ISLAMABAD-National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue has expressed concerns over the educational criteria highlighted for recruitment of senior officers in National Bank of Pakistan as it apprehended that it seems the violation of the recruitment policies.

The committee, which met under the chairmanship of Faiz Ullah, MNA, has discussed the recruitment of senior officers in National Bank of Pakistan. Chairman of the Committee expressed his concerns 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 made various directions/recommendations to the Ministry of Finance and National Bank of Pakistan. The Committee also recommended to Ministry of Finance to provide the comprehensive report, whether the required process for hiring of NBP senior officers including group heads was followed or not.

Member committee has asked regarding allegations against the president, NBP, during his service in Nigeria. Arif Usmani, President, National Bank of Pakistan categorically denied such kind of fabricated and baseless stories about his reputation and stated that his appointment was made on merit by adopting all necessary requirements. The Committee recommended that Group Head (HR), NBP may be invited in person in the next meeting of the Committee.

President, National Bank of Pakistan briefed the Committee about the hiring status of the employees of the NBP from 2019 to 2020. While started the briefing, he stated that the most critical of element of any organization were people, that was particularly true of a service organization such as bank, quality of NBP’s Senior Resources across a variety of discipline were identified as a serious gap as evident by large number of unaddressed audit comments indicate lack of will for resolving them, repeatedly breaches, which resulted in reputational loss and lack of public trust. He further said that the recruitment process was done by using existing Board’s approved policies and process for external recruitment. He informed that all the senior positions were advertised internally (within the bank) accordingly, internal candidates were assessed and eligible candidates were short listed in interviewed, however, none of them were found up to the mark. He added that the new hires were very experienced in their disciplines, expert in their role have a proven track record and have worked for tope organization with distinction.

The president also invited the attention of the Committee with regard to the accountability process initiated across the board, wherein, two Senior Executive Vice Presidents (SEVPs) and five EVPs were terminated in order make NBP a thriving organization. He was of the stance, that present chain of complaints was a reaction to the disciplinary performance measures being under taken.

The Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan informed the Committee that the recruitment of President, Board Directors and Key Executives need approval of the SBP, sometimes bank can appoint key executive itself and report to SBP if SBP thinks there was further required clarifications they can intervene accordingly. 

The Committee also discussed the Eradication of Riba Bill, 2019, moved by Abdul Akbar Chitrali, MNA and expressed its dissatisfaction on the presentation given by the State Bank of Pakistan and directed the Additional Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan to arrange a meeting with the mover along with Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Amjad Ali Khan, Abdul Wasay and Syed Javed Hasnain, MNAs for concrete and speedy way forward in this regard. Faiz Ullah, Chairman of the Committee also desired that an exclusive meeting should be called to discuss the said matter.

The senior representative from Provincial Finance Commission, Punjab briefed the Committee regarding the disbursement of NFC allocation in the province and its further division in districts.

 The Committee expressed its grave concern over the discriminatory distribution of funds in the districts and recommended that provincial government should review its policies in this regard and District Development Plans may be introduced for smooth functioning in future.