Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan today approved 5-years plan for enhanced National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) during a meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Mr. Asad Umar, Advisor to Prime Minister Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Secretary Finance Mr. Arif Ahmed Khan, Governor State Bank Mr. Tariq Bajwa and senior government officials.
National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) lays out the national vision, framework, action plan and targets for financial inclusion in the country.
The Prime Minister was informed that Pakistan had one of the lowest levels of financial inclusion up until 2015. Only 16 percent of adult population had a bank account. The account ownership was even lower for women at 11 percent. Besides, a large number of
population remained voluntarily excluded due to their religious and other concerns. It was informed that financing to priority sectors of economy i.e. agriculture, SMEs and housing have remained low due to less financial inclusion.
Governor State Bank Mr. Tariq Bajwa while briefing the Prime Minister about the future strategy for the next five years said that enhance usage of digital payments, enhance deposit base, promotion of SMEs and agriculture finance and enhancement of share of Islamic Banking constituted main areas to broaden the existing levels of financial inclusion. It is envisioned that implementation of five years plan would translate into creation of 3 million jobs and additional exports of US$ 5.5 billion through enhanced access to finance to SMEs. The plan also includes a strategy to increase the deposit base of banks to 55% of GDP and encourage higher savings. The Plan also envisages reduced income tax on income earned by commercial and microfinance banks on SMEs, Housing & underserved areas for priority sectors.
Governor State Bank also presented a detailed road-map with delineated timelines against each target being set under the Five Years National Financial Inclusion Strategy.
The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts being made towards broadening financial inclusion. He said that access to finance is critical to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth being prerequisite for equitable distribution of economic opportunities, poverty reduction and achieving financial stability. The Prime Minister said that the 05-years NFIS plan would facilitate citizens and the financial institutions, especially in priority sectors of economy, and would thus help realizing the huge potential that existed in SMEs, agriculture and Islamic banking sector.