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January 20, 2021

‘Good quality data critical for Pakistan’s sound policy making’

National

January 20, 2021

LAHORE: Former governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Dr Shamshad Akhtar, said good-quality and open and easy access to statistics and data is critical for Pakistan’s sound policy making and project design.

She said as country came out of the shadows of the pandemic, digital connectivity to, among others, deepen financial inclusion have emerged to be sustainable solution to reduce poverty and rejuvenate the economy. She expressed these views while addressing as a keynote speaker at a webinar on launch of Karandaaz Data Portal on Pakistan’s Financial Indicators. She observed that the pre-COVID gaps in financial inclusion have been glaring.

Dr Shamshad, who is also the Chairperson of Karandaaz Pakistan (KRN), talking about the significance of credible data for policymakers, stated that the KRN working with the government, regulator and all stakeholders to realise the vision of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy and meet the targets of enhancing financial inclusion across gender and geography. “Timely and reliable statistics and data portal will play a critical role in the design of futuristic policies and monitoring of ground progress. Devising strategies can lead the country towards sustained financial progress”, she observed.

Dr Shamshad said the policymakers, development partners, corporates, researchers and academia, and entrepreneurs, all have a need for statistics on the financial sector for identifying trends, learning from successes, ascertaining gaps, and mapping a necessary course of action in order to make interventions that can reap the best dividends for the economy. “Informed decisions backed by metrics, facts, and figures are the best decisions so a sophisticated data portal, where information is available for sound decision making, is critical”, she added.

Speaking on the occasion, the SBP Deputy Governor Sima Kamil said that as a regulator of the financial sector of any country, the central bank’s reliance on credible data for making policies that are likely to trigger growth and progress are fundamental. Although there is a lot of data available out there, there is a definite need for a consolidated source that is perceived as unbiased, credible, and pro-growth, she observed.

She hoped that this data portal that has been developed by Karandaaz will serve as a credible resource for government agencies, the financial sector, industry associations, and development agencies to gather invaluable insights and evidence on the most important indicators for planning and policymaking.

Head of Development of UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) Annabel Gerry in Pakistan in her message stated that the good, reliable and easy-to-understand data was essential for measuring impact and formulation of evidence based policies.

CEO Karandaaz Ali Sarfraz, speaking on the occasion, said that the importance of data to make informed decision making identify effective public and private actions, set goals and targets, monitor progress, and evaluate impacts cannot be stressed enough. “We have endeavored that Karandaaz data portal offers a host of macro, financial and sectoral statistics in a user-friendly interface that can also be customised by the users”, he added.

The Karandaaz Pakistan launched an online data portal with aggregated data on financial services and selected socio-economic indicators for the country. The data on the portal covers segments such as demographics, national economic data, agriculture finance, financial access, and behaviors of individuals, banking infrastructure and transactions, micro, agri, and SME financing, housing finance, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), mobile money, and telecommunications statistics.

The portal is interactive, intuitive, visually appealing and easy to navigate. It also offers the capability to generate bespoke data dashboards and has filtering and layering functionality.