Pakistan’s Push Towards Digital Currency and Economic Digitalization

In a recent development, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has announced the government’s consideration of introducing digital currency within the country’s borders. This revelation came during Aurangzeb’s speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) special meeting held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Highlighting the pressing need to document the nation’s undocumented economy, Aurangzeb stated, “We generate Rs9.4 trillion in annual revenues, yet half of our economy remains undocumented.” To address this challenge, the finance minister revealed that an agreement had been signed with the renowned consulting firm McKinsey on Friday to facilitate comprehensive digitalization of Pakistan’s economy.

“They are going to come in and help us with the end-to-end digitalization of our economy,” Aurangzeb affirmed, underscoring the government’s commitment to leveraging digital technologies for economic transformation.

Furthermore, the finance minister emphasized the urgent need to implement a framework for a green tax economy, aligning Pakistan’s fiscal policies with environmental sustainability goals. He acknowledged that even international institutions like the World Bank (WB) are exploring innovative financing structures to support such initiatives.

Aurangzeb stressed the importance of combining domestic efforts and international financing to meet the country’s financial requirements, highlighting the collaborative approach required to navigate the economic challenges faced by Pakistan.

This development follows the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad’s revelation in July 2023 that the central bank was working on a plan to launch Pakistan’s first digital currency, known as the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Ahmad made these remarks while briefing the Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, chaired by Senator Saleem Mandviwalla at the Parliament House.

During the briefing, the committee was informed that many central banks worldwide are working to launch digital currencies on a pilot basis, and the SBP is actively seeking to learn from their experiences. This move towards embracing digital currency is seen as a strategic step towards modernizing Pakistan’s financial infrastructure and fostering greater financial inclusion.

The adoption of digital currency and the digitalization of the economy are expected to bring numerous benefits, including increased transparency, improved tax collection, and enhanced access to financial services for underserved populations. Additionally, digital currencies could potentially facilitate cross-border transactions, reduce transaction costs, and promote financial innovation.

However, the implementation of such initiatives is not without challenges. Concerns surrounding cybersecurity, data privacy, and the potential for financial instability must be carefully addressed. Regulatory frameworks and robust infrastructures will need to be developed to ensure the secure and efficient deployment of digital currencies and digital economic platforms.

As Pakistan navigates this transformative journey, collaboration between government agencies, financial institutions, and technology partners will be crucial. Striking the right balance between innovation and risk mitigation will be essential to unlocking the full potential of digital currencies and economic digitalization for the nation’s economic growth and development.

MOIT Briefs World Bank on Digital Economy Enhancement Project (DEEP) in Pakistan

In a momentous development, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) is gearing up to provide a comprehensive briefing to a visiting World Bank team on the commendable progress achieved in the Digital Economy Enhancement Project (DEEP). Informed sources suggest that this crucial update will be extended to the World Bank team during their scheduled visit to Pakistan.

Following the informative briefings, the World Bank is poised to deliberate on the intricacies of the DEEP Project during its upcoming board meeting. Once receiving approval from the IMF board, the project is slated to progress to the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) for thorough consideration, marking a pivotal step towards its eventual execution.

Within the ambitious framework of the DEEP Project, the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) is positioned to assume a pivotal role in the establishment of secure data exchange layers. The overarching goal of this project is to devise a streamlined mechanism for seamless data exchange among various government organizations, fostering heightened efficiency and collaboration on multiple fronts.

To oversee the meticulous execution of the DEEP Project, the Ministry of IT and Telecom is set to establish a dedicated Project Management Unit (PMU). Led by an experienced Project Director, this unit will comprise a core team of specialists in financial management, procurement, social and environmental safeguards, monitoring and evaluation, as well as communications/outreach.

This collaborative initiative brings together key stakeholders, including the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), the National Information Technology Board (NITB), NADRA, Ignite, and the Board of Investment (BOI). Their collective expertise is poised to play a pivotal role in driving a comprehensive and impactful digital transformation agenda.


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Boost global payments in Pakistan: Alipay+ partners Pakistani fintech NayaPay

Alipay+, the cross-border digital payment and marketing platform operated by Ant Group’s Ant International, is partnering with Pakistani fintech platform NayaPay to “boost global payments in Pakistan”.

The two companies will deploy QR codes compatible with Raast (Pakistan’s instant payment system) and Alipay+ payment partners, including e-wallets and banking apps. This will facilitate foreign exchange inflows and at the same time connect cashless payment systems in global markets to Pakistan.

