Why is it taking so long to decide the NBP president?

Federal Cabinet directs Finance division to re-advertise President NBP post

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has directed the Finance division to re-advertise the post of President National Bank of Pakistan.

Earlier on Tuesday, the ministry tabled the summary of the appointment of President NBP, in the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

As per sources, the Finance division recommended names of Adnan Aly Agha, Imran Sarwar and Javed Kureishi for this position. 

Sources revealed that before shortlisting these three candidates, the finance minister-led selection committee of 7 had conducted interviews of 16 candidates. The finance ministry claims that the Selection Committee interviewed the candidates and assessed them on the basis of their professional knowledge, expertise, leadership qualities, communication skills and aptitude for the job. The committee then unanimously recommended the above-mentioned three candidates in order of merit, for appointment against the position of President NBP.

According to the PM Secretariat, the Cabinet directed the Finance ministry to complete the process of President NBP appointment as early as possible. 

The Timeline of the President’s appointment:

The Government of Pakistan and the State Bank are the joint shareholders of more than three-quarters of the NBP shares. Under the National Bank of Pakistan Ordinance 1949, the Federal Government is entitled to appoint the President under section 16. 

Since the start of May, 2022, the government has been trying to get this job done however, hurdle after hurdle seems to be the fate of the chair of the President. A move that may just be working for the acting President Hasniei. Since May, there have been repeated instances of delay in the appointment of the President.

Earlier last year, the interviews were postponed due to tensions between the ex-finance minister Miftah Ismail, and the coalition government. According to earlier reports by Profit, the seven-member committee had started conducting the interviews of the then short-listed 14 candidates by November 2022.

There was a number of notable figures in the 16, including SEVP CIBG Samba Bank Syed Ghazanfar, GH Bank of Punjab Mustafa Hamdani, Chief RBG ABL Tariq Javed Ghumman, SEVP Meezan Bank Muhammad Abdullah, Group Executive Chief & Chief Risk Officer UBL Imran Sarwar, CEO BoP Tahir Yaqoob Bhatti, CEO FWBL Farrukh Iqbal, COO Askari Bank Khurshid Zafar, GH Silk Bank Hassan Raza, Ex CEO ABL Tahir Hassan Qureshi and ED Citibank Javed Kureshi.

However, there is a missing link to this puzzle. One of the three names that were put before the Cabinet on Tuesday, Adnan Aly Agha, had not surfaced in this initial list of 14. 

Sources told Profit that Adnan Aly Agha had not officially applied for the President NBP position earlier. Still, the Ministry of Finance shortlisted him for an interview. Therefore, despite there being 14 names up until November, the Finance Ministry claims to have interviewed 16 candidates for the position.

On the subject of the cabinet’s direction to re-advertising, instead of appointing, sources close to development told this scribe that former Senior Executive Vice President NBP, Adnan Aly Agha was a controversial figure, even in the meeting.

Mr. Agha was reported to have a dual Job (one in NBP and one is Philippines). The Auditor General of Pakistan’s commercial wing, Karachi office had also pointed out his illegal appointment in the interim report. Later on, Agha resigned, even from his job abroad, after being reported in a case. 

Sources privy to these developments revealed that the acting president, Rehmant Ali Hasniei, is also said to have succeeded in gaining confidence of the higher-ups of this coalition government, due to which, he will most likely continue till the appointment of a regular President NBP. 

The Appointment of DFI MDs and CEOs 

Sources said that Finance ministry has also been quiet about the appointments of MDs and CEOs of Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) including Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company (PKICL), Pak-Libya Holding Company (Pvt) Ltd (PLHCL), Pak Brunei Investment Company Limited (PBICL), Pak-Oman Investment Company Limited (POICL) and Pak-China Investment Company Limited (PCIC).

According to details, a Committee headed by Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar conducted  interviews, at the Finance Division Islamabad in the first week of December of the qualified candidates for the appointment of Managing Directors/CEOs of PKICL, PLHCL, PBICL, POICL.

Sources revealed that the boards of above mentioned DFIs, have asked MDs/CEOs to continue work despite the fact that their contracts expired a few months back.

Meanwhile, the Pak Oman Investment limited Board has given the acting charge of CEO to the Corporate head of the company.

It is pertinent to note that DFIs are investment institutions mandated to promote investment opportunities in the country and enhance economic trade between Pakistan and the international world. 

 

Shahzad Paracha
Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

3 COMMENTS

  1. What a sham! A key post in the local financial industry being managed on ad-hoc basis. Its been several month since Miftah was removed and Dareconomics were implemented. Why this delay is simply unfathomable. Clearly stability of economy and financial sector remains low of govt priority!

  2. The Federal Cabinet of Pakistan has mandated the Finance division to re-proffer the post of President of the National Bank of Pakistan. The Finance division proffered the names of Adnan Aly Agha, Imran Sarwar, and Javed Kureishi following an evaluation process conducted by a selection committee of 7, wherein 16 candidates were interviewed and appraised based on their professional acumen, leadership qualities, communicative proficiency, and aptitude for the role. The Cabinet has directed the Finance ministry to expeditiously conclude the appointment process. Nevertheless, Adnan Aly Agha’s candidature has been deemed problematic due to prior reports of illegal appointment and a concurrent job, which may result in his re-proffering. The incumbent President, Rehmant Ali Hasniei, is expected to continue in his role until a regular President is appointed.

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