KARACHI - The World Bank and Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) have organised roundtable discussion on “Financial Inclusion and Literacy Outcomes: Way forward for Technology-based Payments” at a local hotel in Karachi.

This Roundtable was the first in the series of three provincial stakeholder roundtable discussion sessions to take place under World Bank’s RSR Fund to raise awareness of stakeholders on financial inclusion and literacy (FIL) outcomes via cash transfer payments through the banking system in Pakistan.

The event brought together various Government Departments from Sindh involved in cash transfers such as Zakat and Ushr, Health, Education, Finance, Planning and Development, the Federal level Employees’ Old-Age Benefit Institution along with other stakeholders such as the SBP, NADRA, national level G2P programmes currently employing technology-based transfers, and relevant commercial banks.

The SBP representative noted that there’s tremendous room and scope for policy work that needs to come from the Government as there are existing issues with cash transfers/ G2P. For example, investment in technology at the back end in Government Departments is vital.

There is massive opportunity for banks to avail the existing infrastructure to capture more business and in the process increase financial inclusion.

During the discussion, Additional Secretary Zakat and Ushr, Hanif Muhammad Merchawala said that commercial banks, as part of their corporate social responsibility functions, should make a concerted effort towards educating beneficiaries on how to use ATMs, specially emphasising the use of television as a mode to reach out to the target market.

Syed Shahnawaz Nadir Shah, Chief Investment Specialist, Finance Department, Government of Sindh noted that the linkage between financial institutions and social safety net programmes needs to be stronger. This is vital to resolve operational inefficiencies and time lags that beneficiaries suffer from.