Pakistan expatriates worried about falling rupee

‘We will have to remit more money to help our families cope with the situation,” says expats in the UAE

Dubai: Pakistani expatriates are worried about the plunging rupee, saying it will ruin their investments and make life difficult for their families back home.

The news of eight per cent devaluation of Pakistani rupee against dollar in just one day on Tuesday came as a shock to overseas Pakistanis who say that ‘life will be tough for their families back home’ and now they will have to remit more money to help them cope with increasing prices of commodities. The rupee fell to all time low to 35.6 against the UAE Dirham on Tuesday. The rupee has plunged by 26 per cent since December 2017, leading to inflation and massive price hike.

Iqbal Dawood, President of Pakistan Business Council in Dubai, told Gulf News that devaluation was expected but not this much. “We are worried because the exports from Pakistan would cost much more now. It will have huge impact on trading,” he said.

Dawood, however, said it is a short term ‘shock’, but will lead to long-term stability in the country. “Overseas Pakistani should help their country by remitting more money.”

Malik Zaheer Awan, an Abu Dhabi based businessman, said that the government is under immense pressure because of debt payments and is forced to take tough decision to salvage itself from economic crisis.

“We, the overseas Pakistanis, will have to come forward and invest in Pakistan by sending foreign remittances, but so far the government has ignored us as there are no incentives announced for us,” he said, adding that lack of trust between the government and the overseas Pakistani will further deteriorate the economic situation.

Suhail Khawar, a Sharjah-based businessman, said that he imports foodstuff from Pakistan and the cost of import has already increased a lot. “We now get more money in Pakistan through our foreign remittance but the cost of commodities and their transportation have gone much higher,” he said.

Haji Mohammad Yaseen, who is one of the largest importers of fruit and vegetables, and foodstuff from Pakistan said he is worried that his customers here would have to pay more to buy Pakistani products. “Profit margins will reduce and it will have negative impact on our businesses,” he said.

Raja Ikram, former banker and businessman in Dubai, said that falling rupee would lead to price hike and inflation and put more burden on overseas Pakistanis as they will have to remit more money to their families. “Expatriates will have to help their country by sending remittances through legal banking channels,” he said.

Shahid Khan, a Dubai resident, said salaried persons in Pakistan would face tough task to make both ends meet due to more inflation as there is no increase in salaries. “Expatriates are now remitting more money to buy properties back home but those who already invested in the real estate are suffering huge losses due to rupee devaluation. He said that government should take overseas Pakistanis into confidence to attract investment from them.”

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