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SBP taking steps to enhance financial inclusion of women in country’s development: Baqir

KARACHI: Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Reza Baqir has said that the central bank is taking several steps to enhance the financial inclusion of women in the country’s development.

Reza Baqir while addressing at an event organized by Sehat Kahani – a female lead tech-based telemedicine provider, urged stakeholders to play their role in increasing women’s financial inclusion if the country aims to achieve its economic aspirations.

He said, “The role of women in economic development is a vital part of our economy though it is often under-recognized and under-emphasized.” Reza Baqir said that in order to increase female economic inclusion the SBP has launched a number of programs.

“We have developed a policy called ‘Banking on Equality’ under which we use our regulatory powers in the financial institutions to increase the women financial inclusion,” the central bank chief informed.

“The SBP launched a scheme under which any woman wants to start a business or is running her own business get loans on a low-interest rate,” he said, adding that despite the scheme being in offing for quite some time, the take-up has not been as expected.

On promoting startups, Baqir said that using e-commerce the SBP wants to facilitate masses through IT startups.

In order to support innovation in the country, Baqir said the central bank has introduced a number of innovative steps including the launch of the Rozgar Payroll Financing Scheme, under the scheme loans worth up to Rs 250 billion were approved and millions of jobs were protected.

“We introduce a scheme to support investment called the Temporary Economic Refinance Facility (TERF) during the COVID-19 pandemic to boost the investment flow,” he added.

Governor SBP invited startups to come forward with good ideas, saying that the central bank will facilitate them. “We are participating in the event in order to support our startup culture and the role of women in the economic sphere of the country,” he said.

Praising Sehat Kahani a startup being led by women entrepreneurs, the SBP chief termed it as a good demonstration and a good example for all those other women in business “who are aspiring to do something new.”

“Over 50 percent of the country’s asset bases as far as human resources are concerned are female. So we would not be doing justice as a country for our economic goals if we do not identify that such sector of the society has to be supported so that they can play the role in the economic development in the country,”  Baqir remarked.