KARACHI - State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa on Tuesday announced to revive the Import and Export Committee, with two members from the central bank.

“Our two directors - Banking Policy and of Marketing - will be the members. Karachi Chamber may forward names of its representatives," the SBP governor responded to the KCCI president's demand. In an interactive session with members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), at the chamber, Bajwa assured that being the central bank, the SBP was making every possible step for stability and fast growth of the economy.

"We cannot have a solo flight, but shall take all stakeholders along for our combined goal of economic prosperity," he remarked. He said that he along with a team of senior officers of the SBP had come to hear the point of views from the members of KCCI, which is eighth largest chamber in the world.

Bajwa said that very recently, he had visited Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), and Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI) to get the feedback so that better policies could be formulated for promoting trade and industry. A good number of business leaders, representing different sectors of trade and the industry, attended the meeting. Prominent were KCCI President Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Patron-in-Chief of Businessmen Group (BMG) in KCCI and former president KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli.

The SBP governor expressed his satisfaction that the credit to private sector increased by 68 percent in last fiscal year against that of its previous year. 42 percent borrowing was for fixed investment. It was very good sign for the country's economy that 32 percent increase was recorded in capital goods investment, he said.

He said the economic indicators were very positive and the economy was progressing in the right direction. The future of the country was very bright, he added. On pointation, he agreed, the deficit current account was a challenge to the country. However, he emphasised, “we would have to manage the situation.”

For this purpose, he informed that it had been decided to discourage the import of non-essential items, which were listed as 400. He said the SBP was seriously working on the EXIM Bank (Export and Import Bank) and that KCCI would have representation on its board.

The SBP was also pursuing Iranian central bank and other concerned authorities to establish banking channel between the countries for promoting bilateral trade. The SBP chief re-affirmed that SBP was totally autonomous financial regulator. It was also totally free to form monetary policy exclusively aimed at safeguarding the interests of the country and the nation.

He asserted once again that there was dire need to focus on strengthening small and medium enterprises (SMEs) including easy availability of credit at the lowest interest rate. To a question from KCCI female member, he said that SBP had launched a special credit scheme for promoting women entrepreneurs in the country.

"On this Saturday, we have launched this scheme from Quetta," he said. He said it was very necessary that all units of the federation develop and prosper equally. Balochistan was much behind other provinces in economic growth; also in financial inclusion. That is why, he explained, at least 20 percent of credit under the above scheme would be allocated for women entrepreneurs in Balochistan. The limit of the credit is Rs1.5 million for one applicant.

He said that over last four years, the global trade had gone down in terms of value because of reduction in prices of the commodities. He shared good news with the business community that the export of the country over last five months was rising. In May, 9 percent increase was recorded. To a query from media, the SBP governor said the report of the SBP committee formed on the recent rupee devaluation was sent to the Ministry of Finance and that the coming decision/action would be shared with the media.

Earlier, the KCCI president and BMG patron-in-chief apprised the SBP governor of banks-related issues being faced by the business community in Karachi.