Pakistan’s First Export and Import Bank Could Launch Next Year

The Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), is working to establish Export and Import (Exim) Bank in the country, which may start its operations in 2020, reported Express Tribune.

According to the report, the bank will assist the export and import of unconventional goods to many countries of the world with which Pakistan does not have regular trade relations. For the purpose, the Ministry of Finance has constituted a high-level committee, which is currently drawing up a legal and regulatory model and the State Bank will be the regulator.

Last year, a consultant of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a local consultant were taken onboard and tasked with making recommendations for the services to be provided by the bank.

The idea of setting up the bank was floated in 2015, and in 2017, the central bank conducted a survey to study the legal frameworks under which similar banks were running across the globe and see how the operations were conducted. These included banks in Canada, Germany, Malaysia, Turkey, Denmark, India and the United States said the report.

Vacancies for the chief executive officer of the bank, the federal bank officer and a permanent bank president have already been advertised by the central bank’s Lahore office. However, no suitable candidate has been appointed yet.

The ADB has provided $500,000 for preparing the bank’s legal framework under which the business plan, overall setup and the bank’s working process will be decided.

Initially, the bank will facilitate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) before extending its operations to other business areas.

The report further stated that the Ministry of Finance, besides providing trade financing and insurance facility to the exporters, Exim Bank will also offer re-financing facility while following the central bank’s model.

The head office of Exim Bank will be established in the SBP Lahore building while the bank’s regional offices will be set up in eight cities, including Sialkot, Karachi, Faisalabad and Multan.

  • Large financial resources are required, Pakistan is yet struggling for attaining such a comfortable position. With its meagre resource base, it would not be easy to outclass the regional banks in the financing of such trade. The government and the SBP are urged to consider the factors discussed above for reaching a decision on the viability of an export-import bank for the country.

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