Muscat: The Ambassador of Pakistan to Oman has encouraged all Pakistanis living across Oman to contribute to the dams fund, a Pakistan government initiative.
“I would encourage Pakistanis residing in Oman to contribute wholeheartedly, in accordance with your own ability or financial status, as the Embassy of Pakistan has partnered with Oman United Exchange (OUE) that will transfer your contributions free of cost. We are very happy to report that any amount of money, no matter how big or small, will be transferred free of charge. OUE has come forward and has said that there is no limit on the minimum amount that is being sent because usually when you send less than a specified amount, a certain fee is charged. The exchange house is spread across 12 cities of Oman so any person can go to their office and make his/her contribution,” said Ali Javed, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Sultanate.
He added that the same facility is also available to the 11,000 account holders of Habib Bank Limited in the country. Talking exclusively to the Times of Oman, the ambassador said that he has not set any specific target in this regard as people are free to contribute as much as they want to.
“I would frankly not like to set any specific target, however, in 2016, more than US$800million was remitted through banking channels from Oman. So, Pakistanis in Oman are doing exceptionally well and I also wish to acknowledge and pay homage to the blue-collar workforce, which constitutes the majority of our presence in the country,” he said.
“These are the people that are really behind these very solid remittances and therefore, considering that they are the lowest wage employees in the country, I would not like to create a situation where I would demand that they come forward and contribute a certain amount. Even if OMR1 is contributed by them, we would accept it with much gratitude,” he added.
It is to be noted that the embassy is not going to accept any cash contributions. “We have put in place a multi-layered system where the entire transaction is going to be very transparent and efficient. No person, individual, entity or organisation in this country is authorised to raise funds or to collect money for this purpose,” the ambassador said.
Moreover, the ambassador said that the transactions that are going to be sent to Pakistan are all going to be monitored by the State Bank of Pakistan and the account itself is titled as the PM-CJ Diamer Bhasha dam fund.
The appeal made by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this month calling overseas Pakistanis to contribute to the dams fund is also going to boost the foreign exchange reserves of the country.
“There is a possibility that a lot of money would be required to fulfil the government’s agenda, while also maintaining international commitment. Therefore, if people come forward and contribute towards this initiative, they can do so from any country they are residing in or can choose to have a preferable means of transaction in US dollars. When US dollars are collected, the money will of course be used towards this initiative; however, at the same time the US dollar balance of the account will improve,” the ambassador explained.