Foreign remittances

Letter January 15, 2022
Foreign remittances


Reliance on foreign remittances from expatriates as a permanent reliable source of revenues for the annual budget does not bode well for our economy. Almost 85% of these foreign remittances are sent by our skilled and semi-skilled workers and professionals residing on work visas in the Middle East to support their families. The number of such workers is likely to decrease because of economic recession, politics, and policies of countries to cut down reliance on foreign workers, or alternate choices of cheaper labour. The reverse flow from Pakistan to foreign countries will continue as long as the ruling elite deciding our economic policies have split loyalties and vested interests.

Only 15% of our professionals and skilled workers living with their families in countries like the US, Canada, the UK, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, etc send part of their savings to support their families. Over time, these remittances are likely to reduce and finally cease when the aged parents or siblings are no longer alive. The children of families holding foreign nationalities will have no emotional attachments with their relatives living back home and these remittances will cease. Unfortunately, the reverse flow of foreign exchange from Pakistan is likely to increase when these aged dual nationals or their surviving children start selling their inherited or allotted assets here.

As if this was not enough, the fact is that a large majority of the political elite have already shifted their families to foreign countries during service or post-retirement. The quantum of foreign exchange transferred through regular and irregular channels is on the rise and exceeds almost 60% of total foreign remittances. Millions are being transferred and islands have been purchased by a few who held sensitive assignments.

Malik Ali


Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2022.

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