LUMS Holds Webinar on ‘Impactful Initiatives for Nation-building’ in Collaboration with State Bank of Pakistan

Webinar

Distinguished panelists representing the government as well as the private sector came together at an online webinar organised by LUMS in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan and Faysal Bank on ‘Impactful Initiatives for Nation-building’. 

Held on December 12, with a viewership of 3,000 individuals, the event shed light on initiatives that benefit Pakistanis, locally as well as around the world, and discussed the impact citizens can have on the social and economic progress of the country. In particular, panelists discussed the Roshan Digital Account (RDA), an initiative by the State Bank of Pakistan, which allows overseas Pakistanis to benefit from innovative banking solutions and remit and invest back home, and the National Outreach Programme (NOP) at LUMS, which strives to make higher education accessible to all. 

Moderated by Mr. Adeel Hashmi, the panel included Syed Babar Ali, Founding Pro Chancellor, LUMS; Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan; Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, LUMS; Ms. Sima Kamil, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan; Dr. Murtaza Syed, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan; Mr. Yousaf Hussain, LUMS alumnus and President and CEO Faysal Bank and Syed Irfan Ali, Managing Director of Deposit Protection Corporation at the State Bank of Pakistan.    

Dr. Reza Baqir, who has led the launch of the RDA, stressed on the need to recognise the Pakistani diaspora as an asset. “The RDA is one effort that will connect this diaspora to the country and empower them to integrate with our country’s financial system.” 

To make the initiative more effective, the RDA will also offer Shariah compliant versions. Dr. Baqir urged the diaspora to avail this opportunity and share feedback in order to make this project a success. 

He also elaborated on the State Bank’s response to the pandemic. “Despite the many challenges, we have been working round the clock to help our citizens in terms of job security, safer investments, support of local hospitals, and tackling bankruptcy.”

Syed Babar Ali hailed the RDA as a notable initiative that will put Pakistan into another league. He also urged the necessity to inculcate a sense of organised giving in people. “It should be an inherent part of every citizen’s character, purely because the rewards of giving back to the community will always remain immeasurable and entirely beneficial.” 

He also urged the Pakistani diaspora to visit their country because that will generate a tremendous amount of economic activity. “Come see this country, bring your friends over. Very few countries in the world have the scenic beauty that we have in our northern areas. We should work very hard to promote tourism in this country because that is the best export that Pakistan can have.”

Dr. Arshad Ahmad spoke about the learning crisis due to the pandemic that is straining development in the country. However, he stated that this challenge has come with an opportunity. “COVID-19 gave us a chance to rethink instruction and online learning which we were all forced to do. And if we do it right this time, like we are doing at LUMS, we could turn these learning losses into real gains that can go a long way to help our University.”

He elaborated that education is the way through which Pakistan is going to go forward, and the diaspora has a big role to play, especially when giving back to initiatives like the NOP. “A LUMS flagship social impact programme, all funds directly benefit the student in the form of a scholarship to pay for tuition books lodging living, etc. These students, all recruited on merit, come from the most disadvantaged areas from over 130 towns, villages and cities across Pakistan,” he added. 

Dr. Ahmad shared many examples of NOP scholars who pursued graduate programmes at top universities all over the world or stayed back to create a positive social impact in their own communities. “What is common about these NOP scholars is that they have learned the meaning of hard work, honesty and generosity and I think this is the winning combination.”

Mr. Yousaf Hussain also encouraged the diaspora to ensure education is accessible for all. “At Faysal Bank, the second largest Islamic bank in Pakistan, diversity and inclusiveness is very important for us, and part of our core values and ethos. It is very important to us that education for all is ensured. That is why Faysal Bank would like to contribute PKR 10 million towards the NOP at LUMS.” 

During the session, Dr. Murtaza Syed gave a detailed presentation on how to open a Roshan Digital Account and outlined the various services that account holders can avail. Syed Irfan Ali explained the particulars of opening the RDA by non-resident Pakistanis, and how account holders can borrow against their investment. Ms. Sima Kamil outlined that the primary responsibility of a central bank is to ensure the safety and soundness of the financial system. “The State Bank is actively working to ensure due protection of our citizens against any sort of cyber threats with respect to digital banking.”

The webinar ended with a Question and Answer session. To watch the webinar, click here.
 

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