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Pakistan to allow Afghan refugees open local Bank accounts- How it influences Afghanistan’s economy?

By: Hamayun Khan

Recently Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan announced the allowance of the registered Afghan refugees residing in the country to create local bank accounts. The Prime minister said that this would be a beneficial step in order to put an end to the ongoing economic predicaments of Pakistan.

The country is home for nearly 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees which makes Pakistan the largest refugee-hosting country in the World.

Earlier the refugees used to merely rely on the informal platforms of transactions and trade-related activities, as they were prohibited from being involved in transactions through official channels.

The United nation-high commission for Refugees (UNHCR) also commented and praised this step of Pakistan. “I commented Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government and people Pakistan for taking this important step in support of the Afghan refugees – a forward-looking gesture of solidarity of global significance,” said UNHCR Chief Filippo Grandi.

This will help Pakistan boost its economic growth through the investment of money by The refugees, further, they can have their extended family members, living abroad, send money through formal banking channels.

If the current economic scenario of Pakistan as compared to a decade ago it has been deteriorated detrimentally, due to the outpace repatriation of the Afghan refugees to Afghanistan in a large number, the presence of refugees had been contributing Pakistan’s economy as they were involved in labor activities working for less rate of wages.

In order to overcome those turning points, Imran Khan made several visits to the middle eastern, gulf, western countries and China in order to receive financial aids to cease the crisis.

However, the International monitory fund (IMF) and the United States also refused to provide Pakistan funds, nonetheless, the all-weather ally China a few months ago availed Pakistan $2.5 billion to put out the current deficits. Furthermore, The KSA crown Muhammad bin Salman’s recent visit to Pakistan contributed $20 billion as an investment in Pakistan which is believed to be beneficial for Pakistan to put out the economic predicaments.

Even so, The Prime minister’s instructions of allowing the refugees will be profit-making for the country, but on the other hand, this will be a red signal for the gross national product(GNP) of Afghanistan. Here is how?

  • Firstly, a large number of Afghan refugees residing in Pakistan are having various jobs in Afghanistan, whereas the money earned by them is considerably spent in Pakistan which means taking Afghanistan’s money and putting them in Pakistan’s Banks.
  • Secondly, refugees who are working as labors in Pakistan also tend to spend the earnings over there itself. Hence, they should be repatriated to Afghanistan so that they can work in Afghanistan as well as their earnings will be spent in Afghanistan which will be a great contribution to the economy of Afghanistan.
  • Moreover, there are hundreds of lakhs of Afghan refugees who are running businesses, Cars business is one of them, they buy car spare parts that are imported from Dubai to Afghanistan via Iran, assemble them and resell them in Pakistan. This practice is definitely yielding for those businessmen and Pakistan, but in the context of Afghanistan, it is considered to be harmful.

The Afghan government and the concerning authorities must take this issue into consideration and provide livelihood facilities for Afghan refugees to repatriate to Afghanistan. It is to be heeded if this issue is neglected It will have a detrimental impact on the gross domestic product (GNP) and current account of Afghanistan as few of them pointed out above. On the other hand, refugees must also attempt to come back to their homeland to contribute in the rebuilding of the country, otherwise, if they intend to create bank accounts over there, this will be a betrayal to Afghanistan.

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