The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) at the behest of its members convened a meeting to explain the salient features of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and its vision and targets, its strategic framework, its focus areas and its co-ordination structure.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said it is very important for the sector to know the key financial inclusion initiatives for SMEs and he appreciated the target of NFIS to ensure that individuals and firms could access and use finance to meet their requirements with dignity and fairness.

Thaver said the NFIS focuses on digital transactions, MSME finance, Agricultural finance, Islamic, housing, payment systems, secured transactions, insurance, pensions and consumer protection and financial literacy.

Explaining the co-ordination structure to the participants he said the National Financial Inclusion Council (NFIC) has the finance minister as its chairman with the finance secretary, governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and chairmen of SECP, PTA, FBR, provincial secretaries, chief commissioner ICT as its members.

The National Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (NFISC) has the governor SBP as its chairman and representatives from ministry of finance, SBP, SECP, provincial governments, NADRA, FBR,PTA,First Women Bank, PBA, PMN,IAP and others.

The Technical Committee (TC) / Consultative Working Groups( CWG) is led by NFIS lead agencies and includes private sector and provincial authorities representatives.

The terms of reference of the TC are to determine the scope and set the strategy and to find out the effectiveness of the initiatives in SME finance and identify the key actions for policy makers for enhancing financial inclusion.

The other duties of the TC is to propose detailed implementation, provide technical guidance, support the steering committee, consult with other players, conduct periodic review, propose changes and perform other duties as directed by the NFISC.

Thaver a member of the NFIS TC and chairman of the CWG on capacity building said the key financial initiatives on SME finance are introduction of SME financing targets, revision in prudential regulations and refinance schemes, modernization, credit guarantee scheme, development of secured transactions framework, SME cluster studies and institutional capacity building.

It is pertinent to note that the NFIS has a clear action plan with implementation timeline.

He assured the UNISAME committee and the SME Council that the sector will benefit from the strategy envisaged by the FM and his team of experts especially the SBP officials who seemed determined to uplift the sector as per the action plan of the NFIS.