By Shahbaz Rana
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan can achieve its target of having half of its adult population use an active bank account in the next five years by making women financially literate, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands said on Thursday.
She was speaking to a select gathering of mediapersons at the end of her three-day visit to Pakistan. Queen Maxima, who is the UN secretary general’s special advocate on inclusive finance for development (UNSGSA), also underscored the role of creating an enabling environment for women’s empowerment through financial inclusion.
“Women just cannot leave their homes with four or five children and travel for two hours to the next bank branch to take or deposit money. They just don’t have the time,” the queen said. She stressed that simply having a bank account without using it did not translate into financial inclusion.
“There is huge disparity in Pakistan in terms of the access and usage by women and Pakistan should give more attention to make products for them,” she added.
Queen Maxima also said Pakistan can achieve its targets of tripling small loan borrowers and doubling lending to small and medium enterprises provided it translates polices into action in a timely fashion. “Paperwork and regulatory frameworks have been completed. Only implementation remains now,” she said.
She said Pakistan was very forthcoming on regulatory framework for facilitation of financial inclusion. “If all decisions taken in meetings are implemented, Pakistan can achieve its targets.”