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PM launches Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Initiatives

PM to discuss 16-point agenda in federal cabinet meeting today
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said financial inclusion is the core of Ehsaas program as poor women are the most vulnerable segment of society.
Addressing the launching ceremony of “Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Initiatives”, the prime minister said his vision is to turn Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state on the pattern of Madina state and Ehsaas program is a step in the same direction.
He said rich people are using offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes. He regretted that gap between rich and poor has increased during the last two decades with separate education, health and other systems for rich and poor.
PM Imran Khan said the government is working to improve the economic situation of the country. He thanked Queen Maxima for visiting Pakistan and taking keen interest in the Ehsaas program.
In her address, Queen Maxima said Ehsaas program is a good initiative of the government of Pakistan to lift the people from poverty.
She said today only twenty one percent people in Pakistan have access to financial services with the number of women bank account holders only seven percent.
She expressed hope that Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Initiatives will help empower the women financially. She emphasised to increase coordination among various departments to make the program successful.
Queen Maxima expressed satisfaction that every woman will have her own bank account at the completion of program.
Earlier, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar said Ehsaas Program is for the vulnerable segments of society as part of government’s vision to reduce poverty. She said through this program, deserving women will be empowered.
The ceremony was also attended by Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir and other senior government officials.
“Ehsaas Financial Inclusion Initiatives” has various components including Kifalat: One Woman One Bank Account Policy.  This policy will reform the BISP cash-transfer scheme, enabling digital and financial inclusion through a “One Woman, One Bank Account”.
The programme will not be limited to cash transfers but will also seek to ensure access, affordability and usage of full spectrum of financial services including payments, savings, credit, and insurance products.
The second component of the program is bank accounts for informal workers which will help ensure informal workers have access to pensions. It will enable the government to enforce the minimum wage, providing further protection for informal sector workers.
Access to credit is another important component of the program which combines elements of social mobilization, livelihoods development, with financial inclusion to move households out of extreme poverty and into sustainable graduation.
The initiative is being rolled out in over 100 districts and will impact 16.28 million people with 50% women over four years whereas 80,000 loans are disbursed every month across Pakistan.
The microcredit for daily workers will develop mobile wallets to provide nano or micro-loans through mobile technology at the click of a button.
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