Think tank mulls account offering for overseas Pakistanis

Published May 27, 2020
Need for demand trials in pursuit of developing the target market. emphasised. — Reuters/File
Need for demand trials in pursuit of developing the target market. emphasised. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister’s think tank on Tuesday discussed the regulatory and administrative challenges in launching savings products and digital accounts for overseas Pakistanis.

In a meeting chaired by the Adviser to PM on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh discussed the work of high-level groups, digital account offering for overseas Pakistanis with reference to its objectives, key processes, product features and key regulatory and administrative challenges.

The adviser asked the finance secretary to organise a meeting with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor to develop and discuss features, processes and allied aspects of digital account scheme with a view to reach a unified practical approach.

The meeting discussed steps taken by the finance and banking committee and sought the committee’s feedback on social safety nets. Think tank Member Sultan Ali Allana shared the committee’s proposal to improve liquidity and credit for individuals and businesses.

In addition, Shaukat Tarin and Sultan Ali Allana shared proposals on enhancing temporary relief facilities, expanding lending to small and medium enterprises and enabling demand growth through consumer lending and encouraging housing finance.

Moreover, Abdul Razzak Dawood and Dr Ishrat Husain emphasised the need for due diligence with reference to potentially adverse effects of the new scheme on existing remittances and products, the Financial Action Task Force’s concerns and harmonisation of all initiatives aimed at promotion of digital economy.

They also suggested using the lessons from the Pakistan Banao Certificate to plug potential loopholes while offering new products.

Dr Hafeez Shaikh emphasised the need for demand trials in pursuit of developing the target market. The proposal by Arif Habib for reduction of Nadra fees in the data verification process got particular endorsement from other members, as he argued that this wholly public-owned entity should not keep profit as its primary motive.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2020

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