Instead of IMF, boost in exports is solution: SBP

KARACHI: Governor State Bank of Pakistan Ashraf Mahmood Wathra on Monday said that boost in exports was a solution towards economic prosperity and any International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) related projects were temporary support to the country.

He remarked this, during an interaction with media after a detailed briefing on economy of Pakistan at Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), which was organised jointly by PSX and SBP.

He said besides building a strong foreign exchange base through more exports and remittances, increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) was needed for the high real growth in the country.

He also urged the multi-national companies to bring more FDI in the country.

The economic situation in the country was improving. However, more efforts were needed on the financing side, he said.

To another question, he said SBP had introduced ‘Assan Account’scheme for the low income people which would be open and made functional within next few minutes. SBP has launched a financial awareness programme in the country as a step towards financial inclusion.

“Our target is, at least 50 percent of adult population should have access to banking system,” he said.

Earlier, during questions and answers session, he explained/replied various queries from businessmen and bankers.

To a question from Senior Vice President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) S.Khalid Tawab, the SBP Governor agreed that long-term planning was needed to ensure more cotton crop and its high yield per acre.

Government would have to play its role, he said.

When his attention was drawn to financial difficulties of power projects being executed in private sector, the SBP Chief offered his mediation for settling tariff with National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).

On this occasion, a representative of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) assured that being a private commercial bank, HBL could arrange dollars for opening of Letters of Credit (L/Cs).

A leading stock broker/investor Arif Habib drew the governor’s attention to less loaning to housing industry and that Overseas Pakistanis were less interested in investing in industrial sector.

Instead, they were holding their earnings with them and use their remittances for the purchase of land and other prosperity.

Another senior broker/investor Moin Fuda pointed out that Pakistan has only 25 hundred thousands investors’ base. And, instead of giving more incentives to them , the government was charging them with 12 percent taxes. Another serious hurdle to investment was the imposition of five percent tax on bonus shares. Such tax did not exist in rest of the world. These both taxes should immediately be withdrawn, he said.

SBP governor assured him of taking up the matter with the higher government authorities.