ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday directed the State Bank of Pakistan to come up with concrete proposals in a week’s time on how to turn the SME Bank into a truly vibrant finance institution.

“These proposals would be discussed in the next meeting and it will be ensured that the bank’s valuable services are available for the development of the SMEs”, Dar remarked during a meeting here to review various options regarding the future working of SME Bank including its merger.  The meeting was attended by senior officials from SME Bank, SBP, Finance Division and National Bank of Pakistan.

President SME Bank Ihsan ul Haq Khan gave a presentation on the current position of SME Bank and also dilated on its future prospects under different proposed arrangements including its merger with NBP. The finance minister was informed that the audited accounts of the Bank up to December 2014 were available and the bank’s financial standing revealed it was in not in a position to sustain itself in the face of Rs. 5.2 billion worth of liabilities. The minister, after detailed deliberations by participants of the meeting, viewed that SME bank would have been a great national asset if it had been professionally managed in the past. He said it would have proven to be an effective source for development of SMEs. “It is my sincere desire that the Bank is invigorated and continues its work following world’s best practices.”