Islamabad November 7 2023: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr Shamshad Akthar Tuesday said that Pakistan had targeted to take the number of Asan Mobile Accounts from existing 8.5 million to 20 million by 2024.
“Around 8.5 million new bank accounts have been opened under this scheme with 38% by women. Our target is to take the number of these accounts to 1 crore by December 2023 and 2 crore by December 2024,” she said addressing a virtual seminar titled “Spotlight Pakistan Day – Bridging the Financial Inclusion Gap in Pakistan” under the auspices of the World Economic Forum’s Edison Alliance and Virtual Remains Gateway.
She said under AMA, any citizen with a Pakistani identity card could open a bank account through their mobile phone. By entering a 4-digit code, people can transact through these accounts.
Dr Shamshad said that to deal with the challenges of a low rate of financial inclusion, Pakistan had formulated an ambitious financial inclusion strategy. In terms of financial inclusion, direct, easy mobile accounts and the Benazir Income Support Program were key achievements of Pakistan, she added.
The finance minister thanked the World Economic Forum and the Edison Alliance on behalf of the Government of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan for organizing the Pakistan Spotlight Day and said that digital inclusion for 1.4 billion people, including the majority of people living in developing countries, who do not have access to banking facilities. We applaud the vision and role of the Edison Alliance for accelerating the process, she added.
She also extended felicitation on achieving the Digital Alliance Challenge target of financial inclusion of one billion people.
The finance minister said that the Alliance has provided 90 million people with digital healthcare and 18 million people – mostly youth – with quality education and skill training opportunities to get employment, through 250 initiatives in 254 countries in 90 countries across the world in two years which had changed the lives of millions of people.
Referring to the initiatives taken by the Government of Pakistan regarding digital inclusion, the finance minister said that to meet the challenges of low rate of financial inclusion, Pakistan formulated an ambitious strategy for financial inclusion in 2018. The digital infrastructure was built and under this with the support of Raast Payment Gateway in 2021 that helped in digital payments between individuals, businesses and government institutions.
Calling the Benazir Income Support Program another success story of Pakistan, she said the program had a leadership role in the world in terms of supporting the economically weaker sections and providing them with better employment opportunities.
This program is a lifeline for the economically weaker sections in Pakistan as economically weaker sections were being provided with opportunities to get them out of poverty apart from education and health facilities.
Through BISP, the government provided cash assistance and employment support to 15 million families, which constituted 44 per cent of the country’s population, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Finance Minister said that along with these achievements, Pakistan is committed to improving and making technology efficient to increase digital inclusion. It is important to expand the scope of affordable and accessible digital services in health, education, and financial services in developing countries.