In a bid to encourage the use of formal channels for remittances, Pakistan’s caretaker government has set aside Rs 80 billion to support various schemes related to home remittances.

Pakistan’s caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar, during a press conference, announced that the government has released an amount of Rs 20 billion to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in this regard. She urged overseas Pakistanis to use formal channels for sending remittances home and assured that the government would ensure that the process of sending remittances through banks, financial institutions, and public sector entities is hassle-free.

The minister gave details of different schemes for which the fund will be used. Under the first scheme, the remitter or recipient will not be charged any kind of fee for home remittances of over $100.

The second scheme is the Sohni Dharti Remittance Program (SDRP), which is a point-based loyalty scheme for remitters who work abroad and send money to their loved ones in Pakistan through banking channels or exchange companies. This is a unique and first-ever smartphone application available in English and Urdu language that tracks and updates every remittance sent home and awards remitters with reward points, which can be redeemed for free-of-cost services at multiple Public Service Entities.

Remitters will earn reward points based on a certain percentage of every remittance one sends.

The third scheme is for exchange companies and was introduced in 2020. The fourth scheme aims to incentivize marketing home remittances. Under this scheme, awareness initiatives will be undertaken to apprise the public of the benefits of sending remittances through formal channels.

The minister also announced a lucky draw scheme for high-remitting individuals under which winners will be given cash prizes.

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