SBP, Arab Fund alliance to ease cross-border remittances

Integration of Raast with Buna to simplify payments through official channels

Our Correspondent November 04, 2023
A Reuters file image of SBP logo


The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have formally agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cross-border remittances connecting the Arab region with Pakistan.

According to a joint press statement, during a ceremony held by AMF, Dr Abdulrahman Bin Abdullah Al Hamidy, the Director-General and Chairman of the Board of AMF, along with Jameel Ahmad, the Governor of SBP, signed the MoU in Abu Dhabi. The agreement is aimed at creating a framework of cooperation between Buna, the cross-border payment system managed by the Arab Regional Payments Clearing and Settlement Organisation (ARPCSO), owned by AMF, and Raast, Pakistan’s Instant Payment System.

The integration of Raast with Buna has the goal of simplifying cross-border remittances between the Arab region and Pakistan via formal channels. This initiative promises to be beneficial for both individuals and businesses by providing instantaneous, secure, and cost-effective cross-border payment solutions, further strengthening economic, financial, and investment ties between Arab countries and Pakistan, reads the press statment.

Dr Hamidy, Director General, Chairman of the Board of ARPCSO, mentioned that this strategic collaboration underlines Buna’s commitment to connect various regions and foster economic, financial, and investment bonds between the Arab region and its primary global partners. He emphasised the shared vision of innovating cross-border payment solutions for secure and efficient instant cross-border payments, benefiting individuals and corporations alike.

Furthermore, the aim is to elevate cross-border remittances by decreasing costs and processing times.

The SBP governor described the MoU as a major strategic achievement that opens doors to a closer connection between Pakistan and the Arab region. He highlighted that the integration of these two payment systems will lead to increased remittances to Pakistan through official channels, offering enhanced speed, safety, and cost savings in cross-border transactions.

Given that over 5 million Pakistanis reside in the Arab region, with around 55% of Pakistan’s total remittances coming from Arab countries, the SBP is committed to expeditiously completing the necessary work, said Ahmed.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2023.

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