Pakistani expats send $11.38 billion home in first seven months of fiscal year

Pakistan depends greatly on workers’ remittances from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, particularly in the GCC. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Pakistani expats send $11.38 billion home in first seven months of fiscal year

KARACHI: Pakistanis working overseas have sent $11.383 billion to their homeland in the first 7 months — July to January — of the current fiscal year (FY18), the State Bank of Pakistan said in a statement on Tuesday.
That remittance has grown 3.55 percent compared to the amount remitted during the same period in the preceding fiscal year, and the statement suggested that the total remittance sent home by overseas workers in FY18 could reach $20 billion. The target set for FY18, however, was $20.7 billion.
In January 2018, the inflow of workers’ remittances amounted to $1.639 billion, which is 4.92 percent lower than December 2017, but 10.10 percent higher than January 2017.
“The economic conditions of the Middle East and localization of labor in some countries have largely affected the inflow of workers’ remittances,” Muzzamil Aslam, senior economist and CEO of EFG-Hermes Pakistan, told Arab News.
Pakistan depends greatly on workers’ remittances from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, particularly in the GCC.
According to the bank, remittances sent by workers from Saudi Arabia in FY18 amount to $2.91 billion compared to $3.16 billion in FY17. However, the amount from the UAE has marginally increased from $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion.
The bank’s statement explained that lower remittances from the GCC were “offset by an improvement in remittances from non-GCC corridors, particularly the US and UK.”
Economists believe that the potential value of home remittance to Pakistan’s economy could be as high as $34 billion, but that, currently, the unofficial channels of Hundi and Hawala — using untraceable methods including IOUs and agents — account for almost 50 percent of incoming remittance.
“The government must come up with lucrative incentives to attract remittance through official channels,” Dr. Athar Ahmed, a senior economist, said, adding: “Pakistan may face pressure in the coming days, as its workforce in some countries is being reduced.”
Aslam believes that any bottleneck in remittance could exert serious pressure on the country’s balance of payment situation. Pakistan already faces a current-account deficit of $7.6 billion, which is 4.4 percent of its GDP.


‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

Updated 24 May 2018
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‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms on Wednesday that he wanted innovation to be a driving force for the French economy, but also that they needed to contribute more to society.
The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence. He is also spearheading efforts in Europe to have digital companies pay more tax at source.
Macron’s guest-list included Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich, Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella and a raft of other big hitters in the corporate world.
“There is no free lunch,” he quipped in English to the executives lined up on the steps of the Elysee Palace for a photo call at a lunch meeting. “So I want from you some commitments.”
As Macron spoke, IBM announced it would hire about 1,400 people in France over the next two years in the fields of blockchain and cloud computing.
Ride-hailing app Uber also said it planned to offer all its European drivers an upgraded version of the health insurance it already provides in France in a drive to attract independent workers and fend off criticism over their treatment.
Macron will hold one-on-one talks with Mark Zuckerberg on tax and data privacy on the sidelines of the Tech For Good summit — a day after the Facebook chief executive faced questions from European Union lawmakers.
Those talks will be frank, an Elysee official said ahead of the meeting. While Macron will be pitching France Inc, he will also push his case for a European Union tax on digital turnover and a tougher fight against both data piracy and fake news.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network’s data policies, apologizing to leaders of the European Parliament for a massive data leak but dodging numerous questions.
Macron told the executives that business needed to do more in tackling issues such as inequality and climate change.
“It is not possible just to have free riding on one side, when you make a good business,” the French president said.