PM launches first Digital Payment System ‘Raast’

Says we need to phase out informal economy

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan said yesterday that his government’s ‘Digital Pakistan’ initiative will help the country to fully utilise its potential by shifting from cash economy to digital.

Addressing the launching ceremony of Pakistan’s first instant Digital Payment System ‘Raast’, the Prime Minister said the newly-launched digital system will also enable secure, efficient and transparent financial transactions, besides giving boost to formal economy, financial inclusion of women, and eradicate poverty from the country.

“It (Raast) is a major step towards fully utilising country’s potential and it will transform the country’s cash economy to digital,” he said while congratulating the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for introducing the digital payment system and for engaging overseas Pakistanis.

Imran Khan said Pakistan is ranked among one of the lowest taxpaying countries in the world as large chunk of population is not part of the formal economy.

“Cash economy is a major hurdle for the country’s progress and the country can never progress until we pay taxes,” he added.

The Prime Minister said that out of 222 million people only 2 million pay taxes, adding that 70 per cent taxes out of the 2 million people come from only 3,000 people.

He said foreign remittances have significantly improved as a result of these efforts. He said our current account deficit has become surplus, which has reduced pressure on the rupee.

He said taxes provide fund to the government to spend on human development programmes and lift the vulnerable segment of the society from poverty.

Imran Khan hoped that the Raast will slowly and gradually take the country away from the “addiction” of cash economy and enable the country to take full advantage of its people.

“The real target is to boost formal economy and our biggest problem is that we have a big informal economy,” he said, adding that the government can neither collect taxes in the presence of a big informal economy nor could it progress until modernising it. “Without revenues, there is no progress,” he said.

“The country which was making rapid progress in the region 50 years ago can’t move ahead because we don’t have enough financial resources,” he said.

Giving the example of recently launched ‘Roshan Digital Account’ for overseas Pakistanis, PM Imran said it led to the unprecedented increase in remittances which ultimately helped local currency to remain stable. “Overseas Pakistanis now prefer formal channels to send money due to which the current account is in surplus.”

The Prime Minister said cash economy is the biggest hurdle in tapping true potential of 220 million population of Pakistan.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt