherland.
The finance minister said the expatriates during five months of the government, the best talent in the world, were ready to serve in Pakistan despite having the offer of far lesser perks.
He said the certificate would offer the better profit rate than that of the banks that would also contribute to improve national economy.
He said another two financial instruments would also be launched by the government to attract investment.
State Bank Governor Tariq Bajwa while highlighting the various features of the Pakistan Banao Certificates said there were available in three and five year maturities at profit rates of 6.25 percent and 6.75 percent per annum, respectively.
Minimum investment size was US Dollars 5,000 with no upper limit. Overseas Pakistanis having a Computerized National Identity Card, National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis or Pakistan Origin Card, maintaining their bank accounts abroad can invest in the certificates digitally through a dedicated secure website (www.pakistanbanaocertificates.gov.pk).
The website also had complete details on the certificates. Every investor would be issued a unique identity number and profits in US Dollars would be remitted semi-annually to the investor’s specified account maintained abroad.
Further incentives included exemptions from withholding tax and compulsory deduction of Zakat. Investors will also have the option to encash the Certificates prematurely in Pak Rupee without any deduction.
The State Bank governor also lauded the expatriates for contributing $ 20 billion per annum to national kitty through remittances, which he said was equal to around 80% of country’s exports.