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PTA Organizes Workshop on Mobile Money

by Jawad Ali

Workshop to share insights on branchless banking.

Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) in collaboration with GSMA organized a workshop on Mobile Money today at PTA Headquarters.

Chairman PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Member Finance Tariq Sultan, Member Compliance and Enforcement Abdul Samad, senior officials of the commercial banks, representatives from State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and officials from telecom sector participated at the workshop. The objectives of this seminar was to share global and local insights on branchless banking industry.

“The mobile phone sector has shown enormous growth,” said Dr. Shah, Chairman PTA, he was speaking with the media. “Thus creating striking opportunities for service providers and consumers to utilize mobile networks for carrying out various daily life tasks such as financial transactions.”

“Pakistan has now moved to the era of broadband,” he asserted. “By the end of February 2016, there were 29.8 million broadband users that makes broadband teledensity of 15 percent. It has great potential for broadband proliferation,” he confirmed.

“Pakistan is fast moving towards mobile money which facilitates not only urban class but also rural population,” he said further. “Mobile banking is value addition and has utmost consumer convenience wherein users can avail banking facilities through mobile communication. The advancements in telecom technologies have positively affected other sectors and innovative products have been introduced,” he added.

“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 their bank account in their pockets with advantages like low cost and fast transfers,” he concluded.

“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,” said Dr. Muhammad Saleem, Director General, PTA, in his opening remarks. “PTA will continue to hold and encourage such initiatives in future also for the development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry that holds enormous potential,” he encouraged.

During the workshop, GSMA facilitator Lara Gidvani, Regulatory Specialist, Asia briefed the audience in detail on GSMA mobile money program. Sophia Hasnain, Senior Market Engagement Manager, Asia, Ghazanfar Azzam, CEO, Waseela Bank, Abrar A. Mir, Chief Innovation and Financial Inclusion Officer, Habib Bank, Kabeer Naqvi, CEO, U Microfinance Bank and Omar Moeen Malik, Head Strategy and Payments, Easypaisa, Telenor also shared their thoughts on potential for mobile money industry, branchless banking and digital commerce and policy and 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 also 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.

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