The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Controller General of Accounts of Pakistan (CGAP) mutually signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable digitization of the federal government payments through RAAST framework which is Pakistan’s first instant payment system launched earlier by SBP.

Raast is a pioneering initiative from SBP which focuses to provide a simple, fast, low-cost, interoperable, and secure electronic payment platform for instant processing of large retail payments. Raast also has the ability to make payments to multiple recipients at the same time to cover large-scale government payments such as salaries, pensions, and social security payments.

In the initial phase, salaries and pensions will be paid to a group of federal government employees through Raast. Payroll data and pension lists will be transferred from the CGA system to the Raast SBP system through a very secure interface, and payments will be made to recipients’ accounts as soon as the recipient’s data is verified.

To ensure that payments are only credited to the intended recipient’s account, Raast verifies the recipient’s details with their banks in real time before making a payment to the recipient’s account. After a trial, the facility will be used to cover all salaries and pensions, as well as payments to providers for the federal and district governments.

SBP is also leveraging Raast’s strong capabilities to incorporate payments into social safety nets such as Ehsas, BISP, and other government agencies.

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