The collaboration will also aim to address common issues, such as limited interoperability and high transaction costs. Through this partnership, NayaPay will connect Pakistani businesses, especially SMEs, with more than 25 global Alipay+ payment partners.

Alipay+’s move follows its steady expansion across Southeast Asia over the past few quarters. In September last year, the company announced integrations with digital payment platforms in the Philippines. It has also created integrations for its mobile wallet system in Thailand, among other countries.


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PM inaugurates Sohni Dharti Remittance Program – an initiative to promote remittances

Pakistan’s leading IT service provider, NdcTech gets recognized by Temenos as the Best Performing Partner in the SaaS World

NdcTech, a global IT Company providing transformational services to the banking sector and winner of Temenos Best Sales Partner Award in MEA attended Temenos Kick-Off 2023 which took place at Palau Congress Centre at Palma de Mallorca, Spain from 17th to 20th January 2023. TKO is an annual event of Temenos, the world’s # 1 banking software company, and brings together key management of Temenos and global partners in person to strategize for the new year, explore new product innovations for customers, and identify future opportunities of collaboration.

NdcTech was a key sponsor at TKO 2023 and was recognized as the “Best Performing Partner in the SaaS World” during the event due to its recent role in cloud banking transformations. This recognition is a testament to NdcTech’s accomplishments and contributions towards the banking sector and recognizes its strong footprint in the SaaS world.

The theme of this year’s event was “Winning in the SaaS World” where experts shed light on the cloud first strategies and the shift in SaaS adoption across financial institutions. Some trending topics discussed included Security & Data on Cloud, Payment innovations on cloud, BaaS value chain, Wealth Management & Digital Transformation in 2023.

Ammara Masood, CEO NdcTech was one of the panelists among other thought leaders in the session on “Partnering for Success – Crushing it with Collaboration”. While addressing the audience at TKO 2023 she talked about NdcTech’s recent collaboration with Temenos on Country Model Banks for 7 countries in the GCC region & how this strategic development will be a stepping-stone in uncovering the potential of the Banking industry in the region.

“NdcTech’s mission is to contribute to the financial world of tomorrow. Working with Temenos over the past 22 years has allowed us to support the banking ecosystem & transform their digital capabilities. Our recent collaboration with Temenos over Country Model Banks is crucial and would provide a phenomenal value proposition to the banks by allowing them rapid time to market. We look forward to strengthening our offerings in partnership with Temenos, by investing to build accelerators and country layers and meet evolving regulatory requirements” said Ammara.

Faysal Bank and Bank of Khyber, partner to offer Innovative Financial & Digital Payment Services

Faysal Bank Limited (FBL) and Bank of Khyber have partnered to launch a suite of digital financial services featuring virtual & debit card services along with added digital payment solutions. Faysal Bank through its Fintech Express Program is driven by creating partnerships with Banks and Fintech to further encourage State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) financial inclusion initiative in Pakistan.

Faysal Banks Fintech Express Program is focused on identifying financial institutions and aiding their customers’ digital journey through innovative technologies. With this partnership, Bank of Khyber will leverage Faysal Bank’s Fintech Express Program to accelerate the customers’ digital journey and provide its customer accessibility to a host of digital solutions to aid their banking needs.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Yousaf Hussain, CEO, FBL said, “Faysal Bank wants to be the cornerstone of the digital product revolution in Pakistan. We continue to focus on developing and strengthening ecosystem partnerships with multiple players that bring expertise and economies of scale in their respective domains. Faysal Bank’s agreement with Bank of Khyber demonstrates our commitment to facilitate other banks and startups in Pakistan.”

Speaking at the occasion, Mr.Ali Gulfaraz, ManagingFaysal Bank & TPL, Director and CEO, BoK, said, “Bank of Khyber is committed to delivering ease, convenience, and universal acceptability to our customers to transact and make payments across all channels. The partnership between Faysal Bank and Bank of Khyber will help us strengthen the BoK digital ecosystem by onboarding international payment schemes and digital services that will provide a comprehensive range of payment solutions to our customers”

The signing ceremony held at Faysal Bank, Karachi was also attended by Mr. Amin Ur Rahman, Chief Digital Officer and Fahad Mirza, Head of Digital Ecosystems & Partnerships, Faysal Bank Limited, and Mr. Asim Bashir, Group Head Digital & Consumer Banking from Bank of Khyber.

