In a significant move aimed at bolstering the burgeoning community of freelancers in Pakistan, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has introduced a comprehensive framework for the opening and operation of bank accounts for freelancers.
The circular notification, issued by the central bank to the CEOs and Presidents of all banks on Monday, outlines measures to simplify and streamline banking for freelancers.
New option for exporters
Under this innovative framework, freelancers now have the option to open an Exporters' Special Foreign Currency Account (ESFCA), a concept defined in the Foreign Exchange Manual, which enables them to retain export proceeds alongside their primary PKR (Pakistani Rupee) account.
Importantly, this can be done either in-person at a bank branch or remotely through digital means.
The new framework is not limited to new accounts. All existing Freelancer Digital Accounts (FDA) will be considered to have been opened under this improved framework, offering freelancers a host of benefits and simplifications. This initiative is a testament to the SBP's commitment to fostering a thriving freelance economy within the country.
Banks encouraged to act
To ensure a smooth transition and onboarding process for prospective freelancers, the SBP has also advised banks to proactively facilitate freelancers' entry into the banking system under the framework's provisions.
This move is expected to be welcomed by freelancers who often faced bureaucratic challenges when opening accounts in the past.
These groundbreaking instructions provided by the SBP will supersede any prior guidelines or regulations concerning Freelancer Digital Accounts (FDA) and have been incorporated into the SBP's Customers' Digital Onboarding Framework.
With this progressive initiative, the State Bank of Pakistan is not only acknowledging the significance of the freelance workforce but also making it easier for these individuals to manage their finances and earnings in a more convenient and secure manner. Freelancers and industry experts alike are looking forward to the positive impact of this development on Pakistan's growing freelance sector.