IT secretary talks up e-banking


The rapid progress of e-banking in the country is a sign that Pakistan is fast accepting globalization, said Secretary IT, Government of Sindh, Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui on Wednesday.
Addressing as the Guest of Honour at the Euronet E-banking 2012, the 10th conference and exhibition organized by Total Communications and supported by PSEB and [email protected], Faruqui said that while the progress is commendable, this advancement in the IT sector should be utilized to facilitate the common people of the nation. “The change in the public sector is not as high as it should be, but the government is striving to achieve automation in the public sector offices. Apart from the federal government, the provincial government is also working to better equip the public sector,” he said. The Secretary IT also invited the private sector to show keen interest in the IT City being established in Karachi, adding that land for this purpose has already been allocated and the government is now in its planning phase for the project.
Nadeem Elahi, Chairman, [email protected] said that the IT industry is worth $2.8 billion in Pakistan which is 1.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said that while this is a positive figure, the local industry has to go a long way as it has extremely high potential. He compared the local IT sector to the region, particularly India, whose IT industry is worth $60 billion and is worth 4.36 percent of their GDP.
He also said that Pakistan’s exports have increased and have touched over 200 million. Referring to branchless banking sector, he stated that at present internet penetration is 22 million, mobile users are 114 million whereas bank account holders are 25 million in the country, which highlights the growth opportunity that stakeholders of this sector have.
He further said that software engineering is the only profession that has witnessed double growth in salaries in the past couple of years. He stated, “Pakistan, in fact, has a shortage of qualified software engineers in the market”.
During the conference, Jean-Louis Meyer, Payment Solutions Manager, Datacard, USA, highlighted the opportunities and challenges being faced within the datacard solutions sector.
He said that with Datacard solutions, instant issuance of permanent personalized debit and credit card is now possible. He said that earlier the process of issuing and activating debit and credit cards was extremely lengthy which had been reduced with the introduction of datacard chip. He said, “Datacard activation rate remains 15 percentage points higher among instantly issued cards after 30 days”. 1 Link (Guarantee) Limited Chief Executive Officer, Faisal Ejaz Khan, during his presentation, said that there are 5,500 ATMs across the country and 14 million debit/ credit card users. He said that 1 Link strongly believes that “collaboration is everything” and therefore, keeping their motto in mind, 1 Link is looking to expand its partnership base. Khan said that Pakistan has witnessed tremendous growth in branchless banking, ebanking, mobile payments, corporate payments and remittances- all of which has 1 link as their common stakeholder. Bilal Ahmed of Abacus Consulting, SAP and Sybas gave a detailed presentation on his three company profiles and said that SAP is the largest software provider in the world, while Sybase has the largest data centre in the world. Mohamed Mousa, Vice President and Managing Directo for Middle East, Africa and Pakistan region, Euronet Worldwide, Singapore said the electronic funds transfer (EFT) outsourcing is a strategic choice that banks around the world are adopting today. He said that outsourcing is a popular choice for two reasons. One, he said, is cost saving as 10 percent costs are saved per ATM per month when operations are outsourced as compared to in-house running of ATMs. The second is transfer of risk, he said, as the bank does not have to directly deal with any risks involved in the EFT.