Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have jointly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Regulatory Framework for Mobile Banking Interoperability in Islamabad today.
Minister of State for IT and Telecom Ms. Anusha Rahman Ahmad Khan was the chief guest of this occasion.
Mr. Ashraf Mahmood Wathra Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Chairman PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah and Jeffrey Hedberg, CEO & President Mobilink witnessed the ceremony. Senior management of the commercial banks, cellular mobile operators and senior officers from PTA and SBP also attended the ceremony.
Addressing the ceremony, Ms. Anusha Rahman Ahmad Khan, said that, these Regulations shall not only provide a level playing field for telcos and financial institutions, but also introduce a neutral third party model where telcos and banks can join hands together to create a sustainable mobile banking ecosystem.
The Minister said that, the objective of the strategy is to build momentum in order to achieve financial inclusion targets of National Financial Inclusion Strategy that also aims at providing access to 50% of the adult population by 2020. Mobile money services provide a convenient and viable channel for financial services to the unserved people in Pakistan.
There are almost 29 million mobile broadband subscribers in Pakistan, which provides a lucrative platform for proliferation of value added financial services through enhanced features through mobile applications. Therefore, telcos and financial institutions should put efforts to tap this potential, Minister further added.
Chairman PTA while addressing the audience, highlighted the potential of mobile Banking services in Pakistan and said that there is a huge incentive to capitalize on the next generation mobile banking opportunities and all institutions should work together to include the unbanked population in banking services through digital platforms in the next 5 years. Chairman said that, telecom operators will ensure confidentiality of end user authentication and technical transactions related data.
Chairman said that PTA will issue quality of service benchmarks, from time to time, regarding network availability, resource availability, reliability, priority SMS, message delivery and security standards required for protecting consumer sensitive data and consumer financial data. PTA and SBP will jointly supervise and monitor the operations of mobile banking services. Operators and AFIs will put in place an effective complaint handling mechanism, Chairman further added.
Governor State Bank of Pakistan while speaking at the event, said that MoU signed between PTA and State Bank will be remembered as a mile stone in the history of telecom and banking sectors. He further said that branchless banking is a modern facility for the people of Pakistan, it will bring convince of use to the customers and a positive impact to the GDP growth of the country.
On this occasion, Mr. Jeffrey Hedberg, CEO & President Mobilink also shared his views on Digital Financial Services growth. He said that, our market has rapidly grown and Mobilink is proud to be a leading player, along with other operators in pushing this agenda forward. We have seen a huge surge in acceptance & usage of digital financial services putting Pakistan as the front-runner in this region. He said that, in FY14-15, we have more than doubled the mobile account base that reached to 11 million mobile accounts and more than 100 million transactions valuing PKR 500 billion move through our platforms every quarter.
It may be mentioned here that, a joint regulatory committee was formulated between SBP and PTA. Draft Regulations were discussed with the relevant stakeholders. SBP and PTA signed MoU to develop a cohesive regulatory framework that leads towards achieving the common objective of providing the low cost mobile banking services. PTA-SBP collaboration will play a key role in achieving the objectives of NFIS and for the future growth of digital financial services and financial inclusion in Pakistan.