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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi said for Pakistan, a big leap in digital technology was important to directly improve its economy and make progress in public service delivery.

The president stressed that by leveraging digital technology, the country could explore advanced avenues of business in the revolutionalised world.

Addressing here at a seminar on “Digital System for public Welfare: weaknesses and remedies”, the president said Pakistan needed to make early decisions in technology and keep pace with the fast-changing world.

President Alvi said the country needed a “full-throttle acceleration” on expanding digitalisation in areas of public service delivery, including online banking.

Lauding the talent of the nation, he said the country was “standing on the gold mine of people”.

He said learning knowledge about FinTech (financial technology) and artificial intelligence could prove as a catalyst to progress.

He said taking initiative in learning and getting the edge in technology was of foremost importance.

In this regard, he emphasized working on intellectual ideas and early decisions on implementing digitalisation strategy in diverse areas.

President Alvi, however, stressed that besides digitalisation, the stakeholders needed to guide the consumers not to fall victim to online scams.

He said scams could not be averted completely, however, their proportion to the delivery of services was important.

He emphasized controlling online scams and frauds through continuous effort, including targeted messaging.

He highlighted how effectively the 130 million targeted cellular texts on early prevention of breast cancer successfully relayed a powerful message among the general public.

The president said the people had already adopted mobile phone technology, and there was a need to guide them about the benefits of advanced technology.

He said that older people were more susceptible to online fraud and needed to be educated about it.

President Alvi recalled how the Covid-19 pandemic forced the nation to engage in e-learning and in various online projects.

Executive Director State Bank of Pakistan Syed Sohail Javaad presented a comparison of the modern banking system for the period 2012 to 2022. He informed that in 2012 only 1.4 million customers used digital banking, whereas, in 2022, their number increased to 12.4 million.

He said transactions worth almost Rs11 trillion were conducted in the year 2022 and added that the number of transactions had increased from 12 million in 2012 to 141 million in 2022.

He apprised that the number of ATMs had increased from 5,500 to 17,000, while the SBP had issued NOCs to five digital banks.

Banking Mohtasib of Pakistan Muhammad Kamran Shehzad said despite the advancements in technology and digitalisation of the banking sector, people in rural areas were deprived of digital banking services, and were not aware of digital banking frauds.

He stated that customers should not share their personal banking information on telephones to avoid becoming victims of online fraud. He informed that since the establishment of the Banking Mohtasib of Pakistan, relief worth Rs5 billion had been provided to the complainants.

Secretary General Pakistan Banks Association Taufeeq Hussain said that as a tool of financial inclusion, digital banking had become an integral part of the financial sector and was altogether different from traditional banking.

He said digital banking played a critical role in the existing banking system, adding that it was convenient, efficient, speedy and cost-effective.

The event was attended by representatives of commercial and digital banks, media, and the business community.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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