Points earned through settlements to be reclaimed in real money


ISLAMABAD: The govt has decided to permit redemption in cash of reward points earned by overseas Pakistanis for sending remittances back home through official channels under the National Remittance Loyalty Programme (NRLP) to be launched on Oct 1.

The decision was taken at a recent meeting of the federal cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

During a discussion on the programme, minister of finance Shaukat Tarin “requested that the choice of ECC on the NRLP be ratified with the stipulation that the points/rewards earned by the remitters can also be redeemed in cash,” said the minutes of the meeting seen by Dawn.

The cabinet approved the programme also because the minister’s request that reward points “earned by remitters under the NRLP can also be redeemed in cash”.

While presiding over the meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cupboard on Aug 11, the minister of finance had approved the NRLP, envisaging incentives for overseas Pakistanis in order that “positive trajectory of remittances” might be sustained.

“The NRLP will offer incentives/rewards to overseas Pakistanis for sending remittances to Pakistan supported points accumulation structure,” said a politician summary of the scheme.

The scheme was approved by the prime minister on July 2 and would cost the exchequer about Rs13.1bn this year.

The scheme likely to be launched with effect from Oct 1 would envisage 1 per cent reward points on an annual remittance of up to $10,000 equivalent, 1.25pc reward on up to $30,000 and 1.5pc reward points on annual remittances of quite $30,000.

Under the scheme, a remitter of $25,000 a year would be entitled to a gift of about Rs46,575 on the idea of the points accumulated by him/her. this suggests the primary $10,000 in remittance would get reward points at the speed of 1pc, followed by 1.25pc for subsequent $15,000.

An Android- and IoS-based mobile app (both in English and Urdu) has already been developed for the aim by 1-Link whose development cost has been borne by the banks.

The operating expense of the mobile app shall even be borne by the financial institutions. The remitters are going to be awarded points against each remittance transaction in accordance with the NRLP criteria as explained above. The NRLP will have three tiers — green, gold and platinum — having another and built-in feature of a “Virtual Loyalty Card”.

The remitters shall register themselves as primary users and can be ready to add one supplementary user as a beneficiary. All home remittances through formal channels are eligible under the scheme, including funds received through Roshan Digital Accounts.

Under the initiative, overseas Pakistanis shall be eligible to avail variety of services like the quantity of the awarded points under NRLP against redemption of the accumulated points.

For instance, the reward points would be available to be used against PIA tickers or payment for extra luggage on its international flights.

The Federal Board of Revenue would also entertain the accumulated reward points on duty payment on mobile phones under personal baggage, tax payment on purchase of locally manufactured vehicles or payment of duty on imported vehicles.

Likewise, the points would be redeemable against renewal of CNIC/NICOP or passport, premium payment of State life assurance , OPF’s school fee payment, and Utility Stores purchases. Separate counters would even be found out at airports for priority clearance, and banners for promotion, etc.

The financial allow the scheme — supported the idea that remitters like 25pc of remittances as of FY2021 will register for NRLP — is Rs13.107bn for FY2022.

The budget disbursement mechanism shall be an equivalent as applicable under other incentive schemes for home remittances, whereby Participating Public Sector Entities (PPSEs) may submit their claims with the depository financial institution of Pakistan through 1-Link after verification of claims. The SBP will directly disburse funds to eligible PPSEs after receipt of funds from the finance ministry.

Remittances have always been considered a backbone of the economy and are given special attention since almost 10 years with the introduction of the Pakistan Remittance Initiative and follow-up efforts to urge overseas Pakistanis to send remittances through formal channels.

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