EDITORIAL- Pakistan Observer: Despite being major contributors to the economy, it is lamentable that overseas Pakistanis have been facing a host of problems including grabbing of their properties back in their homeland. While we appreciate Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for immediately taking notice of the situation and ordering establishment of overseas police stations for redressal of their complaints, the trend of grabbing their properties will only discourage the expatriates to remit and more so invest their money in the country.
These remittances, which over the years have witnessed growth has in fact helped the country support the balance of payments and reduce trade deficit. These are primarily sent by expatriates to support their families back home and not much of this inflow is invested except in properties.
Given the mammoth figure of expatriates working in different countries especially the Gulf, there is no doubt that these remittances can be doubled in no time if the government provides an enabling environment especially to those Pakistanis who want to invest in different productive sectors of the economy. For this the government needs to announce special incentives besides opening one window facility for them so that they can invest their money in any sector of their choice without any hiccup.
There are many well off expatriates who want to return to the country and invest in different sectors but prevailing environment and corrupt system is discouraging them from doing so. We urge both federal and provincial governments to see the matter in a wider perspective and create necessary pull factors in order to attract investment from expatriates. This will not only help us address the problem of unemployment but also reduce our reliance on foreign lenders.
Besides, we will urge relevant authorities to focus more on training of youth in different technical skills to meet growing demand of skilled and semi-skilled work force and in order to bolster our share in the Gulf countries.