President Dr. Arif Alvi said that it was important for Pakistan to embark on the journey of a digital economy to control the issue of financial corruption and bring more people into the tax net.
Addressing the soft launch of Financial Pakistan Expo 2020 at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Dr. Arif Alvi called upon the banking sector to ensure financial inclusiveness and extend its benefits to all segments of society, including the underprivileged, women, and disabled.
The Financial Pakistan Expo 2020 is aimed at bringing forward key value propositions notably in areas of enabling infrastructure finance, boosting international trade and investment flows as well as deepening financial inclusions.
The President said that faster digital transactions resulted in a more strong and stable economy. He lauded the country’s banking sector for adapting new modes of the financial system which helped during the coronavirus pandemic.
He emphasized the importance of adopting a cashless system of payment, as currently in place in China and other developed countries, to facilitate consumers and also benefit the national economy.
He appreciated the government’s financial team including Finance Minister, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, and Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Reza Baqir, for addressing the challenges of current account deficit and artificial value of the dollar.
The President asked the Finance Minister to also consider working on crop insurance in the agriculture sector, to lessen the burden on the government.
He said that the government’s decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year was correct as it maintained a “financial discipline” that ultimately helped in the stabilization of the economy.
Dr. Alvi reassured that subsidies given to industries, traders, and the construction sector would help boost financial activity in the country. The President urged upon the banks to reserve allocations for loan disbursement to a less-privileged class of society including poor, differently-abled persons, and women, particularly in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
He said ensuring an equity-based and non-elitist approach in the health and education sectors was significant for the development and prosperity of the nation in real terms.
On the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, the President asked the nation to not ignore the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and continue wearing face masks to control the spread of the virus.
He said the number of cases, which were 600 per day in July 2020, has presently grown to 1,000 per day in November 2020. He stressed the importance of a unified approach to counter COVID’s effects on human lives and the country’s economy.
Finance Minister said that the government took unpopular decisions to restore the economy which faced a crisis due to the policies of previous governments. He said that besides financial support extended to the poor during the pandemic, the business community was also facilitated through economic packages and subsidies.
Governor SBP, Reza Baqir, mentioned that economic reforms had resulted in stabilizing the stock market and national economy.
He urged the banks to highlight subjects including e-sector initiatives in low-cost housing and construction, advertising of SME finance products and financial empowerment of women at the Expo.
President Pakistan Banking Association (PBA), Muhammad Aurangzeb, said that government policies combined with an enabling regulatory environment would support the digitization of the country’s economy.
CEO of The Host company, Sikandar Lodhi, said that the Expo would offer an opportunity to the financial institutions of Pakistan to market their products and services while promoting digital banking for awareness.
The Financial Pakistan Expo 2020 is going to be held on 18-19 November in Lahore. The Expo will focus on suggesting ways and means to revive economic activity in the country with the involvement of the government, banking sector and consumers.