KARACHI: The banking sector in Pakistan has played a pivotal role in determining the overall economic growth and development and is constantly engaged in creating new opportunities while becoming one of the most sought-after careers in Pakistan,” said Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Mr. Tariq Bajwa addressing the second Pakistan Banking Awards on Tuesday.
Governor SBP urged banks to focus on agricultural and SMEs financing to for the long-term and for higher economic growth. The State Bank is focusing on the agricultural and SME sector. Banks have disbursed Rs700 billion agricultural loans during the last fiscal year.
He further said the State Bank has set a target for this year of Rs1.001 trillion in agricultural lending to support agriculture, one of the largest sectors of the economy. The agricultural sector “contributes some 27 percent in GDP growth, however bank’s lending to this sector is about 4.5 percent,” he said.
He said that after a long gap the country’s economy is on the right path, adding that last year Pakistan achieved 5.3 percent growth and this year the growth will be an estimated 6 percent. Previously, economic growth was lower than inflation, however now the growth is higher than inflation, he added.
The governor said that the financial sector, particularly the banking sector, plays a pivotal role in determining the overall economic growth and development of the nation. The efforts and achievements of the institutions contributing to this sector in Pakistan should be recognized and acknowledged, he added.
The efforts and achievements of the institutions contributing immensely to the national economy are duly recognized and acknowledged by initiatives like Pakistan Banking Awards, He further said the award categories are in line with aspects we have envisioned for the banking industry today and in times to come, highlighting Financial Inclusion, Small and Medium Enterprises, Microfinance, Corporate Finance & Capital Market Development, Customer Franchise, Corporate Social Responsibility and Islamic Banking.
“Banking industry is playing an instrumental role when it comes to inclusion- approximately 800 new branches are opened every year in urban and rural areas; products like sms banking, mobile banking, internet banking are playing a critical role to make inclusion possible,” Governor SBP said.
He added that the tremendous initiative of launching the first ever Pakistan Banking Awards taken last year by The Institute of Bankers Pakistan (IBP) in collaboration with A.F. Ferguson & Co (AFF) in 2016, proved to be a landmark in the history of banking in Pakistan.
“I commend and appreciate the time and efforts of these organizers and congratulate them for their collaboration to ensure that these Awards become a success at all levels,” he said.
Meanwhile Syed Mohammad Shabbar Zaidi- Territory Senior Partner and Chairman A.F. Ferguson & Co (AFF) PWC said the 2nd Pakistan Banking Awards is a milestone in the journey we started last year. These awards are conceptualized with the aim to set a novel benchmark for recognizing superior performance of institutions in furthering the economic development of our country. The ambition is not to simply declare the best on the basis of their financial performance; but non-financial merits as well, including but not limited to the range of products offered to various customer segments and the quality of customer service.
Jury for Pakistan Banking Awards 2017 comprises of Mr. Syed Salim Raza- Former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan; Mr. Azhar Hamid- Former Banking Mohtasib Pakistan & Former Country Head, SCB Pakistan; Mr. Feroz Rizvi- President & CEO Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance; Dr. Zeelaf Munir – MD & CEO English Biscuit Manufacturers Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Shehzad Naqvi- Former Regional Head of Citibank Middle East and Pakistan.
“I am pleased to share my message on the occasion of organizing 2nd Pakistan Banking Awards 2017. As one of the organizer of the event, IBP is honored to have been part of these awards which are organized every year,” CE IBP Mr. Husain Lawai said.
The financial sector of Pakistan eagerly awaits the results of their performance every year as these awards recognize the best performers in various categories in the banking sector, he added.
Awards were given in 8 categories. Bank Alfalah Limited has been declared Pakistan’s “Best Bank” at the Second Pakistan Banking Awards Ceremony. The “Bank the Unbanked Award” and “Best Microfinance Bank” awards were won by Telenor Micro Finance Bank. Habib Bank Limited secured the “Best Bank for Small Businesses and Agriculture” award. United Bank Limited was declared “Best Bank for Corporate Finance & Capital Market Development”. Bank Alfalah Limited also secured “Best Customer Franchise” award. Meezan Bank bagged the “Best Islamic Bank” award. “Best Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Bank” award was presented to JS Bank.