State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir while chairing the fourth meeting of stakeholders on the digital financial ecosystem, suggested for the creation of working groups to address issues related to taxation in digital financial services, integration of government agencies with Raast instant payment system and the access to seamless internet connectivity for citizens across the country.
Raast is Pakistan’s first instant digital payment system, which will include poor segments of the society in the formal economy and will enable secure, fast, efficient, and transparent financial transactions. It will enable end-to-end digital payments among individuals, businesses, and government entities instantaneously.
SBP issued a statement saying that the goal of these meetings was to accelerate the agenda on promoting digital financial services in Pakistan and support coordination in cross-cutting issues.
The way forward in the digital financial services like open banking was discussed and it was agreed to establish a forum to propose recommendations in these areas in line with international best practices, it added.
Cross-cutting issues related to the National Database and Registration Authority, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the Federal Board of Revenue were also discussed by Reza Baqir during the meeting.
The SBP governor lauded the stakeholders’ support, specifically the support offered to the SBP by the World Bank, FBR and financial institutions, in moving forward the drive for the digital financial services. The forum was also briefed about the significant progress made on Raast and developments on its integration.
On Monday, the central bank and Controller General of Accounts Pakistan (CGAP) agreed to digitise the federal government payments via RAAST.
A press release issued by SBP said that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed with CGAP on the issue.
Under the agreement, the SBP will start a pilot phase to transfer salaries and pensions of a group of federal government employees via RAAST.
“The payroll and pension-roll data will be shared from the CGAP’s system to SBP’s RAAST through a highly-secured interface, and payments to the beneficiaries’ accounts will be made instantly after validating the beneficiaries’ detail,” said the press release.
“After the pilot run, the facility will be rolled out to cover all the salaries, pension as well as supplier payments of the federal and provincial governments,” said the press release.
This move is aimed at making life easy for the pensioners who otherwise had to wait for long hours at banks to cash their benefits cheques. Payments under Raast will land directly in their bank accounts, which can be withdrawn with easy anytime.