ASA Microfinance Bank partners with Systems Limited & NdcTech

Karachi – ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ASA International Group plc, one of the world’s largest global microfinance institutions providing micro loans to emerging entrepreneurs across Asia and Africa, has entered into a partnership with Systems Limited & NdcTech to implement Temenos next-generation Core Banking system. NdcTech, a longstanding premier partner of Temenos and a wholly owned subsidiary of Systems Limited will deliver end-to-end core banking implementation and support services to ASA MFB.

With this partnership, ASA MFB will further its mission to promote financial inclusion within the economy by providing value added services to the unbanked strata, particularly female owned enterprises. Temenos’ microservices packaged and functionally rich solution, which is tailored for the needs of inclusive banking, along with NdcTech’s expertise on Temenos products and in-depth knowledge of updated methodologies and tools, will enable the Bank to achieve its vision of increasing customer satisfaction with innovative and value-added services and leverage on operational cost efficiencies.

Systems Limited will also provide implementation and support services for the Infrastructure and Platform deployment on Temenos Core. To support this scalable architecture, the Core banking system will be deployed on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, making the infrastructure components highly resilient.

The agreement has been signed by Mr. Asif Peer, Group CEO Systems Ltd and Mr. Saeed Uddin Khan, CEO, ASA MFB (Pakistan) Ltd. It was also attended by senior officials of both the institutions including Mr. Rob Keijsers, Group CIO, ASA International & Ms. Ammara Masood, CEO, NdcTech.

On this occasion, Asif Peer, Group CEO, Systems Limited said, “Systems Limited’s partnership with ASA Microfinance Bank for platform modernization is beyond mere technological collaboration. We believe that every bit of innovation and digital enablement will impact, directly or indirectly, the elevation of the underprivileged segment of society and will trigger improvement in grass root economy. We are not only proud to catalyze digital transformation, but also to play a pivotal role in advocating for easy credit access and other innovative financial services for the unbanked community.”

Mr. Dirk Brouwer, Co-Founder & Group-CEO, ASA-International said: “We are pleased to partner with NdcTech & Systems Ltd to implement Temenos state of the art Core banking system. This transformation will help us to serve more low income female microfinance entrepreneurs throughout Pakistan, support our vision to enhance financial inclusion and improve the socio-economic conditions of the underprivileged, by providing them with financial access anywhere and at any time”.

MMBL partners with GSMA to expand Pakistan’s Digital and Financial Solutions

Karachi – To support the mission of promoting digital inclusion across the nation through innovative financial solutions, Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL), Pakistan’s largest digital bank, is collaborating with GSMA, the global organisation representing mobile operators and the broader mobile ecosystem. Through this partnership, MMBL and GSMA aim to reduce the gender gap in digital financing through MMBL’s flagship program, Women Inspirational Network (WIN), and other Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will enable both partners to execute joint projects for connectivity and other areas for Information & Communications Technology (ICT) development in Pakistan.

Mobilink Microfinance Bank is part of the VEON group, a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services across seven countries. As part of its digital operator strategy, VEON is transforming people’s lives, creating opportunities for greater digital inclusion, and driving economic growth across countries that are home to more than 8% of the world’s population.

Sharing his thoughts at the signing ceremony, Ghazanfar Azzam, President & CEO MMBL remarked, “The rapid growth in tele-density across Pakistan has opened great avenues for fostering financial inclusion through feature & smartphones. Through this partnership, we aim to leverage the technological expertise of GSMA for enabling digitally powered innovative solutions for our target segments, specifically women & persons with disabilities, increasing accessibility and affordability of mobile financial services on the way.”

Also speaking at the occasion, Sardar Mohammad Abubakr, Chief Finance and Digital Officer MMBL said, “Digital and financial literacy are key drivers to promote financial inclusion for all. Underserved, yet integral segments, particularly women, agriculture and SMEs lack access to banking channels due to little awareness and limited resources. Through this initiative, MMBL and GSMA will work in close collaboration to increase digital, and financial literacy, while boosting agri-tech services, through convenient and sustainable access to digital financial products and services.”

“We are pleased to support MMBL’s efforts to close usage and gender gaps and address the barriers to inclusion that affect so many,” said Julian Gorman, Head of APAC, GSMA. “We believe connectivity is a human right and giving it to those that are excluded empowers business, society, and local communities – helping them to thrive. We’re looking forward to working together to advance the Digital Pakistan agenda in support of inclusion.”

Through this partnership, MMBL and GSMA will undertake various digital and technological initiatives to empower the masses in various domains, including agri-tech, Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and Women Financial Services, enhancing connectivity on the way. With the help of its strategic partners, MMBL is taking concrete steps to close the digital and financial gap by uplifting the unbanked and underbanked segments across the nation.

