Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched an instant payment system by the name ‘Raast.’ It is the first-ever person-to-person digital payment solution that has been developed under ‘Digital Pakistan’ which is meant to bring digital advances in the country.

PM says that the program will improve the financial situation of the working class. He sounded very hopeful that the P2P payment solution will help them regulate the tax-paying system and will make everyone person in the country their taxes. Talking about this program, he said, ‘we have a population of 22 crore people. It is huge power because it makes a big market.’ He was emphasizing the importance of the digital economy and how we can use it to make our population a real asset. He added, ‘if you involve them in the formal economy through modern tools of digitalization, it becomes the real power. And if you don’t benefit this population from the modern technological advances in the world and keep them away from the formal economy, they become a burden on us.’ This system is supposed to fill the gap that we have due to the absence of technology in our country. ‘Through digital Pakistan, we are on that journey of making this 22 crore population an asset for us by including them in the formal economy,’ PM Khan explained. 

In Pakistan, there is a common trend that people don’t rely on technology. Call it lack of awareness or non-inclusivity in the existing culture but people are not very prone to using digital tools and banking systems for their ease. Prime Minister also highlighted this fact in his speech when he was launching Raast. ‘Common people are afraid of going to banks. Using this system, a common man can transfer money through his phone instantaneously,’ he said. 

He also boasted his work and called his government a success so far. He said that when he will assess the performance of his government in 2023, the only parameter will be whether they were able to reduce poverty and take advancement to the lower class. He gave references from the past when PTI was elected in KPK in 2013. 

This is one of the benefits of the program that it will benefit the working class and bring it into the formal economy. According to PM, we have almost the lowest saving rates in the world and will be able to enhance it through Raast. He said that we do not use the banking system so we have a low tax-GDP ratio. This system will also help increase that. 

That is not all about it. The system is supposed to make every person in the country pay their taxes. ‘There are a lot of people who are enjoying a lavish lifestyle but don’t pay tax.  We will regulate them through technology,’ said PM. He further said about the non-taxpayers, ‘I am warning them that we are about to reach you through technology. We are receiving your data very quickly.’

In his speech, he also paid a tribute to the State Bank of Pakistan which has developed this system. He said that State Bank has been able to facilitate overseas Pakistanis, who are the biggest asset of Pakistan, by involving them in Roshan Digital Pakistan. This program is further supposed to assist them in the transfer of money. 

The Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Baqir made it clear that this system is working only in a few countries and will be totally free of cost to be used by any citizen. He said that people should start using it for their payments. On the other hand, Shaukat Tarin, the Finance Minister of Pakistan also appreciated this move and said that this is a revolution in the digital banking system of Pakistan. 

Prime Minister seems to be very concerned about bringing technological advances to the country. This is one of the examples and apparently, more advances are on the way. Let’s see how far this proves to be successful in improving the economic condition of the country and the lower middle class.

Author

Ayesha Areej is a staff writer at The Academia Magazine

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