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ISLAMABAD, Dec 4 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Friday said that the financial inclusion of the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) was a must to enable them play their role in the socio-economic development of the country.

Chairing a meeting on financial inclusion of PWDs, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, he said that it was essential to bring differently-abled people (DAPs) into the mainstream and empower them economically.

The meeting was attended by SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar, Governor State Bank Dr Reza Baqir, Chairman Pakistan Banks Association, also President Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Muhammad Aurangzeb and the CEOs and presidents of 27 leading banks of the country also participated via video-link, a President House press release said.

Addressing the meeting, the president stated that DAPs were a vulnerable segment and it was the collective responsibility of society to work for their facilitation and economic welfare.

He emphasized the need to enhance financial inclusion of DAPs and improving the accessibility infrastructure for them.

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Dr Sania Nishtar apprised the meeting of the measures taken for uplift of DAPs under Ehsaas Program.

Governor SBP, Reza Baqir briefed the meeting about the compliance status of the decisions taken in the previous meeting held with CEOs and presidents of banks in February 2020.

He highlighted the initiatives taken by SBP for the welfare and facilitation of DAPs. He said the SBP had made it mandatory for all banks and Micro-Finance Banks to construct ramps and ensure accessible banking infrastructure for PWDs.

He said that SBP had allocated targets to banks with regard to refinance schemes and had also instructed them to ensure the construction of ramps at the entrance points of banks within a period of two years.

He said that a Working Group comprising representatives of banks, SECP and PWDs would be constituted to formulate recommendations for the economic empowerment and wellbeing of PWDs.

President HBL and Chairman PBA Muhammad Aurangzeb, updated the meeting about the steps taken for the facilitation of DAPs.

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He informed that 525 branches with accessible infrastructure had been completed while 1100 PWDs had been provided financial assistance besides 151 Talking ATMs installed throughout the country.

The CEOs and presidents assured that they would continue to supporting the efforts for the facilitation and financial inclusion of DAPs.

The president appreciated the measures taken by the central bank and other commercial banks for facilitation and economic wellbeing of PWDs.

He underlined the need for creating awareness among the DAPs about the refinance schemes and other facilities being offered by banks.

Later, in a tweet, the president said that during last 10 months, the State Bank and other commercial banks had done tremendous efforts for jobs as well as loans to the disabled persons.

The banks are also arranging trainings to enable them perform different jobs.

Even he said owing to lack of awareness, the loans available for the disabled persons were not being consumed.