UAE’s Invest Bank Selects Temenos Banking Cloud to Accelerate Digital Transformation with NdcTech

Invest Bank, a premier commercial bank in UAE, has selected Temenos (SIX: TEMN) to take its digital and core banking to the cloud, in partnership with NdcTech.

Invest Bank will adopt an end-to-end retail and wholesale banking solution on the Temenos Banking Cloud, becoming one of the first in the UAE to adopt a full SaaS model for its digital and core banking platform.

The front-to-back capabilities of Infinity and Transact delivered as SaaS on Temenos’ open platform for composable banking will enable Invest Bank to modernize legacy platforms, bring new products and services to market faster, as well as deliver more innovative customer experiences.

Ahmad Mohamed Abu Eideh, CEO, Invest Bank, commented: “We are proud of this partnership with Temenos and NdcTech to transform our digital and core banking. We strive to be a pioneer when it comes to customer experience and digital services and with Temenos, the future is today. The bank’s core and digital banking services will be working seamlessly together on a single platform. This will help us to foster innovation, automate workflows, as well as deliver digital experiences to meet our customers’ evolving needs faster and at a lower cost.

William Moroney, Managing Director – MEA, Temenos, said: “Temenos has unmatched experience and expertise in the Middle East, and so we are delighted to welcome Invest Bank as our latest regional signing to the Temenos Banking Cloud. Our cloud-native SaaS technology provides a flexible platform for cost-effective core and digital banking modernization. In choosing Temenos, Invest Bank is preparing for the future, opening opportunities for new growth and new possibilities for its customers.”

Ammara Masood, CEO and President, NdcTech, said: “Our Project accelerators such as Country layer and expertise on Temenos Transact and Infinity on the cloud make us the right partner for this transformational engagement. Temenos SaaS solution on the cloud will allow the bank to enhance its banking services with highly connected and personalized interactions for its existing and prospective customers while fueling long term growth. We are proud to be a Temenos implementation partner for the region’s pioneering banks and hope to further extend our footprint in the years to come



NdcTech Participates in Singapore Fintech Festival

NdcTech was the only IT company from Pakistan to exhibit its offerings at Singapore Fintech Festival 2022. Sakina Tahir (first from right) and Hiba Hashim (second from right) were also among the participants of this FinTech Meet and Greet at the Pakistan High Commission in Singapore.

Singapore FinTech Festival is one of the largest FinTech festivals globally bringing together the global FinTech community to engage, connect, and collaborate on issues relating to the development of financial services, public policy, and technology.

The festival was organized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Elevandi, and Constellar and in collaboration with the Association of Banks in Singapore.


Ufone 4G offers convenient mobile top-up facility on 10,000 OPay Smart POS machines countrywide

Islamabad – Pakistani mobile company, Ufone 4G is set to transform its customers’ user experience through provision of convenient mobile top-up facility on 10,000 OPay Point-of-Sale (POS) machines. Ufone 4G customers will be able to access these machines at petrol stations, convenient stores, pharmacies, shopping malls and other public places countrywide to recharge their mobile phones with greater ease and accessibility.

OPay is a fast-growing mobile payment Fintech Company that offers advance payment facilitates including contemporary mobile top-up solutions. Deploying Ufone’s Top-up on OPay’s current active footprint of 10,000 POS machines will enable consumers with a secure and user-friendly method to process top-up payments at frequently visited public places. Additionally, top-ups can be purchased from OPay’s POS-merchants and will be printed on the bill invoice to verify transaction.

Commenting on the collaboration, Shahbaz Khan, Head of Product Portfolio Management (Wireless), Ufone, said, “Ufone 4G establishes synergies within telecom and Fintech industries to usher in greater ease and enablement to its customers. Our partnership with OPay will expand our service footprint to 10,000 additional points of sale. Enhanced accessibility is one of the key focus areas for Ufone in its continued quest to improve its services quality to provide a superior user experience to its customers.”

OPay Pakistan’s Vice President, Zeb Khan said, “This alliance with Ufone means increased customer engagement and traffic, resulting in spike in revenue of merchants’ business. I am very excited to bring to the table an innovative offering to Pakistani consumers as the accessibility of topping-up at anytime and anywhere will provide an experience of unmatched convenience, which is the aim of OPay as a company”

The nationwide network of POS machines will be secure, simple and modern for mobile top-ups to further Ufone 4G’s long-term commitment to improve the user experience of its customers.

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