ISLAMABAD: A lobbying group of small traders has voiced concerns over slowdown in the flow of remittances, terming it damaging for the national economy.
“The government should find new markets for labour and take necessary steps to boost remittances, which are necessary to offset the impact of import bill,” said Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Patron Shahid Rasheed Butt in a press release on Friday.
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He called the remittances a lifeline for the economy, which was facing dwindling exports, reduced investments and multiple growth challenges.
In the first four months (July-October) of current fiscal year, the remittances sent home by overseas Pakistanis fell 3.8% to $6.258 billion compared to the corresponding period of previous year.
“Remittances can go down further after president-elect Donald Trump starts implementing his policies; many Pakistanis can opt to leave America to come back home or settle elsewhere, which will have a negative impact on the flow of remittances,” he said.
More than six million Pakistanis are working abroad, sending back home about $20 billion per annum, which helps the government bridge the trade gap as “we consume more than what we produce”.
Butt pointed out that remittances had been growing by 15% per annum for six years but latest figures showed a decline, which was enough to spark concerns about stability of the economy.
The trade leader asked the government to improve functions of the departments dealing with manpower export and those responsible for the welfare of expatriates as complaints were pouring in about the apathy of different quarters.
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“Law enforcing agencies should be able to distinguish between employment promoters and human smugglers and should not harass those who are responsible for bringing foreign exchange and reducing unemployment in the country.”
He noted that growth in remittances had always been higher than growth in exports despite best efforts of the government and private sector to give a boost to the latter.
He suggested that the government should establish training institutes as the country was failing to meet the demand for skilled labour at home and overseas, otherwise the issue of economic stability would resurface soon.
Courtesy : Express Tribune