- SBP said that unique account ownership in the country has increased to 66 million with 60% active accounts by December 2019. The target of 50 percent of accounts has been accomplished well before the deadline of 2020.
The National Financial Literacy Program (NFLP) of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) completed its third year at the end of FY20 with all the targets surpassing for the fiscal year, despite the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.
In order to address the challenge of financial exclusion, the Government of Pakistan adopted a National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in 2015. The NFIS aims to enhance formal financial access to 50 percent of the adult population by 2020. Accordingly, with the core objective to enhance access to finance in the country and encourage usage of formal banking channels, the State Bank of Pakistan took the lead in implementing the measures suggested vide the NFIS and incorporated the same in its Strategic Vision 2020. Among other measures, one major initiative was the launch of NFLP.
The NFLP program has been segmented into two components, the National Financial Literacy Program for Adults (NFLP-A) and the National Financial Literacy Program for Youth (NFLP-Y). The objectives of this program are to i) Provide financial education to around 2.6 million beneficiaries over five years, 1 million through NFLPA and 1.6 million through NFLP-Y; ii) have gender mix of 50:50, and iii) to open a bank or mobile accounts of the beneficiaries. Under NFLP-A, despite the prevailing pandemic of COVID 19, 250,000 participants were given financial education during FY20 against the target of 226,000 beneficiaries, through almost 10,000 classroom sessions and 300 street theatre programs. This comprised of 70pc participants located in a rural area with significant improvement in female participation (42pc in FY19 to 57pc in FY20). The number of participants who opened a bank or mobile account at the end of the session also showed remarkable improvement from 53pc in FY19 to 83pc in FY20. The central bank said Since the initiation of NFLP-A in August 2017, more than 600,000 adults have been imparted financial education.
Under NFLP-Y, since its inception in Oct 2018, around 300,000 students have been trained against a target of 240,000 students by the end of March 2020. This program envisages imparting financial education to three age groups 9-12 years, 13-17 years, and 18-29 years across 45 selected districts of Pakistan.
Financial inclusion has always been a challenge for Pakistan keeping in view the socioeconomic demographics, low-income levels, cultural barriers, gender inequality, low literacy levels, and the presence of informal economy prevalent in the country.
SBP said that unique account ownership in the country has increased to 66 million with 60% active accounts by December 2019. The target of 50 percent of accounts has been accomplished well before the deadline of 2020.