Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Dr. Reza Baqir has responded to the criticism of him by the opposition parties, especially with reference to various conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — for the renewal of a $6 billion loan facility — and the SBP Amendment Bill, 2021.
Dr. Reza Baqir told the Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance on Monday that he did not work for the global lender, IMF, and he was a Pakistani. He made it clear that prior to working for the banking regulator, he had worked with the international lender, yet numerous other SBP officials had previously worked for IMF and other foreign organizations.
“I have no other nationality. I am a Pakistani. I do not have permanent residence in any other country,” he stated. He regretted that fake news about these issues was being widely circulated on the media and social media.
To a query about the central bank’s autonomy, Dr. Raza Baqir told Senators that the SBP (Amendment) Bill had been released and, “everyone can see that the government has all the power”.
“It is incorrect to imply that the IMF is becoming the owner of the SBP,” he said, indicating that false information has previously circulated that the government had sold the central bank to IMF.
The Governor SBP’s remarks came a few days after clarifications issued by the Finance Ministry, wherein the latter had revealed that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would have full jurisdiction to investigate SBP officials in criminal and corruption-related matters. The Ministry had clarified that SBP would continue to be a public institution and would work for Pakistan only within the mandate given to it by the government. The clarifications further said that the key SBP officials would continue to be appointed by the federal government.