February 21, 2020: State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir has said that only 15 per cent of the adult female population of the country possesses active bank accounts. This a major challenge before the State Bank as this national rate is even lower than the South Asian average which is 65 per cent.
The State Bank governor stated this on Thursday in his keynote address at the “CEO Summit Asia 2020” organized by CEO Club Pakistan and Management House here at a hotel.
Those others who also spoke at the summit include Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas, Founder of CEO Club Pakistan Ijaz Nisar, Karachi Port Trust Chairman Rear Admiral Jamil Akhtar, Pakistan Stock Exchange Chairman Sulaiman S Mehdi, Sindh Bank President Imran Samad,Arif Habib – Chairman & CEO, Arif Habib Corporation, Dr Omar Chughtai, Raza Pirbahi, Sulana Siddiqui, Dr Amjad Waheed, former Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair, Dr Imran Y Muhammad, PM’s TasK Force on Housing Chairman Zaigham Rizvi, Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, FPCCI President Mian Anjum Nisar, Umair Azam, Farid Alam, and others also spoke on the occasion.
State Bank Governor Dr Baqir said the big question whose answer had to be ascertained was that why there was so phenomenal difference between the percentage of Pakistani adult female population having active bank accounts and the South Asian average of the same account. He said that such a difference in the ratio of the female adult population having active bank accounts should not exist when South Asian countries were quite similar in cultural and other aspects.
He said that one of the strategies being used by the State Bank to address this issue was the promotion of entrepreneurship among the female population of the country. He said that another area being focused by the State Bank was the introduction of electronic and digital means in the country to do money transactions to do trade as for this cause soon a platform would be launched in the form of micropayment gateway. He said that launching of this new platform would put Pakistan prominently on the map of the countries having advanced systems of electronic and digital means of money transactions to do business.
He said that State Bank had been actively supporting the growth of the small and medium enterprises in the country for the sake of national economic growth. He said the State Bank would make sure that the SMEs got financing from banks in the country. He urged the chambers of commerce and industry in the country to play their due part to promote SMEs.
He said that exports of the country grew by 4.5 per cent in the first half of the current financial year showing steady growth of the economy. He said that during the same period India’s exports grew by -2.3 per cent, that of Thailand by -2.5 per cent, Sri Lank by -3.6 per cent, Indonesia -5 per cent, Malaysia -6 per cent, and exports of Bangladesh grew by -7 per cent in the same period. He said that Pakistan had increased its exports recently in contrast to the negative export growth of several regional countries, which were considered as export powerhouses.
The State Bank governor expressed firm optimism that businesses of the country had a very bright future in front of them.
He said that on the growth front the country had started receiving the preliminary signs of the economic turnaround. He said that sales of cement, imports of machinery, and large scale manufacturing were the three economic sectors whose recent statistics proved the notion that the national economy had started growing.“We can say with confidence that we have put the worst behind us,” he said.
He conceded that the public sector had to do a lot to bring reforms in its working to support the growth of the private sector. He also conceded that State Bank had to do much more for growth of the economy and export.
Also addressing the summit, former chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General (retd) Zubair Mahmood Hayat said that Pakistan’s conduct had always improved whenever the country had to face major challenges. He said that the strategic decisions taken by Pakistan created effects for the entire region. He said that recently visiting Secretary-General of the UNO had praised the role of Pakistan in peacekeeping in the conflict regions of the world. He said that Pakistan was a country full of resources as people from other regions came here to exploit them as the same was the case of Mughal emperors who had come to this region.
He said that Pakistan had always secured major milestones in doing corporate philanthropy as several charities in the country owed their existence and growth of their operations to such generous donations by the countrymen. He said that corporate institutions in the country should patronize the skills and talent of the youth in the country. He said that youth of the country had achieved major milestones in showcasing their outstanding talent and qualification on international online platforms.
General (retd) Hayat said that industrial growth of the country would get a major boost with the development of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project.
He said that both the relevant private and public sector institutions in the country should come forward and combine their efforts to do entrepreneurship and technological advancement on the business front. The former Joint Chiefs of Staff said that the GDP of the country could be grown by three to five per cent with the inclusion of women in business and economic active.
Chairman and CEO of Arif Habib Corporation Arif Habib said that the situation in Pakistan had been getting improved to do investment. He said that investment in Pakistani market had always paid dividends to the investors. He said that Pakistan’s Stock Market had paid return up to 12 per cent to the investment by foreign investors