Islamabad, February 09, 2016 (PPI-OT): UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate (UNSGSA) on Inclusive Finance for Development, Queen Maxima of Netherlands attended meeting of the National Finance Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) Council here Tuesday evening. Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the meeting. Finance Secretary, Dr. Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank, Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, senior officials of the SECP, PTA, FBR, Secretaries of Finance of Provincial Governments were present on the occasion.
The visiting dignitary was briefed about the vision and targets of National Financial Inclusion Strategy, its goals and objectives along with the role of the NFIS Council. It was informed that the Strategy adopted in 2015 envisions that individuals and firms can access and use a range of quality payments, savings, credit and insurance services which meet their needs with dignity and fairness.
The meeting was informed that formal financial access in Pakistan has improved remarkably since 2008 as per recent “Access to Finance (A2F) Survey 2015” conducted by State Bank of Pakistan. According to the survey percentage of financial inclusion has risen from 12% in 2008 to 23% in 2015. The percentage of women using banking services has increased from 4% in 2008 to 11% in 2015.
The meeting was apprised that the Financial Inclusion strategy particularly aims to enhance the percentage of adult population having bank accounts to 50% by the year 2020. The meeting was also informed that preparation of NFIS Action Plan by Technical Committees and implementation of World Banks Country Support Program are next steps towards Financial Inclusion Objectives.
Queen Maxima appreciated the measures taken by Pakistan for promotion of financial inclusion saying Pakistan is on the right track in this regard. She said the UN fully supports the efforts for financial inclusion. “You are not alone in this effort, we shall always be working with you” to promote financial inclusion which has the key objective of increasing access of common people to financial institutions and services. She also put forth her views and suggestions for promotion of financial inclusion in Pakistan.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar lauded the support extended by the World Bank in the sphere of financial inclusion. He made special mention of the Financial Inclusion Support Framework (FISF) of World Bank that supports governments, regulators and other stakeholders for technical assistance, advisory services, and capacity building. It also aims to accelerate and increase effectiveness of reforms and other country-led actions that help achieve national financial inclusion targets.
FISF for Pakistan is a US$ 2.97 million facility which is to be implemented during 2016-2018. The Minister also appreciated World Bank’s continued cooperation for various projects in Pakistan. He said the Bank has been a great development partner of Pakistan. He wished the visiting dignitary a nice stay in Pakistan for the remainder of her visit.
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