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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Roshan Digital Account reaches highest deposits

Prime Minister Imran Khan has cited overseas Pakistanis as an important asset of Pakistan. In September, he launched the Roshan Digital Account to facilitate innovative banking services for them.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) administered Roshan Digital Account (RDA) received deposits of over $11.2 million in a day by expat Pakistanis on December 11, making it the highest ever recorded deposits since the program’s inception.

In a tweet by State Bank of Pakistan’s official account, a statement read, “Inward remittances from overseas Pakistanis into #RoshanDigitalAccount touched another daily high with inflows of $11.2 million on 11Dec20. To this date, total inward remittances into RDA have reached $154.6 million, with $88.7 million invested in Naya Pakistan Certificates”.

Previously, the record was held at $7.7 million on December 9th, with the central bank stating in a similar tweet that, “Inward remittances from overseas Pakistanis into #RoshanDigitalAccount rose to $7.7 million, their highest ever daily amount. To date, total inward remittances into RDA have reached $139.4 million, with $81 million invested in Naya Pakistan Certificates.”

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SBP’s Roshan Digital Account was launched in collaboration with several commercial banks operating in Pakistan. These accounts provide “innovative banking solutions for millions of Non Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) seeking to undertake banking, payment and investment activities in Pakistan.”

The account holders can avail services like fund transfers, bill payments, and other investment activities in Pakistan with addition to buying and selling properties and doing business via these digital accounts.

The Prime Minister had launched the Roshan Digital Account project on September 10 in hopes of providing reliable digital banking facilities to overseas Pakistanis, that number around 9 million, for the first time in the country.

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While addressing the launching ceremony in September, he indicated that overseas Pakistanis were an important asset of the country and the Roshan Digital Account project was formed in order to provide them the best framework for investing in the property sector in Pakistan. He said in a statement, “Overseas Pakistanis could play a pivotal role in improving construction sector in the country”.

Initially, bankers expected the program to attract big deposits, however, three months on, some bankers found RDA to be disappointing citing several factors for its poor performance citing illiteracy among most of the Gulf workers as they can’t access or use these online accounts.

Efforts are done to raise awareness as only recently, SBP Governor Reza Baqir visited the region to create awareness about the digital accounts and its benefits.

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On the formation of accounts, the program’s website reads, “For the first time in Pakistan’s history, NRPs are being provided an opportunity to remotely open an account in Pakistan through an entirely digital and online process without any need to visit a bank branch. Opening of the account will require only a basic set of information and documents. Banks have been asked to complete all necessary customer due diligence within 48 hours.”

The customers have an option to choose from a foreign currency or rupee account, or in some cases, both. The funds in these accounts will be fully repatriable, without the need for approval of either SBP or the respective banks.

So far, the banks partnered with the program include Bank Alfalah, Faysal Bank, Habib Bank, Muslim Commercial Bank, Meezan Bank, Samba Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and United Bank Limited.

Read more: Digital payments flourish in Pakistan

The account holders will also provide Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPC), an initiative of the Ministry of Finance to offer attractive investment opportunities to overseas Pakistanis and resident Pakistanis with assets held abroad. These certificates are available both in both USD and PKR, at very attractive risk-free rates and in both conventional and Shariah-compliant forms.