PM expresses commitment to include poor segments of the society in formal economy

Army Chief Calls on PM Imran Khan, holds strategic, security dialogue

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Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday launched Pakistan’s first instant payment system – Raast – to enable end-to-end digital payments among individuals, businesses and government entities instantaneously.

The Prime Minister while addressing the gathering termed the launch a major step forward by the State Bank of Pakistan towards Digital Pakistan and said it would help include the low income groups and make them part of the mainstream economy. He was optimist that it would go a long way in fighting poverty, particularly in the rural areas.

Raast is part of Prime Minister Imran Khan Digital Pakistan vision to include poor segments of the society in formal economy.

The Pakistan’s Faster Payment System, Raast, would be used not only to settle small-value retail payments in real time but also provide cheap and universal access to all players in the financial industry including banks and fintechs.

Imran Khan said the instant payment system would not only document the economy, but also generate more taxes to help build the country. He regretted that only two million people in a country of 220 million paid taxes, which was not enough to build hospitals, schools and provide other basic facilities of life for the common man. He said only 3000 of the tax payers, pay 70% of the tax.
He said Pakistan’s foreign remittances have been constantly on the rise for the past five months, and has helped stabilize the Pakistan Rupee. He said after a gap of 17 years Pakistan’s current account has gone into surplus and, lowered pressure on Pakistan Rupee and played a key role in strengthening the national economy. Any pressure on dollar raises the cost of commodities – like edible oil, ghee, pulses etc imported for the common man, he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said with increase in revenue collection, the government would create extra space for the government in spending on the human development – education, health, clean drinking water.
He said Pakistan was amongst one the top countries with highest growth rates in the region, but today it was left behind. He hoped a move towards Digital Pakistan would help put Pakistan back on track.
Khan said the people in Pakistan were used to cash economy, however now it was time to move forward.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the program would help give a boost to the Ehsaas program; particularly its mobile wallet and extend its reach to the women in the rural areas. He said his government was working for the empowerment of rural women folk and have been included in various economic activities.
Prime Minister Imran Khan extended gratitude to Queen Maxima of the Netherlands specially for inclusion of women in financial inclusion, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their support in the launch of the program, also for Polio eradication, and the World Bank for its role in the launch.
Queen Maxima appreciated Pakistan on the launch of the instant payment system, effective strategy to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Ehsaas program for women empowerment.

According to the data available with the State Bank of Pakistan, digital payments only account for 0.2% of Pakistan’s 100 billion transactions today, whereas the share of digital transactions in the peer countries ranges from 1.5% to 7%.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad today (Monday).Director General ISI Lt. General Faiz Hamid was also present. National Security situation was discussed during the meeting.The unfortunate Mach, Balochistan incident was highly condemned. it was resolved that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.The continuous human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir and the frequent ceasefire violations over the Line of Control also came under discussion.

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