Media and Communications Analyst
Islamabad: According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in 2017, approximately 6 million Pakistanis were living abroad, a significant chunk of whom live in Saudi Arabia (22%), India (18%), UAE (16%), and Europe (15%). The numbers are obviously gone much higher in search of a stable and better future in developed countries.
There is a lot of debate about whether leaving the home country behind should be avoided, and patriotism should be encouraged. Nevertheless, the fact remains that overseas Pakistanis are contributing positively to the economy.
Here is how.
Many overseas Pakistanis have families that reside in the country. Most people travel to other countries to work and send money back home. A study conducted by Science Direct reveals that remittances can help alleviate the credit constraints of the country, improve the productivity of capital allocation, and accelerate economic growth.
The value of remittances received by the country has witnessed significant growth over the years. As per the Global Economy, while an average of 5845.47 million USD was sent in 1976, by 2019, this value increased to 22,116 million USD.
You might have noticed how remittances tend to increase before and after PSL. This is because various exchange companies in the UAE run marketing campaigns, incentivising the sending of remittance.
Many expats have migrated with their families and settled abroad permanently. One of the things Prime Minister Imran Khan strived to do after assuming power is to encourage such people to invest in Pakistan.
As incentives are provided to set up businesses in Pakistan, overseas Pakistanis can end up expanding their business in the country, thereby reaping better revenues for themselves and accelerating growth in the country.
When you compare to the rest of the world, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is quite low in Pakistan. Yet, in the past few years, it has considerably risen. As per UNCTAD, FDI increased to 2.2 billion USD in 2018.
The Overseas Pakistani Foundation relays information to overseas Pakistanis about potential investment opportunities in the country. Similarly, various expats invest in different businesses and startups in the country.
The Auto Coin Cars Revolution
When we talk about overseas Pakistanis, the name of Mustansar Iqbal and his venture Auto Coin Cars worth mentioning. Autocoincars.com is a portal that facilitates cryptocurrency users to buy a car with bitcoin and other leading cryptos.
His endeavour has gained momentum in the UK, and so in the longer run, in e-commerce, he can look into avenues to expand in Pakistan too.
Overseas Pakistanis are an excellent asset for the country. Apart from reflecting a favourable image of Pakistan in the eyes of the masses, if utilised properly, expats can help in revitalising the economy as well.
Pakistan’s policies have been marred with inconsistency and instability in the past, owing to the ever-evolving political turmoil and abysmal law and order situation. To take off the economy of a country, the basic recipe is to create an enabling environment for the local entrepreneurs as well as attract the FDI. Unfortunately, governments in Pakistan have been unable to strategize a conducive business policy, especially for foreign investors. If the current government manages to bring much-needed reforms in the business sector in the country and market such start-ups as a lucrative investment opportunity to overseas Pakistani, the economy will further benefit.