U.S., Pakistan Experts: expanded financial inclusion, simplified regulation could add Rs1.5 trillion to economy

Pakistan’s GDP would jump two percent if all Pakistanis entered the formal banking system, and another two percent with simplified trade regulations, Pakistani and U.S. experts agreed Tuesday. The experts, gathered from both the private and non-profit sectors and the Pakistani government, participated in a U.S. Government-sponsored program to broaden financial inclusion for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). There are currently around 100 million Pakistanis who do not participate in the formal banking sector, depriving them of much needed capital to grow their businesses.

Facilitated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program, the day-long discussion focused on ways new technologies can include businesses and households currently without access to the banking system. In his keynote address, Mr. Ghulam Muhammad Abbasi of the State Bank of Pakistan outlined the various ways the national bank can aid SMEs. The workshop also featured three lively panel discussions on expanding cross border trade, taxation, and e-commerce privacy. Attendees at the workshop included MBA students from Quaid-i-Azam University, many of them future women entrepreneurs.

This program continues the U.S. Mission Pakistan’s assistance in broadening financial inclusion to Pakistani SMEs. The U.S. Consulate in Karachi will hold a roundtable discussion on these same issues in Karachi on October 18.

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