The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday unveiled a policy to enhance the financial inclusion of persons with disabilities (PWDs). Addressing the ceremony, President Dr Arif Alvi appreciated the efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan in designing a comprehensive policy to facilitate PWDs in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders. He highlighted the difficulties experienced by PWDs in society and referred to the impediments faced by them in accessing financial services. He also drew attention towards the more vulnerable segment of PWDs – women with disabilities, as they may face two fold discrimination. He expressed satisfaction that the launch of the new policy by SBP will contribute significantly in alleviating the difficulties faced by PWDs, which will enhance their confidence in the financial system significantly. The president hoped that all relevant stakeholders will continue to collaborate on a regular basis to keep the momentum of providing improved infrastructure, service delivery, use of innovative technologies and availability of financing at an affordable cost. On this occasion, Governor SBP Dr Reza Baqir informed the President about the efforts being made to improve the quality of services for the PWDs and shared his resolve that SBP will continue its efforts, along with banks, towards achieving even higher standards for such services. He acknowledged the valuable input given by various associations of PWDS in these efforts. The governor said that SBP will work with banks to support the goal that PWDs have equal access and opportunity to participate in economic activities. He emphasized that banks should design and deliver products and services that cater to the special needs of PWDs and make physical and assistive technological infrastructure available for their facilitation. The governor further mentioned that promotion of diversity and inclusion is an important pillar of SBP’s overall policy framework that aims at deepening the financial system for achieving broad based sustainable growth and development. The SBP has required banks to develop the policy framework for PWDs by 30th September 2021. Banks are also required to establish a minimum number of Model branches, under a prescribed criteria, in each province, AJK and GB by 31st March 2022. During the meeting, Mr. Arif Usmani, President NBP, speaking on behalf of the Pakistan Banks Association reiterated the banking sector’s full commitment in supporting the financial inclusion of PWDs. Amin Hashwani, on behalf of various associations of PWDs, thanked the governor SBP for issuing a comprehensive policy for financial inclusion of PWDs. Mr. Ghulam Muhammad Abbasi from SBP made a detailed presentation during the launch ceremony. The event was attended by the senior SBP officials, Presidents/CEOs of banks and heads of NGOs working for various PWDs.