PM launches Pakistan’s first instant digital payment system

'SBP's Raast initiative will help boost formal economy, ensure financial inclusion of women, and eradicate poverty from the country'

ISLAMABAD: In an effort to shift the country’s economy from cash to digital, Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched Pakistan’s first instant digital payment system ‘Raast’.

Addressing the launching ceremony on Monday, the PM said that the ‘Raast’ initiative will help boost formal economy, financial inclusion of women, and eradicate poverty from the country.

“We are trying to alleviate poverty through Ehsaas Programme and the launch of ‘Raast’ programme will help us achieve this goal,” Imran Khan said, adding that the programme will boost the Ehsaas programme, particularly its mobile wallet, and extend its reach to the women in the rural areas.

The PM observed that the cash economy is the biggest hurdle in tapping the true potential of the 220 million population of Pakistan.

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“Cash economy badly affects tax collection, which is evident from the fact that only two million out of 220 million people are tax filers, while 30,000 of taxpayers make 70pc of the total tax collection in the country,” the premier noted. “With an increase in revenue collection, the government will create extra space to spend on human development – education, health, clean drinking water etc.”

He said that Digital Pakistan is a step forward from a cash economy towards the point where the country can take maximum advantage of its 220 million population.

The PM congratulated State Bank of Pakistan for efficiently working on the ‘Raast’ initiative and for convincing overseas Pakistanis to send remittances through formal channels.

He said foreign remittances have improved significantly as a result of these efforts. “Our current account deficit has become surplus, which has reduced pressure on rupee.”

The premier hoped a move towards Digital Pakistan would help put Pakistan back on the path of prosperity.

Raast is part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Digital Pakistan vision aimed at including poor segments of the society in the formal economy. Raast would be used not only to settle small-value retail payments in real time but will also provide cheap and universal access to all players in the financial industry, including banks and fintechs.

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  1. All right, now Pakistan will digitally give money to terrorists and touch on a new dimension in the spread of terrorism across the world. Pakistani terrorists around the world will now digitally borrow money and take Pakistan’s terrorism exports to new heights.

  2. Mr Porter. I suspect you’re an arsehole Indian. If so then it is you who are the terrorists subjugating your own citizens and propagating a fascists agenda via the RSS. If you’re not an Indian then you need to get your head out of arse and actually learn about the world and who the real terrorists are which are Indians and Israelis. I believe you are the former as this is the kind of venom that Indians exhibit. The thing is that most of your citizens are good people but there are massive arseholes like you who are fascists. You will get your reckoning. In the meantime use your time concentrating on your own terrorist Indian state.


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