The remittances from the overseas Pakistanis stood at $2.1 billion in November 2022, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on Wednesday, which represents a month-on month decline of 4.8 percent.

On the other hand, the amount was 14.3 percent less when compared with the same month last year – a trend coinciding with the higher exchange of US dollar in black market, shows the latest SBP data.

It is worth noting that the remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis in November 2021 were $2.46 billion.

During the first five months of the current fiscal year (2022-23), the overall remittances sent by the overseas Pakistanis totaled $12 billion which is down 9.6 percent against the amount for the same period in 2021.

A country-wise look at the amount shows that the workers from Saudi Arabia sent the largest chunk $498 million. They were followed by the United Arab Emirates $377.8 million, the United Kingdom $299.1 million, the European Union $245 million and the United States $229.4 million.

However, the amount sent by overseas Pakistanis from Saudi Arabia was 20 percent lower than the $622 million sent by them November 2221.

Reduction was visible for other abovementioned countries too which is given as: the United Arab Emirates 20 percent, the European Union 8 percent, the United Kingdom 5 percent and the United States 6 percent.

These figures are not a surprise given a large difference between the interbank and open market exchange rates as well as black marketing (Hundi and Hawala) with the US dollar being available for over Rs250 in that case. Same is the other currencies.

But there are other factors too like the higher cost of living and inflation in the countries they working or living in which squeeze they ability to save or contribute to their families’ finances back home. 

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told a gathering in Islamabad that smugglers and Hundi mafia (dollar black market) had taken the country as a hostage. There was a large-scale smuggling of US dollar and urea across the Pak-Afghan border at Chaman and the government had already launched an operation to stop the practice, he added.

Roshan Digital Account

Last week, it was reported that foreign currency inflows through Roshan Digital Account (RDA) have dropped to a 24-month low.

It was revealed by a local brokerage house which cited data from the State Bank of Pakistan as the inflows stood at $141 million in November 2022 against the amount of $239 in the corresponding month of last year.

These November gross inflows are the lowest monthly inflow since December 2020, as increased political uncertainty, deteriorating economic fundamentals in the country, and rising interest rates abroad are also affecting the trend.

According to the central bank’s data, the country received a total of $5.4 billion in inflows from the Pakistani diaspora living abroad since the launch of RDA in September 2020.

During this period, the amount invested through Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs) was $3.5 billion. Within NPCs, $1.750 billion was invested in conventional and $1.680 billion in Islamic certificates. The expatriate Pakistanis also invested $47 million in the stock market.

The non-resident Pakistanis (NRPs) from 175 different countries opened 498,934 RDAs. But analysts said overseas Pakistanis have actively begun withdrawing assets from the NPCs through their digital accounts.

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