Irfan Wahab Khan, Chairman of Telenor Microfinance Bank, has emphasized that Pakistan is lagging behind in leveraging the benefits of digitization to promote economic growth. Despite a large number of cellular mobile customers, Pakistan has yet to fully embrace digital lending, e-businesses, and cashless financing options. Khan attributes this to a lack of a conducive environment and political will to implement a cashless economy.
One of the key obstacles is the absence of a credit bureau for small amounts leasing services, resulting in no protection for investors from defaulting customers. Additionally, there is a lack of coordination among regulatory bodies such as the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Federal Investigation Agency, and the Federal Board of Revenue.
The digital economy in Pakistan also faces limited visibility. For instance, railway stations along the main track from Peshawar to Karachi do not have ATMs or vendors accepting digital payments through QR codes. The use of digital wallets like Easypaisa and JazzCash is restricted to a few vendors at each station.
To facilitate economic growth, Khan emphasizes the need for digitization and the promotion of AI-driven generative technologies. These technologies can enhance customer engagement and refine service delivery through personalized interactions, AI-powered chatbots, and virtual assistants that offer tailored solutions to customer queries. AI can also analyze customer data to predict behavior, enabling telecommunications companies to customize their offerings and improve the customer experience.
Furthermore, AI-driven analytics can monitor network performance, troubleshoot network issues, and enhance the reliability of telecom services. Khan believes that AI will play a crucial role in fraud prevention identifying patterns of fraudulent activities and unauthorized usage to safeguard customer accounts and data.
However, Pakistan also faces challenges in terms of low-quality voice and data services. Telcos attribute this to the limited availability of spectrum in the country. They have requested the Ministry of Information Technology and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to release more spectrum to address this issue.
In conclusion, Pakistan needs to embrace digitization and overcome regulatory and infrastructure challenges to promote economic growth. By leveraging AI-driven technologies and improving the quality of telecom services, Pakistan can unlock the full potential of its digital economy.
– Irfan Wahab Khan, Chairman of Telenor Microfinance Bank
– Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly