LAHORE - The World Bank and Pakistan Microfinance Network organized a roundtable discussion on “Financial Inclusion and Literacy Outcomes: Way forward for Technology-based Payments” at a local hotel in Lahore.

Representatives of Pakistan Microfinance Network expressed that these roundtable discussions have established a great momentum in terms of dialogue and sharing of information between key federal, provincial, and commercial stakeholders, and this discourse should continue.

This Roundtable was the third in the series of three provincial stakeholder roundtable sessions to take place under the World Bank’s RSR Trust Fund to raise awareness of stakeholders on financial inclusion and literacy outcomes via cash transfer payments through the banking system in Pakistan. Apart from the current engagements, this initiative included a comprehensive beneficiary assessment, a position paper on financial inclusion and literacy through Government to Person (G2P) cash transfer programs, a documentary highlighting evolution of cash transfer payment systems over the years and development of training modules on financial literacy for beneficiaries, over the course of the previous year.

The event brought together various Government Departments from Punjab involved in cash transfers such as Zakat and Ushr, Education, Health Policy and Strategy Planning, Social Welfare, Punjab Education Foundation, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Punjab, Punjab Pension Fund, along with other stakeholders such as the NADRA and relevant commercial banks.

Noor Ali, Head of Branchless Banking Operations, Tameer Microfinance Bank, informed that currently Tameer Bank has a branchless banking network of over 32,000 retail agents across the country.

Mr. Aquil Raza Khoja of the Punjab Pension Fund highlighted how pensions need to be implemented using technology based payments for transparency, ensuring ease of payments and the importance of appropriate product development by commercial banks to attract pensioners.

The representative from the World Bank expressed that since the inception of G2P cash transfers, a change has been witnessed is the outlook of commercial banks towards financial inclusion and literacy, as banks are actively endorsing this now.