[Business Recorder 25 April, 2019]

KARACHI: Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) are facing issues for operating bank accounts in Pakistan due to limited banking services. Sources in banking sector told Business Recorder on Wednesday that banks are receiving a lot of complaints from NRPs that present regulations/conditions for NRP accounts are discouraging overseas Pakistanis to open bank accounts and remit funds to Pakistan.

They informed that as per Chapter 8 of Foreign Exchange (FE) Manual there are some major restrictions on NRP accounts which are not applicable on accounts opened by Pakistani nationals. NRPs are also reluctant to open and operate accounts in Pakistan due to these restrictions.

As regulations, banks are allowed to issue ATM cards as well as supplementary ATM cards to the individual non-resident rupee account holders, however, the withdrawals through ATM cards is only allowed in Pakistan. In this case, this ATM is useless outside Pakistan and NRPs are even unable to use their own money outside the country. Therefore, NRPs are hesitating to open and send money to Pakistan to their bank accounts, industry sources said.

Secondly, transactions through Internet Banking are blocked for NRPs customers and they can only view their account balance, while all other resident Pakistani nationals can enjoy all the funds transfer and bill payment facilities via Internet and Mobile Banking. In addition, for every transaction that NRPs do in their account, exceptions of a few, banks are required to submit Form A-7.

They have suggested State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) that these anomalies or restrictions should be addressed immediately so banks can treat NRPs with the respect and like any other Pakistani. Sources said that NRPs are motivated to open accounts in Pakistan and use them freely like any other account holders, however due to these restrictions many NRPs are hesitating in opening NRP accounts.