Business community opposes shifting key SBP departments


Amanullah Khan

Karachi—Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig Chairman FPCCI Standing Committee on Banking, Credit & Finance vehemently opposed the decision of federal governments to shift five keys departments of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) from Karachi to Lahore. This announcement has created a great anxiety and concern among the business community across Pakistan in general and business community of Karachi in particular. He said this move will tyranny to the business community and malign the entire business activities which already confronted with many challenges.
He added that the headquarter of SBP is in Karachi since 1948 and even when the capital of country was shifted to Islamabad in 1960 the policy makers and authority decided to continue to operate the SBP headquarter from Karachi due to significance of Karachi in financial, commercial and industrial activities. He further stated that the shifting of currency management, government banking, internal audit, foreign exchange operations and implementations of Development Finance Group related departments to Lahore from financial hub Karachi is not a fair step of government towards business friendly policies. As the sub-offices of SBP are already operating in other cities of Pakistan then there is no need of transferring of these departments to Lahore.
He further added that this is not favorable for traders and industrialist of Sindh particularly Karachi, which is the hub of economic activities and contribute more than 20 per cent in national income of Pakistan, 30 per cent in industrial output, 40 per cent in Large scale manufacturing and 30 per cent in small scale manufacturing, 25 per cent in national tax revenue, 62 per cent in income tax collection and 95 per cent in foreign trade of Pakistan. On financial side, Karachi contributes 40 per cent in financial activities and 50 per cent in all banks deposits. The headquarters of most of the public and private banks, insurance companies, media channels and multinational companies are located in Karachi, he stated.
Moreover, different industrial zones, two ports and Karachi stock exchange represents Karachi as metro city and the World Bank also recognized Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan in past. The shifting of these departments of SBP will also shake the confidence of the foreign investors and leave a negative message to foreign companies who are trading with Pakistan. Dr. Baig urged the federal government to stop doing injustices with business and industrial community of Karachi and refrain from taking such anti-business steps, which would surely prove to be detrimental and counterproductive for the economy keeping in view the enormous role and substantial contribution being made by Karachi in the overall economic development of Pakistan.
He further stated that various trade associations and chambers across Pakistan have already criticized SBP decision and demanded its immediate withdrawal. In a recent discussion with Qasim Nawaz Managing Director Pakistan Banking Services, State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Baig strongly criticized SBP decision of shifting office and expressed concerned on the retrenchment on SBP staff due to shifting of the departments from Karachi. Qasim Nawaz clarified that there will not be any retrenchment as the State Bank has given option to the employees either to transfer to Lahore or to continue their services in Karachi.