Finance Ministry Rebuts News Report About Warning Foreign Banks

The spokesman of the Ministry of Finance strongly rebutted a report carried by a section of the media on Friday, titled “Senate panel threatens foreign banks with stern action”.

The report states that three banks refused to appear before the Committee in an ongoing investigation into the issuance of EURO Bonds 2015.

The spokesman said that the Ministry of Finance in 2015, through competitive bidding process, hired three banks i.e. Citi Bank, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered Bank as Joint Lead Managers (JLMs) for the issuance of Sovereign Bond in international capital market.

Subsequently, the three banks, while acting as Joint Lead Managers, sold EURO bonds 2015 in the international market through the process of book building. The entire process of appointment of Joint Lead Managers and sale of EURO bonds was conducted in a transparent and competitive manner.

The Senate Standing Committee on Finance Revenue and Economic Affairs had discussed this matter earlier as well and had desired to listen to the Joint Lead Managers. Accordingly, Senate Secretariat invited the three banks to attend its meeting scheduled for November 9, 2017. The banks informed that they had tendered their unavailability in writing due to non-availability of their Senior Management in the country.

The representative of Finance Division, however, clarified that following the Committee meeting held in September 2017, the matter came under discussion at the highest level of Ministry and it was decided that the Ministry of Finance would encourage the three banks to attend the meeting. Subsequently, the representative of Finance Division on November 1st, 2017 telephonically requested the Secretary to the Standing Committee to invite three banks in order to settle this matter once and for all.

Regretfully, the entire facts of the matter are being grossly misreported by one section of the media. The impression, that Ministry of Finance has withheld any facts, is completely wrong, and to say that the three banks refused to appear before the Committee is also incorrect and misleading.

From 23 foreign commercial banks operating in the country at the time, the number has now reduced to only 5. Negative reporting of this sort would not only discourage the international banks operating in Pakistan but would also send wrong signals to the international banks/financial institutions who are thinking of starting their business in the country.

The Government of Pakistan is committed to encouraging foreign investment and participation of foreign banks in the economy of Pakistan while maintaining the highest standards of transparency and fair play, and such misleading reporting is nothing but counter-productive, states the ministry.