Tuesday Feb 15, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday launched the country’s first instant person to person payment system ‘Raast’ for low-cost digital retail payments and money transfers.
"Raast programme will facilitate the working class of Pakistan in making transactions through cell phones, and will help improve saving rates," PM Imran Khan said while addressing the inauguration ceremony in Islamabad.
Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir and Federal Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin also attended the ceremony.
The premier, while highlighting the benefits of the technology, said that it is a way to improve saving rates and tax to GDP ratio in order to lead the country towards progress.
He said the government will also use technology in the Federal Board of Revenue's (FBR) affairs to trace people involved in tax evasion.
There are many people who don't pay taxes despite having a good lifestyle, he added.
"The common man avoids visiting banks to perform transactions because of the trend that the banking sector prefers serving only those wearing suits," PM Imran Khan said.
He went on to say that the most concerns are received from overseas Pakistanis who complaint of inconvenience in sending money to Pakistan.
Reaffirming his commitment to alleviating poverty, the prime minister said that it will be a big achievement if the incumbent government manages to succeed in it.
On the occasion, PM Imran Khan directed the Governor SBP to establish a special cell to further facilitate overseas Pakistanis. He said overseas Pakistanis are our biggest asset.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, in his address, termed the new system revolutionary in digital banking and said it will promote e-commerce and IT-related exports.
"In the past, payments used to be made through cheques and cash but now, Raast would make the transactions possible within seconds," Tarin said.
He said that PM Imran Khan will soon announce some new initiatives to help the lower middle and salaried class affected by the price hike and Raast can be used in the implementation of these initiatives as well.
Meanwhile, Governor SBP Reza Baqir highlighted the features of the Raast system.
He said that it is a system for quick payments which would bring a revolution in the digital banking sector.
Baqir said Raast can be affiliated with any bank account and it enables people to make transactions using their mobile phone numbers with no service charges.
The Raast programme is a digital platform developed by the State Bank of Pakistan for remittances and transactions between citizens, businesses and government agencies.
The digitally faster and easier system will facilitate the common man in accessing banking channels and electronic transactions.
At the same time, it will help various financial institutions, including commercial banks, microfinance institutions and banks, government agencies and Fintax, to access and connect to the central system at a low-cost and save time.
After its success at the level of direct business and investment last year, it has been launched at the level of citizens for the convenience of the common man.
Additional input from APP