Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that while the crisis is not over for Pakistan as yet, the country will come out of this difficult period soon.
Speaking at the launch ceremony of the ‘Pakistan Banao Certificates’ — aimed at attracting investment from eight million overseas Pakistanis to help strengthen the national economy, according to Radio Pakistan — the premier said that his government had no idea how bad the country’s economic situation was until they came into power.
“We weren’t expecting anything good at all. However, we did not have any idea how bad the situation is going to be until we actually saw it with our own eyes,” he said.
“The easiest way to bring relief was to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), like previous governments kept doing, and the other route was to go to friendly nations and ask them to lend assistance to us. That is what we did, because we needed long-term solutions,” Prime Minister Khan added.
The prime minister further told the audience that the crisis in Pakistan is not over, by any means. “However, we are on our way out of the crisis. This crisis will end when we modify our approach towards agriculture. It will end when we start tapping into our tourist spots.”
“Pakistan is blessed with a lot of tourist spots. We can have a lot of religious tourism in the country, we have sites to attract the Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and Sufi communities, this can result in billions of dollars worth of tourism,” the prime minister explained.
The prime minister reiterated that Pakistan has a lot of potential which needs to be tapped.
The prime minister invited overseas Pakistanis to come forward and enthusiastically purchase the ‘Pakistan Banao Certificates to make this scheme a success.
He said that the government has given an “attractive return on these certificates and the scheme would not only help the Pakistani diaspora to earn reasonable profit from these certificates but also extend a helping hand towards reviving the national economy at this critical juncture.”
Earlier, Minister of Finance Asad Umar had told media that the certificates would be of two maturities – one of three years at about 6.25pc return and another with five-year maturity carrying 6.75pc return. Four banks had been selected to complete the transactions, he added.
Officials said the PBCs would be payable to the Pakistani investors in their accounts maintained abroad on semi-annual basis in foreign currency with the choice of local payments in local currency. The certificates would be issued to Pakistanis with computerised national identity cards and maintaining accounts abroad, national identity cards for overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) or Pakistan origin cardholders.
The instruments could be purchased individually or jointly by the resident and non-resident Pakistanis having bank accounts abroad but it would be mandatory that funds for purchase of certificates originate from their foreign accounts and remitted through official banking channels.
The certificates have been marketed on multiple platforms including digital, electronic and print media, starting from Jan 28 to ensure maximum outreach to potential investors. Further, road-shows, awareness sessions, etc will also be held for the overseas Pakistanis in the target countries.
Officials claimed that PBCs offer more attractive returns than those available to Pakistanis abroad on instruments of similar maturity. The certificates are backed by sovereign guarantee. Responding to a question, the official said PBC would not adversely affect normal remittances from overseas Pakistanis.