State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir has recommended the formation of working groups to address specific issues related to taxation on digital financial services, integration of government agencies with Raast system and availability of seamless internet connectivity across Pakistan.
Chairing the fourth stakeholders’ meeting on the digital financial ecosystem, Baqir appreciated the stakeholders’ support, particularly the support extended to the SBP by the World Bank, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and financial institutions in moving forward the drive for digital financial services. He spoke about the significant progress made on Raast (Pakistan’s instant payment system) and developments for its integration with various government agencies.
The developments include integration of banks and microfinance banks with Raast and signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Controller General of Accounts to digitise government payments.
The central bank governor told meeting participants that despite Covid-19 disruptions, the SBP had been working with its partner institutions on the roadmap.
Those present were briefed on the draft Digital Bank Regulatory Framework, which was recently published by the SBP on its website for public consultation.
Baqir encouraged the stakeholders to critically review the framework and give their feedback for making improvements. He also highlighted the progress made to finalise charges for the interbank fund transfer. The governor also discussed the cross-cutting issues in relation to NADRA, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and the FBR.
The way forward in digital financial services like open banking was discussed and it was agreed to establish a forum to propose recommendations for such areas in line with the international best practices.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2021.
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