Islamabad (08th March, 2016) Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) in collaboration with GSMA organized workshop on Mobile Money here at PTA Headquarters. Chairman PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Member (Finance) Tariq Sultan, Member (Compliance & Enforcement) Abdul Samad, senior officials of the commercial banks, representatives from State Bank of Pakistan and officials from telecom sector attended the workshop. The objectives of this workshop was to bring global and local insights from the branchless banking industry.
On this occasion, Chairman PTA Dr. Syed Ismail Shah said that the mobile phone sector has shown an enormous growth, thus creating striking opportunities for service providers and consumers to utilize mobile networks for carrying out various daily life tasks such as financial transactions. He said that Pakistan has now moved in the era of broadband. By the end of February 2016, there are 29.8 million broadband users that makes broadband teledensity 15% and it has great potential for broadband proliferation.
He said that Pakistan is fast moving towards mobile money which facilitates not only urban class but also rural population. He said that mobile banking is a value addition and has utmost consumer convenience wherein users can avail banking facilities through mobile communication. He said that advancements in telecom technologies have positively affected other sectors and innovative products have been introduced.
Chairman further said that branchless banking is a modern facility which will have positive impact on the GDP growth of the country and will be beneficial for people of Pakistan as well. The consumers will have the most attractive benefits of keeping bank account in their pocket with advantages like low cost and fast transfers etc.
Earlier, Dr. Muhammad Saleem, Director General, PTA, in his opening remarks welcomed participants and said that PTA and SBP are also working on mobile banking regulation with aim to continue mutual coordination for setting up a fair and non-discriminatory regulatory framework for the mobile banking service providers. He said that PTA will continue to hold and encourage such initiatives in future also for the development of the ICT industry that holds enormous potential.
During the workshop, GSMA facilitator Ms. Lara Gidvani (Regulatory Specialist, Asia) briefed audience in detail on GSMA mobile money program. Sophia Hasnain (Senior Market Engagement Manager, Asia), Mr. Ghazanfar Azzam, CEO, Waseela Bank, Mr. Abrar A. Mir, Chief Innovation and Financial Inclusion Officer, HB, Mr. Kabeer Naqvi, CEO, U Microfinance Bank and Mr. Omar Moeen Malik, Head Strategy & Payments, EasyPaisa, Telenor also shared their thoughts on potential for mobile money industry, branchless banking & digital commerce and policy & regulatory environment for branchless banking.
Different case studies from Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya, Philippines and India on mobile money, digital commerce initiatives and regulatory principles were discussed in the workshop. Challenges and opportunities to digitize payments in Pakistan were also highlighted. At the end Chairman PTA presented souvenirs to the speakers.
(Khurram Ali Mehran)