LAHORE: Pakistan’s labour force in the Middle East is the biggest contributor to the remittances sent home as almost 70% of the amount comes from that region alone.
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) SEVP Khalid Bin Shaheen stated this at a press conference here on Friday.
Shaheen, who is also the head of global home remittances and management group at the bank, said out of the total remittances from the Middle East, 80% was sent by the labour class, who mainly depended on ‘hundi’, ‘hawala’ and other illegal means for sending money back home.
“With efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan, NBP and other commercial banks, remittances through legal channels have increased. Around 2.5 million remittance transactions were recorded annually on the NBP system,” he added.
“Overseas workers are availing of the money remitting service through the NBP free of charge and this has helped generate almost Rs160 billion per annum in remittances through the legal channel.”
The bank is creating awareness and encouraging the workers abroad to send their earnings through legal channels. The SBP has also asked commercial banks to educate Pakistani workers abroad about the advantages of sending money legally.
“It is the obligation of every Pakistani to spread this information in order to increase the flow of remittances, which ultimately benefits the country.”
Bulk of the remittances comes from Saudi Arabia, UAE, US, UK and other Gulf countries. The key destinations in Pakistan are Sialkot, Gujranwala, Mardan, Gujrat and Rawalpindi.
Talking about NBP’s performance, he pointed out that the bank had regularly introduced new products and improved its services and infrastructure to facilitate consumers and the general public.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2015.