Survey shows confidence of overseas Pakistanis growing in RDAs

Our Correspondent
Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

KARACHI: The number of depositors in Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA) has reached 400,000 mark, the central bank said on Wednesday, mostly led by investment in capital market and realty and remittances for family financial support, showing expats’ trust in this scheme, launched in September 2020, is growing by the day.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has recently conducted a satisfactory survey between March 24- April 11, 2022, of 10,000 RDA customers.

Out of this 9,777 RDA customers from 116 countries responded to the survey. Of this total, 70 percent is using RDA to support family, 11 percent for stock market investment, and 22 percent utilised it for real estate investment, according to the details of the survey.

Out of the total depositors, 36 percent belong to Saudi Arabia, 23 percent UAE and 10 percent are from EU+UK. Out of that total, 23 percent are permanent residents and 5 percent temporary.

The survey found that 71 percent of the respondents were satisfied with various aspects of making investments via RDA while 67 percent were happy with the timely payment of profit and disinvestment proceeds. The survey findings revealed that 65 percent consumers were content with the visibility of the exchange rate on the conversion of funds.

RDA set an all-time high for deposits from overseas Pakistanis, as it received more than $50 million in a single day (Tuesday).

“Today marks yet another historic day in Roshan Digital Account, with $57 million in deposit inflows, the highest ever daily figure. With this significant increase, total deposits in RDA have crossed $4.5 billion,” the State Bank of Pakistan’s official Twitter handle said.

“We are humbled by the continuous trust and commitment of our Overseas Pakistanis,” it added.

Pakistan received $4.525 billion inflows through RDA as of June 21. These funds stood at $4.356 billion till the end of May. The non-resident Pakistanis (NRPs) from 175 countries opened 416,837 accounts.

These accounts were 403,750 at the end of April. However, RDA inflows fell 22.85 percent to $189 million in May. Though the SBP didn’t reveal the latest numbers on investments made in the Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs), the available data showed that from September 2020 to the end of May 2022, the total investment made via NPCs amounted to $2.9 billion, with $1.5 billion invested in the conventional NPCs and $1.3 billion in Islamic certificates.

The NRPs invested $39 million in the stock market. The increase in RDA is a healthy sign for Pakistan as these inflows help support the country’s foreign exchange reserves at a time when the country is struggling with dried external financing amid a delay in the revival of the International Monetary Fund loan programme.

The reserves held by the SBP fell by $241 million or 2.6 percent to $8.99 billion as of June 10—enough to cover 1.32 months of imports. The country’s trade deficit widened by an alarming 57.85 percent year-on-year to an all-time high at $43.33 billion during the 11 months of this fiscal year fueled by higher imports.

The import bill increased 44.28 percent to $72.18 billion in (July to May) FY2022. Exports increased 27.78 percent to $28.84 billion.

The widening of the current account deficit and increasing external debt repayments indicate increased pressure on the forex reserves, adding to worries about the balance of payments that are dragging the local currency to record lows.

With the falling reserves, the SBP has no ample ammunition to defend the rupee. The country recorded a current account deficit of $13.8 billion in 10 months of FY2022 against $543 million a year ago.