Monday Mar 29, 2021
KARACHI: To ease the payment process for government employees and pensioners, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Controller General of Accounts Pakistan (CGAP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to digitise federal government payments through RAAST.
An SBP press release said that in the pilot phase, the salaries and pensions of a group of federal government employees will be transferred via RAAST.
RAAST is Pakistan’s first instant payment system that will enable end-to-end digital payments among individuals, businesses, and government entities instantaneously, according to the SBP's website. It operates on similar principles as other mobile payments providers already operational in the country.
“The payroll and pension-roll data will be shared from the CGAP's system to SBP’s RAAST through a highly secured interface, and payments to the beneficiaries’ accounts will be made instantly after validating the beneficiaries’ detail,” said the press release.
The SBP said that to ensure that the payments are credited to the right person, RAAST will verify “beneficiaries’ details with their banks on real time basis”.
It added that the payment will only be credited to the beneficiary’s account after the verification is a success.
“After the pilot run, the facility will be rolled out to cover all the salaries, pension as well as supplier payments of the federal and provincial governments,” said the press release.
The move is expected to ease life for pensioners especially, who have to endure long waiting times at banks to cash their benefits cheques. Payments under this system will land directly in their bank accounts, which can then be withdrawn at ease.
The central bank said that it is also working to “use the powerful capacities of RAAST to include payments of social security nets such as the Ehsaas Program, BISP and other government entities”.
RAAST is a flagship initiative of SBP, which provides a simple, fast, low-cost, interoperable and secure electronic payment platform for instant processing of high volume retail payments.
RAAST also can make payments to multiple beneficiaries at a time to cater to high volume government payments like salaries, pension and social security payments.