IMF survey reveals Pakistanis’ financial access limited

By Kazim Alam

KARACHI: Did you know that the average number of deposit accounts with commercial banks per 1,000 Pakistanis is only 316 as opposed to the average of almost 1,200 accounts per 1,000 Indians?

Were you aware that as many as 147 out of every 1,000 Indians maintain a loan account with a commercial bank compared to an average of only 28 people per 1,000 Pakistanis?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released on Tuesday the fifth tranche of its annual Financial Access Survey (FAS), which determines the level of financial inclusion in as many as 189 economies of the world.

The FAS database contains 47 key indicators that are grouped into two major groups: geographic outreach of financial services and the use of financial services. The database covers a 10-year period (2004–2013).

According to the IMF, FAS findings offer a strong quantitative underpinning to the theoretical literature that links financial inclusion with overall economic growth.

“The positive correlation between the increase in the use of commercial banks services – a measure of financial inclusion –and the increase in the GDP per capita– a measure of economic growth – is especially noteworthy when comparing financial inclusion trends,” the IMF said in its report.

The Express Tribune has arranged a wide range of Pakistan-specific data from the FAS. Following are the main indicators to help our readers understand major trends in Pakistan’s economy.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2014.

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