KARACHI- The UK-based Barclays Bank has transferred $100 million to Pakistan to kick-off its operations. This acquisition transaction made by the said bank has accelerated the growth of foreign direct investment in the country. The Barclays Bank had transferred 100 million dollars to Pakistan to meet the requirement of maintaining minimum paid-up capital limit before launching its operations in Pakistan, capital market sources told The Nation. Barclays Bank had got licence to open 10 branches in Pakistan, gradually. The bank was supposed to open its first branch in Karachi in June 2008, but the launching had been delayed for quite some time. The entry of one of the world's biggest banks in Pakistan is being seen a major development in the financial sector in the country. According to the sources, initially the Barclays Bank might focus on the corporate sector customers because with the small network of 10 branches the bank might not interested in attracting the retail customers, said sources. As some small banks are facing difficulties in enhancing their paid-up capital to Rs 6 billion or $100 million by December 2009, the financial sector experts are anticipating more mergers and acquisitions in the banking sector in Pakistan. However, continued monetary tightening from the central bank which increased discount rates by 250bps during FY08 had an adverse effect on the sector's performance. Banking sector came under pressure further after the removal of Forced Sale Value benefit which resulted in higher NPL's for the sector. It has been reported that Pakistan received 1.337 billion dollars in last few days that have stabilised the fast-depleting overall national foreign exchange reserves above 11 billion dollars. During the last few days the United States had transferred 374 million dollars to Pakistan. Barclays Bank transferred 100 million dollars while the Asian Development Bank had handed over 200 million dollars to the government. Similarly, 663 million dollars had also been received from Maybank of Malaysia against the purchase of 20 per cent stake in the MCB Bank. According to the latest break up of foreign investment, the growth in telecom and financial sectors declined by -24 percent and -1.7 percent respectively during the eleven months of current financial year. The FDI in financial sector stood at 883.3 million in July-May FY08 against 898.7 reported in same months of preceding year. Financial experts give neutral to negative outlook of the banking sector for the two upcoming quarters of CY08. The spread of the banking sector are likely to remain close to 7% in 2008, however it is expected to fall below 7% in 2009 as impacts of monetary tightening will be in full flow. While deposit growth could face some competition from new NSS schemes, Advances growth on other hand, despite slow down in consumer lending and high interest rates, is likely to remain at 10%, sustaining mainly due to demand from ongoing projects.