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Dar launches 2nd round of FICF today

Dar launches 2nd round of FICF today

KARACHI: Federal Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar will launch 2nd round of Financial Innovation Challenge Fund (FICF) here in Islamabad here on Thursday (today).

The FICF is a component of the larger Financial Inclusion Programme being implemented by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) with the financial assistance from the United Kingdom Aid.

According to an SBP press communiqué, the challenge round is held on innovative rural and agricultural financial services while using innovative products and delivery channels for financial services to the hitherto under-served low income rural population and agricultural sector in Pakistan.

The objective of the innovative rural and agricultural financing round is to identify and leverage on the strengths of existing and newer rural and agricultural economic system players such as input suppliers, aggregators, processors, marketers etc, and use their strength for opening up opportunities for the financing of rural and agricultural activities through formal financial institutions.

The applicants will submit complete proposal by April 10, 2014. Detailed guidelines print will be published on SBP website on the launch date.

The purpose of FICF is to provide grants to foster innovation and test new markets, lower cost of delivery, enable systems and procedures to be more efficient and provide new ways of meeting the unmet demand for financial services.

Earlier, the 1st Challenge Round of FICF was held on promoting the financially inclusive government to person (G2P) payments through innovative delivery channels such as branchless banking models.

Under this round, the FICF is now supporting Punjab Pension Fund, Employees Old-age Benefits Institute (EOBI), United Bank Limited (UBL) and National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for a number of innovative pilots for adoption of innovative approaches to deliver affordable and convenient financially inclusive G2P payments, covering the entire spectrum of G2P payments including salaries, pensions and welfare payments through financially inclusive models.