Wednesday December 06, 2023

Murtaza Syed to head SBP after govt denies extension to Baqir

The government has given acting charge to Deputy Governor Dr Murtaza Syed as a stop-gap arrangement till the appointment of a new Governor SBP

May 06, 2022
Dr Murtaza Syed has been appointed as SBP governor after Dr Reza Baqirs tenure ended.
Dr Murtaza Syed has been appointed as SBP governor after Dr Reza Baqir's tenure ended. 

ISLAMABAD: After tough resistance by the top leadership of two mainstream political parties, the PMLN and PPP, the government did not grant a second five-year term to former governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir.

Now the government has given acting charge to Deputy Governor Dr Murtaza Syed as a stop-gap arrangement till the appointment of a new Governor SBP.

Top official sources confirmed to The News here on Thursday that “now the government is all set to approve the summary for appointing new Governor SBP. After the Eid holidays, the summary will be moved soon to Prime Minister/Federal Cabinet for seeking approval and then President will appoint the new Governor SBP under the Amended SBP Act 2022.”

Under the SBP Amendment Act 2022, the governor and the non-executive directors shall be appointed by the president, upon the recommendation of the federal government taking into account the eligibility and disqualification criteria laid down in this Act. The deputy governors shall be appointed by the federal government after consultation between the Minister of Finance and the Governor, from amongst a panel of three candidates recommended by the Governor for each vacant position, in order of merit. Under Section 14 of the SBP Amendment Act 2022, the Governor, the Deputy Governors, and the non-executive Directors shall be appointed for a term of five years and shall be eligible for re-appointment only for one term of five years. No person shall hold the office of the Governor or Deputy Governor after attaining the age of sixty-five years.

Some top contenders are on the list for clinching the top position of Governor SBP including Aasim Hussain, former IMF official, Muhammad Aurengzeb, who is currently serving as President/CEO Habib Bank Limited, Noor Ahmed, former secretary Economic Affairs Division and currently serving as Pakistan’s Executive Director in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) based in Manila. The name of former secretary of Finance Shahid Mehmood is also under consideration who had served as Pakistan’s representative in the IMF and ADB as well.

Aasim M. Husain had served as Deputy Director in the Middle East and Central Asia Department (MCD) of the IMF, where he supervised the department’s regional work on the GCC, and on several countries in the region. Prior to joining MCD in March 2015, Husain served in the European Department — where he supervised work on several Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European countries — and in the Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, where he led the Fund’s policy development work on capital flows and reviewed country work on many of the large emerging market economies. Previously, Husain served as IMF mission chief for Italy, Egypt, Jordan, and Kazakhstan, and headed the Fund’s work on commodity and energy issues. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Mathematical Sciences from Rice University and his Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the IMF in 1990.

Muhammad Aurangzeb, a banker, joined as President of HBL in 2018. Prior to this responsibility at HBL, he was the CEO of JP Morgan’s Global Corporate Bank based in Asia, with a rich international banking experience of over 30 years in other senior management roles at ABN AMRO and RBS based in Amsterdam and Singapore. He is the only Pakistani to be invited to the exclusive membership of the Global CEO Council organized by the WSJ/DowJones group. He is also Chairman of the Pakistan Banks Association, Chairman of the Pakistan Business Council, and Council Member at the Institute of Bankers Pakistan. He received his BS and MBA degrees from the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)

The top leadership of both PMLN and PPP had opposed the move to grant another term to former Governor SBP Dr Reza Baqir. Both PMLN leader Ishaq Dar and PPP stalwart Saleem Mandviwalla opposed the second term of former Governor SBP.

Federal Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail tweeted that “As the term of Governor SBP Dr. Reza Baqir has come to an end, as per law the senior most Deputy Governor takes over. Therefore, Dr Murtaza Syed, an eminently qualified economist with rich IMF experience, will take over as Governor SBP. I wish him the best in his new role”.