Pak­istan launches Na­tional Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Strat­egy

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Pak­istan on Tues­day for­mally launched its Na­tional Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Strat­egy (NFIS) in the pres­ence of World Bank Pres­i­dent Jim Yong Kim. The United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral's Spe­cial Ad­vo­cate for In­clu­sive Fi­nance for De­vel­op­ment (UNSGSA), Queen M xima of the Nether­lands and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ishaq Dar was present on the oc­ca­sion.

Pak­istan has de­vel­oped and launched its Na­tional Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Strat­egy (NFIS) last year and its ob­jec­tive was to en­hance for­mal fi­nan­cial ac­cess to 50 per­cent of the adult pop­u­la­tion by 2020. Speak­ing on the oc­ca­sion, the World Bank Pres­i­dent Jim Yong Kim, said that Pak­istan has a great op­por­tu­nity to be­come more am­bi­tious in re­form­ing its econ­omy so that more peo­ple are lifted out of poverty more quickly and pros­per­ity is more widely shared among its peo­ple.

He noted that the govern­ment had sta­bi­lized the econ­omy over three tough years, Kim said he had dis­cussed in meet­ings with the prime min­is­ter and fi­nance min­is­ter about the im­por­tance of press­ing for­ward with re­forms that would un­lock the coun­try's po­ten­tial. "Now is the mo­ment for Pak­istan to step up to a higher level of growth and op­por­tu­nity for all its peo­ple," said Kim.

"In my meet­ings with the prime min­is­ter and fi­nance min­is­ter, we dis­cussed go­ing to a higher level of am­bi­tion for re­forms for the econ­omy. Th­ese could in­clude strength­en­ing the role of the pri­vate sec­tor for job cre­ation, ac­cel­er­at­ing en­ergy re­forms, mak­ing im­prove­ments at the com­mu­nity level for health and education, and en­sur­ing that anti-poverty mea­sures are ef­fec­tive at reach­ing poor peo­ple," he re­marked. Kim made his com­ments on the first day of his two-day visit to Pak­istan af­ter meet­ings in Is­lam­abad with the govern­ment lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing eco­nomic min­is­ters and sec­re­taries from pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments.

Kim par­tic­i­pated in a State Bank of Pak­istan launch event for WBG sup­port to Pak­istan's fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion re­form agenda, "Pak­istan's Path to­wards Uni­ver­sal Fi­nan­cial Ac­cess." "The Na­tional Fi­nan­cial In­clu­sion Strat­egy has come at a par­tic­u­larly op­por­tune mo­ment as new tech­nol­ogy and the rapid ex­pan­sion of branch­less bank­ing of­fer un­prece­dented op­por­tu­ni­ties to trans­form fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion in Pak­istan. Pak­istan is now lead­ing the way in South Asia when it comes to dig­i­tal fi­nance and branch­less bank­ing", said Kim.

Kim also par­tic­i­pated in a panel dis­cus­sion on "Man­ag­ing Dis­placed Pop­u­la­tions" and learnt how the coun­try man­aged a large Afghan refugee pop­u­la­tion. The event was co-or­ga­nized by the World Bank, the Eco­nomic Affairs Divi­sion and UN­HCR, in the con­text of the con­tin­u­ing global refugee cri­sis. "There is much the world can learn from Pak­istan, which has for decades hosted refugees from other coun­tries or had to cope with tem­po­rar­ily dis­placed peo­ple within its own bor­ders," said Kim. "We are com­mit­ted to sup­port the Govern­ment of Pak­istan in repa­tri­at­ing the cri­sis af­fected dis­placed peo­ple through the newly ef­fec­tive cash trans­fer pro­ject."

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