In a first, Pakistan on Thursday launched Roshan Digital Account, an online banking initiative for expatriates. 

The project, inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan, will facilitate millions of overseas Pakistanis to undertake fund transfers, bill payments and investment activities in the country, a government statement said.

It has been undertaken by the country’s central bank, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), along with commercial banks.

Non-resident Pakistanis will now be able to open an account through an entirely digital and online process, without the need to visit a bank branch, embassy or consulate.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Khan said this is a big step for overseas Pakistanis to participate in nation building. “Now Pakistanis living abroad can easily invest in their home country,” he said.

Opening a Roshan Digital Account will require a basic set of information and documents, and will take 48 hours once all documents have been submitted, according to the central bank.

A customer can choose either a foreign currency or rupee [local currency] dominated account, or both. Funds in these accounts will be fully repatriable, without the need for any regulatory approval.

At least eight million Pakistanis live abroad, with the vast majority residing in the Middle East. They sent home more than $23 billion in the fiscal year 2019-20, according to the SBP. 

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