The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in consultation with banks, has digitised the process of obtaining refinance under the Export Finance Scheme (EFS) for both conventional and Shariah-compliant institutions.

With effect from February 1, EFS-related cases would be submitted electronically to the central bank through an online platform for expeditious regulatory decisions, according to a statement issued by the SBP on Wednesday.

However, the outstanding EFS loans (as on January 31, 2022) would be processed as per the existing mechanism till their maturity. “Digitisation of the refinance process is envisioned to effectively use technology for enhancing operational efficiency,” it said.

Initially, the digitised process would run in parallel with the existing manual submission for a month.

Later, banks would have to submit only hardcopies of agreement and Demand Promissory Note once a year or in case of enhancement of allocated limit, for covering their respective annual allocated limit under EFS, to the SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP-BSC).

The paper-based process would be transformed to the electronic submission of cases only. “This online platform will also enable banks to track the updated status of EFS-related cases submitted to SBP/ SBP-BSC on a real-time basis,” the statement said.

Financial institutions would be able to retrieve system-generated reports for sharing the updated status with their customers, it added.

Through the digitisation, the SBP would be able to delegate some of the operations to banks, such as the sub-allocation of EFS limits by financial institutions as per their requirements. Under the mechanism, “there will be no need of transferring an exporter’s limit from one SBP-BSC office to another,” it said, adding that this would ensure swift processing of EFS cases and benefit the banks/ exporters availing financing facility.

“This digitisation is expected to conserve resources and bring efficiency by reducing turnaround time and replacing the paper-based submissions of cases that are prone to logistic and storage issues,” said the statement.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2022.

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