Overseas Pakistanis Provided Vital Support For Pakistan’s Economy In 2021
KARACHI: Overseas Pakistanis provided vital support for Pakistan’s economy in 2021 as they invested a significant amount of $2.9 billion in different assets through the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) over the past 14 months, which bolstered the foreign exchange reserves.
Besides, the RDA inflows aided in offsetting the negative impact of foreign divestment of around $3.5 billion from the rupee-denominated government debt securities like treasury bills and Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs) in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
RDA inflows also contributed to stabilizing the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar and other foreign currencies. “Pakistani diaspora is projected to inject an additional $2 billion in the remaining seven months (December-June) of the ongoing fiscal year 2021-22,” remarked Arif Habib Limited (AHL) economist Sana Tawfik while talking to The Express Tribune.
RDA receipts are different from the remittances sent by the non-resident Pakistanis (NRPs) to their family members and friends back home. The inflow of remittances remained larger than export earnings in 2021. Remittances are used to partially finance import payments and repay foreign debt.
Overseas Pakistanis sent record high remittances of $29.4 billion in the fiscal year 2020-21. They are estimated to inflate further to an all-time high of $31.8 billion by the end of the current fiscal year in June 2022, according to the research house.
Turning to the RDA, Tawfik said “we expect total inflows of over $3 billion in FY22.” So far, overseas Pakistanis have invested a total of $2.9 billion since the launch of the scheme by the central bank in September 2020. Data breakdown suggests that they have invested $1.35 billion in the first five months (July-November) of the ongoing fiscal year.
The non-resident Pakistanis have poured a significant amount through the RDA into the Naya Pakistan Saving Certificates, which “offer lucrative returns on investment of 5-7% per annum in foreign currencies,” she said.
Pakistan has offered attractive returns on the certificates to the non-resident Pakistanis at a time when the rest of the world (especially the developed countries) is offering a nominal return of around 0.25%.
Investments made under the RDA are unlikely to be pulled out aggressively as opposed to the foreign divestment from the rupee-denominated T-bills and PIBs after the Covid-19 outbreak. Investors prematurely sold the government debt securities to keep cash in hand during the pandemic and their investment was also facing the risk of rupee depreciation at that time.