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ISLAMABAD, Sep 27 (APP): The National Financial Inclusion Council (NFIS) here on Tuesday was informed that biometric verification machines have been installed at 54,000 retail locations.

Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar chaired 3rd meeting of NFIS and reviewed progress on financial inclusion initiatives and allied indicators.

The council was informed that substantial growth had been
witnessed in the areas of branchless banking, agriculture credit, micro-finance, SME finance and Islamic banking since launch of NFIS in May 2015.

Progress on initiatives like Exim Bank, Mortgage Refinance Company and Pakistan Micro-finance Investment Company was shared with the council.

The council noted that all levels of NFIS governance structure including steering committee, technical committees and working groups had been fully operationalized.

Actions suggested by these committees had full ownership from private sector.

The council also over viewed key strategic initiatives approved by NFIS steering committee in its last meeting held in July 2016.

It was informed that on the basis of achievability, scalability and impact, 10 strategic actions were adopted covering all areas related to Financial Inclusion.

Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar appreciated public-private sector joint commitment for promotion of financial inclusion in the country.

While reviewing the recommendations presented to the council, the Finance Minister approved the major actions and advised the concerned stakeholders including National Registration and Database Authority, Federal Board of Revenue, provincial governments, State Bank of Pakistan and Ministry of Finance to further improve recommendations related to NADRA verification cost and taxation structure for branchless banking operations.

The minister advised that the Ministry of Finance to prioritize
easing and facilitation of pensioners to ensure digital pension payments to them.

He urged the provinces to work more closely and actively within the NFIS council so that maximum benefits of financial inclusion were achieved all across the country.

The minister asked Economic Affair Division to facilitate SBP in obtaining technical and financial support from international development partners for setting up National Payment Gateway to be housed at SBP.

Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan also shared the key developments especially in the area of mutual funds, warehouse receipt financing, pension and insurance that will support financial inclusion.

Finance Minister lauded efforts of SBP team and other council members and advised to maintain the momentum for achieving ultimate targets.