ISLAMABAD            -       PM-formed Think Tank mulled various proposals including digital account offer to overseas Pakistanis, enhancement of tem­porary relief facilities and reduc­tion of NADRA fees in data verifi­cation process.

A special meeting of the PM-formed Think Tank was held here during the Eid holidays with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair. All other members of the high-level group also participated in the meeting while Governor State Bank of Pakistan joined the pro­ceedings on special invitation.

During the meeting, the work done by Finance & Banking Committee remained under primary focus apart from the feedback from Committee on Social Safety Nets. Sultan Ali Al­lana presented the joint work of Committee on Banks and Fi­nancial Institutions to improve liquidity and credit for individu­als and businesses. The empha­sis remained on Digital Account Offering for overseas Pakistanis, with reference to its objectives, key processes, product features as well as key regulatory and administrative challenges.

Shoukat Tarin and Sultan Ali Allana jointly shared other pro­posals too, including suggestions on enhancement of temporary relief facilities, expanding lending to SMEs and enabling demand growth through expanding con­sumer lending and encouraging housing finance.

Dr. Ishrat Husain briefed about the need for due diligence with reference to potentially ad­verse effects of the new scheme on existing remittances/ prod­ucts, FATF concerns and harmo­nization of all initiatives aimed at promotion of digital econo­my. The experience of Pakistan Banao Certificate needs to be kept as benchmark to plug po­tential loopholes while offering new product.

Adviser Finance stressed on the need for demand trials in pursuit of developing target market. The proposal by Arif Habib for reduction of NADRA fees in data verification pro­cess got particular endorse­ment from other members, as this wholly public-owned entity should not keep profit as prima­ry motive in its operations.

The SBP governor appreci­ated various recommendations of the committee on improving liquidity for individuals and businesses and shared that SBP, in collaboration with MOF and CDNS had been in final phase of launching a saving product for overseas Pakistanis, in part­nership with banks and CDNS, where lot of back-end work had already been sorted out.

Dr Ishrat Husain and other par­ticipants raised concerns about the level of automation and digiti­sation within CDNS and stressed for the need of combining of SBP’s and Committee’s proposals to offer more robust and legally compliant solution.

Shoukat Tarin briefed that multiple consultative sessions of committee had been held with Naya Pakistan Housing Au­thority and other stakeholders, on shaping recommendations for boosting investments in housing sector and promotion of multiple financing options.