Pakistan banks embark on financial inclusion
The Pakistani banking sector, which has already been highly profitable, is on track to expand further with millions of new customers set to enter its fold owing to financial inclusion initiatives.
The priority target of the Financial Inclusion Plan (FIP) is to raise the number of customers with access to bank accounts and services to 50 per cent of the adult population. The number was 23 per cent in 2015 and 12 per cent in 2008.
These are some of the key objectives of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the central bank, and its two associates – Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC) and the Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) – in launching the Pakistan Financial Inclusion & Infrastructure Project. It has the potential to expand the banking sector, the overall economy and fund new infrastructure projects. The World Bank has come up with a $130 million assistance programme for the FIP.
This decision has been welcomed by the government, bankers and the millions of villagers who have never visited a bank, written a cheque or dealt in any other banking instrument.
What will be the profitability and benefits for service providers and the common man? “The sky is the limit,” Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told Khaleej Times.