State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has recently issued a report that emphasizes towards revolutionalizing digital financial services in the country and boosting financial inclusion. The report states that Pakistan has over 145 million cellphone connections and among the entire population a massive 48 million people have 3G/4G/LTE connectivity.
According to the report, branchless banking by SBP is allowing people to receive and send remittances without a bank for over a decade now. The report estimates, by the year 2025, the market potential of digital financial services in Pakistan will cross $36 billion. This will result in 7% boost to GDP and will create employment opportunities for four million Pakistanis.
SBP plans to launch Asaan Mobile Account (AMA) Scheme for low-income communities which will enable them to open an account and use financial services via an interoperable platform. This AMA scheme will provide the necessary infrastructure but it needs an enabling environment which will be provided by the Innovation Challenge Facility.
The major aim of Innovation Challenge Facility is to provide opportunities to financial institutions (FI’s) as well as non-financial institutions to make use of digital financial products or services. The objective of the first batch of proposals in this regard is to adopt and upgrade AMA scheme.
Here’s how applicants can submit their proposals:
- Applicants can submit their complete proposals to NFIS Secretariat.
- The initial evaluation will be done by SBP and cross-functional team. The shortlisted proposal will be forwarded to the evaluation committee.
- The committee will give approval and provide financial assistance to pilot run the project.
- The duration of the projects cannot be longer than ten months
- The grantee institution will be provided relaxation in specific legal and regulatory requirements.
- The grantee institutions are required to submit quarterly reports so, their progress can be evaluated.
Here are a few guidelines before you start with your proposal:
- The solution needs to be designed ensuring its implementable in Pakistan.
- There needs to be market research to support there is an existing need for a proposed solution.
- Every business has to be licensed and registered with the required regulator.
- Partnerships and joint ventures are permitted.
- The product/service needs to be mobile network operator agnostic.
Interested parties can send their proposals via mail to NFIS Secretariat office in Karachi and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org