Karachi, April 25, 2019: Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) are facing serious issues due to present State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) regulations when they open or operate bank accounts in Pakistan.
Bankers said that SBP regulations are discouraging NRPs to open bank accounts and remit funds to Pakistan.
There are some four major restrictions on NRP accounts according to Chapter 8 of FE Manual which is not applicable on accounts opened by Pakistani nationals.
As per regulations, NRPs are not allowed to get a Visa/Master Debit Card. They can only be issued a local ATM card (which is useless outside Pakistan). If they cannot use their OWN money why would they send money here in Pakistan to their bank accounts?
In addition, for every transaction that they do in their account, the exception of a few, the bank needs to submit Form A7, any kind of transactions. Transactions through Internet Banking has been blocked for NRP customers.
NRPs can only view their account balance, while all other resident Pakistani nationals can enjoy all the funds’ transfer and bill payment facilities via the Internet and Mobile Banking.
Third Party Cash Withdrawals cannot be made due to the restricted nature of transactions, whereas this is a very common transaction by all Pakistani account holders. So they cannot give a check to their maids, drivers and relatives to withdraw payment and hence we are actually promoting Hawala/Hundi.
All Transfer / Clearing Transactions (both Debits & Credits) should be accompanied with Form ‘A 7’ signed by NRPs and can only be done for the allowed set of purposes be in line with FE Manual Chapter 8. This seems illogical as NRP sitting outside Pakistan has to visit Pakistan every time they want to do a transaction.
Bankers have asked SBP that these restrictions should be immediately withdrawn so NRPs, like any other Pakistani, are encouraged and motivated to open up accounts in Pakistan and use them freely like any other account holders.
Due to the above reasons, many banks hesitate in opening NRP accounts and as a result, we actually discourage NRPs to keep their funds in Pakistan and it also affects Pakistan capability to attract foreign remittances.
Banks are also receiving a lot of complaints from NRPs in this regard.