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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar here on Thursday supervised the test run of Mobile Wallets-an initiative of the federal government that aims to provide cashless banking to some seven million female Ehsaas Programme beneficiaries.

The test demonstration took place at an Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme campsite in collaboration with partnering banks of Ehsaas-Habib Bank Limited and Bank Alfalah.

The idea of mobile money accounts is linked to the Ehsaas Kafalat Programme under 'One Woman One Bank Account Policy.'

Ehsaas Kafaalat is the government's safety net programme through which it gives cash stipends to seven million most deserving and poorest women all over the country. The Mobile Wallets will offer the option to Ehsaas beneficiaries to subsequently transfer funds from designated limited mandate accounts to their Mobile Wallet for further utilization. This model will include a full-scale cashless and branchless banking saving accounts for beneficiaries, with the aim of being responsive to the needs of the beneficiaries.

"Through this innovative cash withdrawal facility, beneficiaries of Ehsaas Kafaalat will be able to open Mobile Wallets that will serve as fully functional branchless banking accounts", Sania Nishtar told the media at the Mobile Wallets test run site. "This in turn will pave the way for deepening of the digital financial ecosystem through improved service offerings for saving, borrowing, and risk mitigation."

Nishtar also met partnering banks' agents and Ehsaas Emergency Cash beneficiaries present there, listened to their concerns and gave on spot instructions to Ehsaas officials to facilitate them for easy cash transfers.

Following the upcoming closure of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme on August 31, 2020, the government plans to immediately reopen NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) registration desks for Ehsaas Programme beneficiaries across 15 districts of Pakistan whereas the registration desks in 60 districts would be reopened on September 15, 2020, so that no deserving person is left out from the Ehsaas programme, Dr Nishtar said.

"Keeping in view the planned closure of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme on August 31, 2020, I am reaching out to the wider national audience every morning this week through a national hook up radio programme, Raabta. I listen to the queries of Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme beneficiaries from far flung areas of the country and educate them about the supplementary measures being taken under Ehsaas to expedite payments in the field," she added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020