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Islamic Banking and Fintech: The Path to Boosting UAE Remittances, Experts’ Advice

Farzana Mansoor

DUBAI (UAE): The conference, titled “Remitlink23: Resilient Remittances,” was orchestrated by Dellsons Associate in collaboration with the Embassy of Pakistan in UAE and the Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group (FERG). Generous sponsorship was provided by Dubai Islamic Bank, JazzCash, and Instant Cash.
During the conference, speakers highlighted the potential for Pakistani expatriates in Dubai and other Gulf states to increase their remittances to their homeland by utilizing banking channels and taking advantage of financial institutions, government initiatives, and community development efforts.
Addressing the Resilient Remittances (RemiLink23) conference in Dubai as the chief guest, Faisal Niaz Tirmzi, Ambassador to Pakistan for UAE, said the UAE is the second largest host country in the world with over 1.6 million Pakistani nationals, and the number of Pakistani professionals coming to different states of this country is on the rise in recent months.
Pakistani professionals and workers in different states of the United Arab Emirates are resourceful, hardworking, and patriotic, having a deep sense of responsibility to serve their homeland through their valuable contribution, including sending remittances through banking channels, he said and added that the government recently took various initiatives to enhance flow of remittances which are expected to increase the use of banking channels among overseas Pakistanis.
Imad ul Malik, joint treasurer at the Foreign Exchange and Remittances Group (Ferg), said people involved in the hundi system not only deliver money to the doorstep of the recipients, but also offer advance money services to people who need it – which is big incentive for expats. “We should also have microfinance on remittances whereby funds are delivered in advance and people pay a month later,” he said.
Salman Hasan Khan, head of priority banking and PRI at Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan, said financial institutions played a crucial role in connecting overseas Pakistanis with their relatives in their homeland, but they were working continuously to facilitate the Pakistani diaspora in different states of the UAE. Khan said Pakistanis in different countries preferred Islamic banking over the interest-based system, hence there was a need to promote Sharia-based financial options with innovative technological solutions.
Ibrahim Amin, Chairman Dellsons Associates, said this conference aims to bridge the gap between stakeholders, including Government functionaries, regulators, and service providers such as banks, exchange companies, and fintechs. He said the remittances from the GCC region have a vital role in shoring up the macroeconomic indicators of the country, including the current account and the stability of the Rupee against foreign currency, hence, overseas Pakistanis and their contributions should be appreciated through facilitation and incentives.
The conference on remittance “Remitlink23: Resilient Remittances aimed at bridging the gap between Pakistani community in the UAE and different stakeholders including financial institutions and the government. In these sessions it has been explored that technological and affordable solutions along with incentives should be offered to expatriate Pakistanis in order to revive the flows of international remittances to Pakistan through banking channels while countering the illegal way of Hawala/Hundi, Tufail Ahmed Khan, CEO Dellsons Associates-UAE told The Financial Daily International on the sidelines of the conference at the Pakistan Association Dubai.
The conference also hosted a panel discussion that explained to the audience the importance of using banking channels for sending remittances to their country and its positive outcomes on their relatives regarding stability in local currency and containing inflation.
Experts from the banking and financial sectors of Pakistan and the UAE also spoke at the conference including Tufail Ahmed Khan, CEO Dellsons Associates, UAE, Osama Al Rahma, Advisor to the board, FERG UAE, Usman bin Raees COO, Instant Cash; Suleman Hasan, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer, 1LINK, Zameer Punjabi, Vice Presidents- Payments and Remittances Mashreq Bank, Omer Farooq, Head of Operations, Cash Express, Shabnam Faqeer, Independent Director, DIB Pakistan and Nominee Director, IFC, World Bank Group and others.