April 9, 2021: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is studying an option to launch its own digital currency in Pakistan, said SBP governor Dr. Reza Baqir in an interview with CNN.
Responding to a question about his views on the Central Bank’s digital coin (CBDC) in Pakistan, Governor SBP said,” we are studying that very carefully, some countries like China are showing Pakistan the way with its CBDC”.
Speaking to CNN the governor said that the launch of a digital coin in Pakistan will have a twofold benefit to us. Not only does it boost our efforts for financial inclusion, but the central bank-issued digital currency will allow progress in our fight towards anti-money and countering terrorism financing.
“We hope to be able to make some announcement on that in the coming months. For now, we have allowed a framework for digital banks to begin operating in Pakistan,” said Baqir.
Meanwhile, he highlighted the role of the SBP in the wake of COVID-19 in Pakistan. He also talked about his vision to bring digitisation to the country’s financial sector.
On the entry of global fintech companies like Stripe in the Pakistani market, Governor SBP said that big international payment providers are “very welcome” in Pakistan.
“Pakistan is the home to the fifth-largest concentration of people. It is a market where people are generally tech-savvy, and it is a market that is waiting to burst as far as digitisation is a concern,” said Baqir.
During Covid-19, SBP removed fees on interbank transfers and the impact of it was phenomenal, he said, adding that, for the quarter ended in December mobile banking transactions grew by 150 to 200% compared to the same period a year ago and internet banking transaction numbers jumped by around 100 to 150%. This signifies that Pakistan is very fertile for such digital innovation.
“We are very open, and we embrace any global mobile payment operator that wants to come to Pakistan,” he added.
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