PAKISTAN: Bankers meet finance minister

‘Government to build reserves up to $20bn in next three years’

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Ishaq Dar has expressed the hope that the situation of foreign inflows will further improve and those who speculate on Pakistani currency would only end as loosers. We have a clear roadmap to build foreign exchange reserves up to $20 billion in the next 3 years.

He expressed these views while meeting with the heads of commercial banks here at the Ministry of Finance and exchanged views on the current economic, monetary and fiscal situation of Pakistan.

In his opening remarks the finance minister said, the government has constituted a steering committee, which will submit its recommendations for promotion of Islamic Banking in the country by December 31, 2014. This will provide policy framework for Islamic Banking in the country. The constitution of the Steering Committee and its terms of reference have already been notified and released to the media, he added.

The Finance Minister said we have to work together to keep the forex market stable and acknowledged the help and cooperation extended by Commercial Banks in discouraging the speculators which is evident from the fact that the inter-bank rate today closed at Rs 107.78 to a dollar.

The Finance Minister said the government has redoubled its efforts to increase its foreign exchange reserves. In this connection, he said the government expects a payment from Etisalat of $800 million, $800 million against outstanding payments due on account of Coalition Support Fund, over $1.2 billion against auction of spectrum license besides $137 million are expected from Islamic Development Bank tomorrow.

The governor State Bank Yaseen Anwar informed the meeting that in the last 2 days exporters have liquidated export proceeds totaling $70 million, the government is receiving $30 million per day on account of remittances which has improved the foreign exchange position.

The Finance Minister said he is confident that the situation of inflows will further improve and those who speculate on Pakistani currency would only end as losers.

The Finance Minister said that we have a clear road map to build foreign exchange reserves up to $20 billion in the next 3 years.

The government encouraged by positive outlook projected by “Standard and Poor” ‘Moodys’, planned to float a Global Rupee bond with the assistance of IFC who are also interested in floating of sovereign bonds of Pakistan which has received a very positive response from the market.

The Finance Minister thanked the Executives of Commercial Banks for cooperating with the government as it moves towards building reserves and stabilising the market.

On this occasion Atif Bajwa, President Alfalah Bank, Imran Maqbool, President MCB, Tariq Mehmood, President ABL, pledged their support and cooperation to the government in its efforts to stabilise the economy and the markets. They also welcomed the Finance Minister’s frank and candid assessment of the economy and said that they share his optimistic outlook of Pakistan’s economy and its sound fundamentals, which would send a very positive message to the markets.

Those who participated in the meeting among others include the governor State Bank of Pakistan Yaseen Anwar, Senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and chairman Steering Committee on Islamic Banking Saeed Ahmad Wajahat Baqai, Executive Vice President, Group Head Credit, National Bank of Pakistan, Karachi. Imran Maqbool, President, Muslim Commercial bank Limited, Karachi. Tariq Mehmood, President, Allied Bank Limited, Muhammad Shahbaz Jameel, Executive Vice Resident and Regional Chief Head, United Bank Limited, Karachi. Nadeem Lodhi, CEO, Citi Bank, Managing Director, Aamir Irshad, Country Retail Head, Ms. Seema Kamil, Regional Corporate Head and Uzeir Naveed, Habib Bank Limited, Syed Mohammad Talib Rizvi Group Head Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited, Atif Bajwa, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Alflah, Karachi. Zaheer Mehdi, Managing Director, Standard Chartered Bank Limited.

*This article was published by the Daily Times. Read the original article here.

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