SBP and CGA Sign MOU for Digitizing Government Payments through Raast

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Controller General of Accounts Pakistan (CGAP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to digitize federal government payments using RAAST, Pakistan’s First Instant Payment System, which will be launched by SBP in January 2021.

Raast is SBP’s flagship initiative, providing a simple, fast, low-cost, interoperable, and safe online payment forum for high-volume retail payments.

Raast may also allow contributions to many recipients at once, which is useful for high-volume government payments such as wages, pensions, and social security benefits.

Raast would be used to pay the salary and retirement of a number of Federal Government employees in the test process. Payroll and pension-roll details will be moved from the CGA system to SBP’s Raast through a highly protected app, and transfers to beneficiaries’ accounts will be made immediately after validating their records.

Raast assures the beneficiaries’ information with their banks in real time before crediting the payment to the beneficiary’s account to ensure that payments are only credited to the intended beneficiary’s account. Following the pilot, the facility will be extended to accommodate both federal and provincial government wages, insurance, and supplier fees.

SBP is now seeking to extend Raast’s capabilities to cover payments from social safety nets like the Ehsas Scheme, BISP, and other government agencies.

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