Digitalisation of foreign exchange has been expanded from 8 to 13 banks and majority of the banks will be processing 88 percent of foreign exchange digitally by the end of February 2021 and 98 percent by April whereas the banks will completely discontinue paper-based submissions after June 2021. This was stated by Managing Director of State Bank of Pakistan’s Banking Services Corporation, Muhammad Ashraf Khan while speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Monday. He said that the initiative to digitise foreign exchange operations was taken to create ease for the business community by completely eradicating the paperwork and expediting the overall process which has successfully been implemented by many banks. He said that everything has been transferred from manual to digital processing and the customers have the freedom to get online any time either from their home or office to apply for delivery of remittances without any paperwork while the customers will receive updates and objections (if any) about his transaction on his/ her registered email address. While assuring full support and cooperation, he stressed that the business and industrial community must come forward to adopt the digital mode for foreign exchange in which the customers can get registered themselves and track progress of case while relevant bank staff is also intimated about the progress and history of all the transactions is also maintained in a paperless environment. Vice President KCCI Shamsul Islam Khan, in his remarks, pointed that the State Bank, in any economy, plays the role of a heart in the economic development of the country by ensuring smooth circulation of funds and it is heartening to see that the State Bank has also been responsibly playing its role in an efficient manner. “However, the growth in remittances being witnessed nowadays may not last long hence, the State Bank needs to come up with some kind of the effective policy or incentive package which encourages Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) to invest in numerous sectors of the economy,” he said. Encouraging such investments by NRPs would prove would not only help in dealing with economic crises but would also promote industrialisation and create abundant employment opportunities on long term, he added. He also stressed the need to take concrete measures for effectively dealing with the menace of smuggling which terribly hinders the legal trade and causes losses to the national exchequer. In this regard, he particularly suggested establishing a Common Industrial Zone or Common Industrial Park near Pak-Iran border where all customs duties/ taxes should be kept at minimum level. This zone should be fully equipped with required infrastructure and it would attract a large number of industrialists to set up their units and warehouses in this particular zone.