Caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar has said the government is committed to fostering inclusive economic growth, attracting investments, and addressing socio-economic challenges in the country.

She said this while talking to Country Lead (Pak), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Syed Ali Mahmood and CEO of Karandaaz Mr Waqas ul Hasan in Islamabad today.

The Finance Minister emphasized the importance of public-private partnerships in achieving sustainable development goals and inclusive growth and welcomed the contributions of the BMGF and Karandaaz in this regard.

The meeting was aimed at reviewing the implementation status of Raast – Pakistan Instant Payment System support provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, integrated social safety net program and BMGF’s offer for assistance on the Digital Pakistan Stack. Other potential areas of collaboration including climate finance and up scaling conditional cash transfers to integrated social payments also came under discussion.

CEO Karandaaz Waqas ul Hasan briefed the Minister on Raast-Pakistan Instant Payment System support provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through Karandaaz and outlined the key features of the Digital Pakistan Stack such as next generation of Raast supported Digital Public Infrastructure which Pakistan can introduce with Foundation’s help. He further told that an amount of over four trillion rupees has already been transacted through Raast which has over 33 million unique IDs now.

The design of integrated social safety net programme for improved immunization, nutrition, women economic empowerment, financial inclusion by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was also discussed.

The Minister thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its assistance on Raast and the integrated social safety net program and welcomed the idea of signing a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the future support on Digital Pakistan Stack.

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It was agreed that the MoU for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s assistance through Karandaaz will be signed on the sidelines of the World Bank meetings at Morocco in October 2023. The National Financial Inclusion Council, chaired by the Federal Minister for Finance, will oversee the implementation of the Digital Pakistan Stack.