NA body orders shifting of govt deposits to Islamic mode

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–Chairman says NA committee ‘cannot wait another two years’ for govt to fully convert banking system into Islamic mode

–PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal accuses NBP president of money laundering 

ISLAMABAD: In a major development, the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue has asked the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Pakistan to shift government deposits to Islamic mode.

In this regard, the NA body also constituted a sub-committee to consult with the finance ministry, SBP and other relevant institutions. Renowned Islamic scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani would also be part of the committee.

Talking about the issue, committee chairman MNA Faizullah said that the NA body “cannot wait for another two years” for the government to fully convert the banking system into Islamic mode. “The government should at least shift its deposits to Islamic mode.”

Meanwhile, National Bank of Pakistan President Arif  Usmani briefed the committee about the hiring status of NBP employees during 2019 and 2020. 

He also informed the committee regarding the accountability process initiated across the board, wherein two senior executive vice presidents and five EVPs were terminated in order to make NBP a thriving organization.

“The recent flow of complaints was a reaction to the disciplinary performance measures being undertaken.”

The committee expressed its concerns over the educational criteria highlighted for recruitment of senior officers of the bank. On this, the State Bank of Pakistan deputy governor explained that the recruitment of president, board directors and key executives need approval of the SBP. “Sometimes the bank can appoint key executives itself and report to SBP. If SBP thinks there was further required clarifications, they can intervene accordingly.” 

The committee chairman expressed resentment over the mismanagement made in appraisement, rewards and appointments of branch managers in NBP at lower level, especially in Faisalabad Division.

After detailed discussion, the committee directed the Ministry of Finance and NBP to provide details of criteria of the last three presidents appointed at NBP along with the criteria followed for the current president.

It also asked the concerned to explain as to how many employees were recruited in New York (USA) along with details of their recruitment procedures — experience, qualifications and performance.

The committee further directed the MoF to provide a comprehensive report on whether the required process for the hiring of NBP senior officers, including group heads, were being followed or not.

Interestingly, MNA Ahsan Iqbal alleged that the NBP president, during his services in Nigeria, was “involved in money laundering”.

“While the country is facing threats at FATF, the NBP president has allegedly been involved in money laundering,” he claimed.

Arif Usmani, however, categorically denied “fabricated and baseless stories” about his reputation and stated that his appointment was made on merit after fulfiling all necessary requirements. 

The committee recommended that the NBP group head (HR) may be invited in person in the next meeting.

Moreover, the committee discussed the Eradication of Riba Bill, 2019, moved by MNA Abdul Akbar Chitrali and expressed its dissatisfaction on the presentation given by the State Bank of Pakistan. It directed the finance ministry’s additional secretary SBP deputy governor to arrange a meeting with the mover along with MNAs Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Amjad Ali Khan, Abdul Wasay and Syed Javed Hasnain for the way forward in this regard.

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