Raast Program

31

The government of Pakistan has recently launched a new government-run instant digital payment system in a bid to lift financial inclusion and government revenue. The ‘Raast’ or ‘direct way’ system will be rolled out in three phases concluding in early 2022. The digital payment system is said to be a game-changer for Pakistan. The system is part of the government’s extensive Digital Pakistan initiative, with the aim of transferring the economy from cash to digital. Developed through a multi-year collaboration between Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the State Bank of Pakistan, with the support from United Nations, World Bank and Britain, the goal of this program is to enable secure, efficient and transparent financial transactions and boost the involvement of women in the formal economy. The fact that all the government salaries, pensions, and welfare payments are stated to be using Raast suggests that certain individuals would become early adopters. Government payments, as well as payments for nationwide financial support programmes such as Benazir Income Support Programme and Ehsas Emergency cash programme, would also be made through Raast. A stronger short-term solution would have been to force companies and enterprises to migrate to complete record digitisation, helping to build better records on where the money is going. When technology becomes more available, handling their finances from the comfort of their homes becomes easier for customers, rich or poor. The popularity of current private sector digital cash transfer payment systems, such as JazzCash and EasyPaisa, makes this very clear. It is becoming popular globally for young people to be completely integrated into the formal company. This is something that Raast and others might help promote, including conventional banks but Raast would be the first to link government entities and financial institutions. Although it would take longer for the government’s benefits to become apparent through such a strategy, it would at least be a more realistic one.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Newsletter
close-link