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State Bank committed to ensuring economic stability: governor

By Our Correspondent
August 15, 2018

KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa on Tuesday reiterated that the central bank will continue to take steps like ensuring price stability through improved monetary policy framework for stabilising the economic conditions.

“This stability supports economic growth, which in turn can lead to improved quality of life in addition to preserving the value of savings,” he said.

Bajwa said financial inclusion was important for monetary stability and economic development and for this purpose, National Financial Inclusion Strategy was launched in 2015 that aims to increase the number of account holders to 50 percent of the total adult population by 2020. He also spoke of Asan Mobile Account and branchless banking, which were expected to help increase financial inclusion in the country.

The banking sector had registered an impressive asset expansion largely due to robust growth in advances to private sector. However, he emphasised the need for expanding banking products for all tiers of the economy, in particular SMEs, agriculture, and financially excluded segments of the society.

“SMEs are among priority sectors for their significant role in any economy but they have largely been ignored,” he said, adding that the SBP had recently introduced policy for promoting SME finance and hoped it would increase bank’s lending to SMEs.

“Pakistan, like other developing countries, has been facing shortage of housing units and there is a shortage of an estimated 10 million housing units in the country. One of the key constraints hampering supply of housing units is the unavailability of financing,” he said.

The SBP was in consultation with relevant stakeholders, and has developed a policy for promotion of low cost housing finance in Pakistan, the SBP governor said, while showing optimism that financial institutions would divert their resources towards this important sector.

The SBP celebrated the 71st Independence Day at its headquarters in Karachi on Tuesday, where Bajwa, started the formal proceedings by planting a tree at the bank premises, and later hoisted the national flag.

Later, the governor also announced to start a tree plantation campaign across all 16-field offices of SBP (BSC) spread across the country.

The governor also inaugurated a special painting exhibition, arranged at the SBP museum, of twenty-five inmates of central prison who had depicted to the world how they saw this Independence Day while they themselves were imprisoned.

These inmates are students of Sikandar Jogi, an artist who has dedicated himself to teaching art to the students of deprived areas. Jogi is running a workers institute of art and design where he is teaching the needy and poor.

Independence Day celebrations were also held at all the field offices of SBP (BSC), with open house activities particularly focusing on completion of 70 years of State Bank of Pakistan for general public, in Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar offices. The pensioners of SBP were specially invited on the occasion to pay tribute to their contributions in the progress of SBP as an institution.

The open house highlighted the history of State Bank of Pakistan by displaying different images and videos. Pakistan Security Printing Corporation (PSPC) displayed printing of currency. A separate stall with ATM machine was also arranged that presented the ATM functions and a brief on how to avoid ATM frauds. Commemorative coins, prize bonds and postal stamps were made available for the audience to purchase. To promote the innovation of digital banking channels, several commercial banks placed their stalls to demonstrate the applicability of digital banking.