Our paper-ships of cash

In order to get not just more remittances but fetch the savings of the overseas Pakistanis too, the governments announces every six month or so this scheme or that scheme but the results are never as desired. No doubt the figures of remittances must be considered a credit of the government but they are usually more due to exchange rate variations than government effort. Secondly, for the last some years a good number of expatriates are being sent back from Middle East to their native countries and they take their gratuity or end of service benefits with them. That has increased the forex inflow too. The ever increasing cost of living in Pakistan has also contributed to increase of remittances received as the overseas Pakistanis are under constant pressure by their families to send more. The government files may be showing that number of out flow of Pakistani workers is increasing due to efforts of the government but the true fact every Pakistani living in Middle East can verify is that their number is on the decrease while Bangladeshis are increasing and so are the Indians. All schemes of the government in the name of new incentives or speedy delivery of remittances that are hailed in newspapers as the remittance bonanzas are mostly paper-boats that never float too far. The US Ambassador in Pakistan, a few years back quoted a figure of how many billions of dollars the Pakistanis had abroad, which if brought back, could pay all the international loans of Pakistan. Pakistanis are very patriotic people. For the country, they are always ready to sacrifice. But somehow that patriotism is at its lowest ebb today and very hard to encash. -JAVED, Karachi, October 31.

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