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I would like to congratulate State Bank of Pakistan for achieving another major milestone of our National Financial Inclusion and Payment System Strategy with the launch of the groundbreaking Instant Payment System of Pakistan, Raast.

Raast will especially benefit those segments of the population that have traditionally remain excluded from the formal financial sector. Now, with the necessary infrastructure in place, we are also looking forward to digitize our government-to-people payments as part of our Ehsaas programme, digitizing bulk payments and incentivizing use of this system. I urge all banks and other financial system stakeholders to take full advantage of Raast and use this world-class technology to benefit the unserved and underserved poor population in the country. It is my conviction that when poor people come into the folds of the formal economy, they are more likely to graduate out of poverty.

Inclusive economic growth can come from financial inclusion, for which digital financial services and e-commerce are instrumental ingredients.

Earlier in September 2020, we launched the Roshan Digital Accounts, a pioneering facility for non-resident Pakistanis to remotely open accounts through an entirely digital and online process. I am happy to see that SBP is utilizing technology and innovation to promote digitization of payments and the overall economy. I must also commend SBP for their prompt actions during COVID 19 pandemic.

I am aware that initiatives of the State Bank of Pakistan will go a long way in realizing the vision of a digitally inclusive financial system for the country.

The launch of Raast is a big stride towards achieving greater efficiency in sending and receiving payments and ensuring transparency. I would like to thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and their executing partner Karandaaz Pakistan for their support in turning this vision into a reality.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021