KARACHI - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the federal government is taking several strategic initiatives to promote inflow of home remittances in the country.

“In continuation of our efforts, I am pleased that GoP in collaboration with the SBP and financial industry is launching a scheme for promotion of home remittances through M-wallets,” he said.

He was addressing the launching ceremony of ‘Promotion of Home Remittances through M-wallet Accounts.’ The Prime Minister said that the scheme will help in channelizing home remittances through branchless banking (BB) channels.

“It will help achieve twin objectives’, said the PM, adding: ‘Firstly, it will facilitate the populace by provision of home remittances in swift, convenient and cost effective manner by utilizing the network of BB agents across Pakistan; secondly, it will help enhance the usage of m-wallets and creation of digital accounts.’

Premier Abbasi also announced government’s budgetary support to incentivize home remittances through M–Wallet accounts.

The Prime Minister reminded the audience that since 2013, after coming to power, his party had made significant strides as it stabilized economy, accelerated GDP growth and introduced structural reforms to uplift the living conditions of the common man. He said that financial inclusion is considered as one of the key instruments for economic development. “Unfortunately, Pakistan is among the countries accounting for around 5 percent of the world’s unbanked population,” he said, adding: ‘In Pakistan only 23% of the adult population has access to formal financial services.’

Abbasi said that in Pakistan remittances have been the second-highest source of foreign exchange earnings for the country, after export receipts. ‘Over the past 10 years, remittances have grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 12 percent – one of the highest growth rates for any country in the world,’ he said, adding, ‘Pakistan’s relatively better performance in the region is principally attributed to sustained increase in emigrant workers during past few years and supportive policies of the Government and the State Bank.’ 

He also appreciated the role of the Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) in strong growth in remittances.

Earlier, Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tariq Bajwa thanked the Prime Minister for his visit to SBP and launching this important initiative. Introducing the scheme of home remittances through M-Wallets, the Governor stated that that it will help to achieve two objectives: one, increasing financial inclusion in the country; and, two, making transfer of home remittances faster and at low cost, thus competing with informal channels of delivery.

The event was attended by the ministers, international partners, high ranking govt officials, chairmen board of directors of banks & DFIs, SBP board members and CEOs/presidents of banks/DFIs. Presidents of various business chambers and trade bodies were also present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, launched State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Policy for the promotion of SME Finance at SBP headquarters here Friday. While addressing the launching ceremony, he said that policy for promotion of SME finance will play a pivotal role in developing and promoting a vibrant SME sector in Pakistan. ‘Promotion of SME financing can significantly contribute towards GDP growth, boost employment and improve livelihoods,’ he said.

The PM praised SBP for taking this important initiative and said that small & medium enterprises are among priority sectors for their significant role in any economy. Adding further, he said that ‘policy for promoting SME financing will also have a deepening effect on Pakistan’s economy in shape of SME's contribution towards foreign exchange earnings through exports for the country’. Prime Minister reiterated that this policy will bring betterment and financial strength for the under-served SME sector.

The Prime Minister said that the pillars identified under the policy appears focused on addressing specific issues faced by the SME sector and expected to help in curtailing reluctance of financial institutions to provide financing to SMEs. ‘My government fully supports the proposed measures for promotion of SME finance including the establishment of credit guarantee company for offering risk sharing facility for SMEs, and setting-up of Secured Transactions Collateral Registry under Financial Institutions Secure Transactions Act 2016 by 1st July 2018,’ said the PM. Abbasi urged all the stakeholders to collaborate in order to meet the objectives of the SME policy and support the priority sectors.