IN THIS POST:
– About Roshan Digital Accounts
– Features of Roshan Digital Accounts
– Investment Opportunities for Account Holders
– Banks Associated with the Initiative
– How to Open a Roshan Digital Account?
– Documents Required for Opening an Account
– Eligibility Criteria for Opening an Account
– Updates on the Initiative
UPDATE (Feb. 15, 2021): In just five months, foreign exchange inflows through the Roshan Digital Accounts (RDAs) have reached over $480 million, according to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir.
Providing details, Baqir added nearly $483 million have been received, so far, from around 97 countries and non-resident Pakistanis have invested $327 million in Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs). He also mentioned around 86,000 RDAs have been opened.
UPDATE (Jan.18, 2021): The federal government may offer income tax concessions to local and overseas Pakistanis for investing in Naya Pakistan Certificates and the real estate sector through its digital accounts, according to a report by the Express Tribune.
Currently, the government charges a 10 percent income tax on profits earned by overseas Pakistanis or Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) through investment in these certificates via Roshan Digital Accounts. Later, this income could be fully exempted from the tax.
For resident Pakistanis who’ve invested in Naya Pakistan Certificates through the digital accounts, the income tax rate may be reduced from 15 percent to 10 percent.
Update (September 11, 2020): The wait is over and the Roshan Digital Account Initiative has finally been launched on September 10, 2020! Learn more below.
Pakistan enters into a new era of banking with the Roshan Digital Account Initiative. It is a project launched by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for Overseas Pakistanis or Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs). Roshan Digital Accounts will make it easier for NRPs to invest directly in various sectors of the country using PKR or USD accounts after declaring their foreign remittance. So far, eight commercial banks have opted to become a part of this project. Let’s learn all about the Roshan Digital Account Initiative in detail in this post.
About Roshan Digital Accounts
Millions of Pakistanis live abroad, away from their home towns but when they consider investing their hard-earned savings in a lucrative real estate or business opportunity, most look back towards Pakistan, choosing to invest in ventures that are catered for Overseas Pakistanis. As such, most investors felt the need for a means of investing directly, without requiring a money transfer, with their request for such a service resulting in the Roshan Digital Account Initiative.
With Roshan Digital Accounts, Overseas Pakistanis will now be able to make direct investments in Pakistan from all over the world, along with availing all of the digital banking and payment facilities that are part and parcel of opening an account in a bank. Eight commercial banks are part of the initiative as of now, and they offer a completely digital process for account opening, operation, and payments, with no requirements of visiting a physical bank branch or submitting hard copies of documents for opening an account.
Opening a bank account for Overseas Pakistanis will thus become easier than ever before! This will also be the very first time in Pakistan that accounts will be opened completely via a digital platform. What’s more, account holders will eventually be able to make easy investments in various saving schemes launched by the government, including the Naya Pakistan Certificates, which will be exclusively available for investment to NRPs. These new accounts will only be funded by remuneration from abroad and will not be interconnected to the account holder’s existing accounts in Pakistan, if any.
Features of Roshan Digital Accounts for Overseas Pakistanis
Here are some of the best features of Roshan Digital Accounts:
- Remote opening and operation of the account
- Activation of the account within 2 days
- No minimum balance requirements
- Access to conventional banking services, including funds transfer and bill payments
- Both conventional as well as Sharia-compliant accounts available
- Provision of virtual Debit Card for overseas and domestic use
- Accounts can be opened for US Dollars (USD) as well as Pakistani Rupees (PKR)
- Real-time currency conversion rates for payments
- Repatriable account where funds can be sent back abroad without regulatory approvals
Investment Opportunities for Roshan Digital Account Holders
A range of investment opportunities will open up for NRPs who opt for a Roshan Digital Account with any of the banks that are part of the initiative. Eventually, Overseas Pakistanis holding an account will be able to invest in:
- Government-backed saving instruments
- Fixed deposit products offered by banks
- Pakistan’s stock market and shares
- Residential and commercial real estate
It is important to note that the first three of these investment opportunities will be launched in the first phase of the project, with real estate and mutual fund investments being considered in phase two.
One major opportunity that will become available for NRPs is an investment in the Naya Pakistan Certificates, which are to be issued by the federal government in the near future. The bonds will have maturity periods of 3 months, 6 months, 12 months/1 year, 3 years, and 5 years with attractive returns. The certificates will be available via conventional as well as Sharia-compliant banking, in both USD as well as PKR.
As per the Naya Pakistan Certificate Rules 2020, these certificates would be non-transferable, scriptless, subject to tax deductions, allow for premature encashment with a modified rate of return, and will not be automatically reinvested after maturity.
Banks Associated with the Roshan Digital Account Initiative
Eight commercial banks have partnered with the SBP to launch the Roshan Digital Account Initiative. Eligible banks include:
- Bank Alfalah
- Habib Bank Limited
- United Bank Limited
- Standard Chartered Bank
- Faysal Bank
- Muslim Commercial Bank
- Meezan Bank
- Samba Bank
How to Open a Roshan Digital Account?
While the account opening processes via all of the partnered banks are still in their trial runs, there is a consensus on how to open a Roshan Digital Account and what documents will be required to open a Roshan Digital Account.
- All of the banks mentioned above have provided their customers with an online application form that asks for some basic details.
- Submit digital copies of all of the required documents along with the form.
- Once the form has been submitted, the bank has a maximum of two days to get back to you about the status of the account after verifying all of the provided information.
- You will most probably get a call from a bank representative for verification.
- You will then be sent a confirmation email, after which, you can begin transferring money to the account.
Documents Required for a Roshan Digital Account for Non-Resident Pakistanis
You will need to submit the following documents with your Account Opening Form:
- Scanned Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC), National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP), or Pakistan Origin Card (POC)
- Scanned copies of the first two pages of your original and valid passport (Pakistani passport or international passport)
- Proof of being an NRP (including a scanned copy of your visa, entry or exit stamps, etc.)
- Proof of source of income (scanned copy of work ID or job certificate, salary slips, tax returns, etc.)
- A recent photograph
- Scanned signature on a white page
You might be asked for some other supporting documents by your chosen bank as the trial runs come to an end and the accounts become live.
Eligibility Criteria for Opening a Roshan Digital Account
A Roshan Digital Account can only be opened and operated by individuals who are 18 years of age or above, and are:
- POC holders (includes foreign nationals)
- Government employees posted abroad
Updates on the Roshan Digital Account Initiative
After going through a trial run, the Roshan Digital Account Initiative has been launched on 10th September 2020. While the SBP has ordered all of the partnering banks to make the service as seamless as possible for Overseas Pakistanis, the Naya Pakistan Certificates are also being brought forth to replace other government-backed investment options for NRPs.
Previously, the initiative was in its trial/pilot stages, but the State Bank of Pakistan had been expected to formally launch the project soon as per the details shared by Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir with Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday, 31st August 2020. All of the eight commercial banks had allowed NRPs to open up a trial account at this stage, which was to be converted into a permanent and fully functional account after the launch.
The Central Depository Company of Pakistan Limited (CDC) was also busy preparing a framework that would allow Overseas Pakistanis to conveniently invest in stocks and shares via this initiative. According to CDC CEO Badiuddin Akber, Roshan Digital Account holders will be able to trade seamlessly in the stock market once they allow their new digital bank account to be connected to their accounts with the CDC.
Looking for a digital account for individuals living in Pakistan? Easypaisa is one option that you can consider to avail all of the banking facilities, including online transactions, money transfers, bill payments, and more, without visiting a physical bank branch for opening an account.