KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on Saturday that a new, faster payment gateway will be launched next year to facilitate instant transfer of funds.
The SBP organised a workshop titled ‘Digital Payments Reforms’ in collaboration with the World Bank at its headquarters in Karachi.
The objective was to share the draft National Payment Systems Strategy and solicit the input of key stakeholders involved in its implementation.
Addressing the workshop, SBP Governor Reza Baqir shared his plans for leading an aggressive adoption and implementation of the National Payment Systems Strategy in the country and emphasised that interoperability is the key to achieving digitisation goals.
He identified government and merchant receipts/settlements to be the key elements in accelerating digitisation of payments in the country.
Baqir also noted the need for reducing the high cost, especially the interchange fee and urged all stakeholders to work collaboratively for increasing digital access points.
The workshop was attended by senior officials from Pakistan Telecom Authority, National Database and Registration Authority, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, the PM office’s Strategic Reforms and Implementation Unit, banks, telcos, electronic money institutions, payment service operators/providers and fintechs.
Baqir stressed the need for rapid digitisation of payments in order to realise the full benefits for economy as cash is still the most preferred mode for our routine transactions.
“The heavy reliance on cash and the limited use of digital channels reduces economic efficiency, hinders financial and economic development and impedes the goal of documenting the economy,” he said.
To address these issues, he stressed the importance of building a modern and robust payment system which enables the provision of cost effective and easily available digital financial services to the general public.
Stakeholders who attended the meeting also shared their suggestions for increasing the pace of digitisation of payments.
Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2019