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KARACHI: Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) attracted fresh inflows amounted to $1.6 billion during the last calendar year (FY23).

According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), inflows under RDA continued upward momentum and increased by 29 percent during CY23. With this surge, overall RDA inflows, since its launch, reached $7.2 billion at the end of December 2023 compared to $5.576 billion in December 2022.

Number of accounts opened also recorded an increase of 27 per cent or 139,898 accounts throughout the under review year. Overall number of accounts surged to 651,057 at the end of CY23 up from 511,159 at the end of CY22.

Out of the total received funds, cumulative repatriation and local utilisation amounted was $5.98 billion, since its launch. According to SBP, as of Dec 2023, $1.538 billion has been repatriated, while $4.442 billion has been utilised locally and net repatriable liability remained at $1.215 billion at the end of CY23.

The detailed analysis of RDA revealed that out of outstanding inflows $331 million remained invested in Conventional Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPC) at the end of CY23 down from $407 million at the end of CY22.

Additionally, currently an amount of $455 million is invested in Islamic NPC, showing a slight $4 million decrease from the previous year. During 2023, investment in Roshan Equity increased from $22 million to $30 million. Balances in accounts’ inflows are $375 million and other liabilities worth $24 million.

RDA is an initiative of the SBP with support of banks to promote digitalisation in Pakistan and enables Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) to digitally open bank accounts through an online process.

The RDA provides innovative banking solutions for millions of NRPs, including Non-Resident Pakistan Origin Card (POC) holders, seeking to undertake banking, payment and investment activities in Pakistan.

For the first time in Pakistan’s history, NRPs are being provided an opportunity to remotely open an account in Pakistan through an entirely digital and online process without any need to visit a bank branch.

RDA is also a source of foreign exchange inflows for Pakistan, which is facing multiple challenges on the external front. As per estimates, the country’s external financing requirements are about $24.6 billion in FY24.

Currently, the country’s total liquid foreign exchange reserves stood at $ 13.257 billion, out of which $8.155 billion are held with SBO and net foreign reserves held by commercial banks stood at $5.102 billion as of Jan 5, 2024.

IMF board on Jan 11 has approved release of $700 million under the SBA programme to build Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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