LAHORE - So far 50 candidates have applied for the post of president of the National Bank of Pakistan, including the sitting chairman of the Bank Muneer Kamal, who is Masters degree holder in business administration while a grade three officer of the Bank of Punjab having qualification of MA in English and with the age of just 34 years, is also keen to head one of the leading commercial banks, which is the largest in public sector by assets and deposits.

As per documents available with The Nation, several in-service and most of retired officers of the NBP- a public sector bank which is constantly registering huge drop in profit due to massive loans’ write-offs- are also desirous of taking the challenge of the leading role of NBP president, including Kausar Iqbal Malik (SEVP of NBP), Shahida Nasreen Abbasi (Ex-EVP NBP), Fayyaz Rabbani Khan (Ex-SEVP NBP), Muhammad Sharif Chaudhary (Ex-EVP NBP), Imran Bakhsh Baloch (SEVP NBP), Zia Ullah Khan (SEVP NBP ), Syed Ahmed Iqbal Ashraf (Ex-SEVP NBP), Tariq Jamali (SEVP NBP) and Mirza Abrar Baig (SEVP NBP).

Other candidates who wished to be president of this Bank belong to several other noted banks and financial institutions, including Summit Bank, Bank of Punjab, HBL, UBL, Allied Bank Limited, KASB Bank, ZTBL, Waeela Microfinance Limited, Saudi Pak Industrial and Agricultural Investment Company, NIB Bank, Pakistan Industrial and Common Leasing, United International Group, Adamjee Insurance, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Bank Al Bilad, Kuwait Investment, Masheq Bank and Bank of Khyber.

Interestingly, despite the fact that they don’t have qualification related to banking or finance, some candidates have also applied for this big post. For example, Ms Zubia Hanif, who is masters in English Literature, having age of only 34 has shown interest of leading this public sector bank in spite of restriction of minimum age of 51 for this job by the administration.

Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Mirpur Khas chairman Shafiq Ahmed Khan, who is double MA as well as holding degree of LLB, is also desirous of quitting education sector and jumping into the field of baking, despite having no qualification in this regard.

Sources said that the government had appointed Muneer Kamal as chairman of the National Bank of Pakistan’s board of directors in Sept. He also remained chairman of Karachi Stock Exchange and is amongst one of the directors of the KASB Bank. He is one of Pakistan’s top bankers with over 30 years experience in banking and finance sector.

According banking sector officials, in the past, the position of the board chairmanship and president was held by one person; the case of former president of the NBP, Syed Ali Raza, being an example.

Muneer started his career at Citibank and held several senior positions including Director, Head of Country Public Sector & Financial Institutions, President & CEO Faysal Bank Limited.

He wants to take charge of NBP at a time when profits are going down and general health of the bank is not dynamic. As per latest figures, the bank’s total non performing loans remained at the same level as last year. NPLs to gross advances ratio improved 12.2 percent as compare to 14.9 percent in 2011.

The names of all 50 candidates are as under: Syed Asif Ali, Zafar Sheikh, Zubia Hanif, Kausar Iqbal Malik, Munawwar Ali, Maood Karim Shikh, Nadim Karamat, Agha Ali Imran, Arbab Dilawar, Shahid Nasreen, Muhammad Abbas, Khusro Iqbal, Shahid Murtaza, Sh Amanullah, Fayyaz Rabbani, Ghazanfar Azam, Mansur Khan, M Sharif Ch, Kamaluddin Khan, Muneer Kamal, Imran Bakhsh, Shafiq Khan, Noor Akram, Imdad Ali, Moazzam Khan, Liaqat Durrani, Ziaullah, Khalid Siddiq, Ahmed Iqbal, Sabir Ali, Mirza Abrar, Khalid Ahmed, Fazlur Rehman, Ashfaq Tareen, Naseer Farooqi, Mansoor Ahmed, Musaddiq Ijaz, Mohsin Aziz, Shehryar, Sohail Yunus, Farooque Alam, Munirul Haq, Aman Aziz and Mustafa Qadri.

Small businesses can be engine of economic growth

OUR STAFF REPORTER (With head)

LAHORE - If law and order situation is controlled Pakistan can bring foreign investment of up to $20 billion within few months by starting projects of Bhasha Dam, coal power projects and motorways.

This was observed by Rashid Mehr, the Chief Executive Officer of TUV Austria Bureau of Inspection & Certification, formerly Moody International (Pvt) Ltd.

He said that with total sovereign debt touching Rs16 trillion, requiring huge amounts for debt servicing, Pakistan has a genuine need to raise tax revenues to cover the budget deficits. The only way to come out of this situation is by targeting to double the size of our economy from $ 213 billion to $400 billion in 2020. He said that the private sector and small businesses can be the engine of this economic expansion. The government would be well served by a strategy to encourage the entrepreneurial class rather than scaring it away with measures such as FBR’s access to bank accounts data and imposition of wealth tax assessments. As the private sector starts to sense a favorable and comfortable business environment, it will begin to invest within the country.

Luckily the PML-N government enjoys credibility and sound relationship with China and the Arab world, who have been the key investors in Pakistan during 2000-2007. This cordiality will come handy and the government must assign the task of courting FDI into Pakistan to its most capable team members.

Mr. Mehr disclosed that TUV Austria Bureau of Inspection & Certification has invested $2.5 million in Pakistan despite critical situation.

“The law and order is major cause of decline in local and foreign investment and if government fails to respond to private sector’s call, the economy will continue to slide ultimately resulting in closure of industry and trade.”

If the law and order situation is under control and energy is made available to the industry around-the-clock, then it will encourage local investors and foreign investors will also be ready to initiate joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts, creating more jobs for the unemployed youth,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of TUV Rashid Mehr, who is also president of the All Pakistan Business Forum, urged the government to take serious notice of soaring graph of terrorism and law & order situation in the country and immediately initiate steps to arrest fast surging crime graph.

He said that economic conditions will not improve unless law and order in Karachi in particular and upcountry in general is seriously tackled. The new government should devise some unanimous policy against terrorism with the help of military and implemented it immediately, as Foreign Direct Investment is directly linked with law & order.