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SBP introduces Non-Resident Pakistani Rupee Value Accounts

The account will enable non-resident Pakistanis to invest in stock exchange and real estate in Pakistan

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has introduced a separate category of PKR Account named “NRP Rupee Value Account (NRVA)” in order to facilitate overseas Pakistani for making investments in Pakistan.

Through this sort of bank account, expatriate Pakistanis as well as resident Pakistanis having assets in different countries can invest in the government bonds mainly issued in foreign currency.

Besides, the account will enable expatriate Pakistanis to invest in the stock exchange in Pakistan, residential and commercial real estate, and term/remunerative deposit products of commercial banks on a repatriable basis.

The accounts can be opened and operated through digital channels with the required documentation.

Foreigners, except those who have obtained a work visa/permit to work in Pakistan, and firms or companies that are incorporated or registered outside Pakistan will be able to make use of the NRVAs.

Banks Facilities to NRVAs Holder

Banks will be allowed to let NRPs open joint accounts with other residents and non-residents as per banking practices and laws. However, these accounts will be treated as non-resident accounts.

As per regulations, banks may also issue cheque books if required. They are also required to enable operations in the account through digital channels such as mobile banking, ATM or debit cards. Supplementary ATM or debit cards may also be issued as per banking practices.

However, if the debit cards are used internationally, the settlement will be the responsibility of the authorized dealer through the interbank. Moreover, in the case of dormancy, authorized dealers are to devise a mechanism that allows the account holders to reactivate their account digitally.

Credits allowed in such accounts include, remittance received from abroad through banking channels, transfer of funds from holders’ Foreign Currency Value Account (FCVA), from other NRVAs with the same authorized dealer and proceeds from disinvestment, sale or maturity of assets in Pakistan.

Account-holders will be allowed to withdraw or make payments in Pakistani rupee to any person in Pakistan, however, any amount paid will not be allowed to be credited back into the account.

In addition, remittances and payments outside Pakistan are to be limited to the extent of balance available in the account. The account holder will not need prior approval from the bank or the SBP, except in the case of investment in real estate.

According to SBP, the minimum investment period in real estate will be three years. Following the completion of three years, investors will be able to repatriate the full amount of sale proceeds of the investment in property.

However, if an investor wishes to disinvest before three years, they can repatriate funds up to the lower of the amount of sale proceeds, or the principal investment amount in Pakistani rupee on the date of investment. The differential amount and profit or return earned, however, can be repatriated after the culmination of three years from the date of investment. The differential can also be invested in other eligible securities from NRVA.

The funds for the above investments shall be transferred by the banks only in the eligible products, through the instructions received from the account holder in this behalf.

The account holders will be able to invest in permissible securities, transfer funds to the account holder’s own NRP Rupee Value Account with the same bank, transfer to other foreign exchange Pakistani rupee account, and non-resident rupee account with any bank in Pakistan.

They will be allowed to remit and pay outside Pakistan to the extent of their balances available in the account without any prior approval from the bank or SBP. Cash withdrawals in foreign currency and equivalent local currency and payment in Pakistani rupee to any person resident in Pakistan are allowed. However, the amount is not to be credited back into the account.

It is expected that the country may receive investments from expatriate Pakistanis in the profitable investment products offered through government bonds or through bank products. This will further stir up the ailing economy towards recovery and growth and boost investment markets such as real estate.

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