Economy of Pakistan
Latest Activities of the Central Bank of Pakistan
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Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Reza Baqir, appreciated the banks for their efforts in increasing the bank credit to the agriculture sector, which reached its historical high by end of FY19. ‘It is for the first time in Paki­stan’s history that credit to the agricul­ture sector has surpassed one trillion rupees,’ said the Governor in his key­note address. He was chairing the an­nual meeting of the Agricultural Credit Advisory Committee (ACAC) held in Pe­shawar, KPK as part of SBPs continued efforts to enhance agriculture credit in the underserved provinces and regions.

Dr. Baqir, however, urged the banks to enhance their efforts to achieve qual­itative aspects of the assigned targets as well in line with the strategic shift and key policy actions taken by SBP re­garding agricultural financing. He high­lighted that most of the banks met their assigned targets except for some of the banks including ZTBL, PPCBL, some of the domestic private banks and Islam­ic banks falling short of achieving their targets. The province wise agriculture credit disbursement witnessed dou­ble-digit growth across all provinces and regions; however, banks struggled to achieve their assigned targets in the underserved regions. He urged agricul­ture lending banks and institutions to scale up their efforts and commitment to ensure achievement of agriculture credit target in the underserved prov­inces and regions.

The Governor apprised the commit­tee that SBP is considering three policy actions to further promote financial in­clusion in the agriculture sector. First, enhancing transparency through disclo­sure of bank wise performance statistics on monthly basis covering agriculture credit disbursement, geographic distri­bution, outstanding amount, number of borrowers, and agriculture credit infra­structure. Second, introducing a com­prehensive scoring model for ranking of banks against key agriculture credit indicators and targets. Third, introduc­ing incentives and penalties based on performance scores of banks. Dr. Baqir emphasized that there is a large scope for lending opportunities for banks that support both financial inclusion and banks’ profitability.

The keynote address was followed by a presentation wherein the perfor­mance of banks on agricultural financ­ing was reviewed against their targets during FY19. While assigning the ag­riculture credit target for FY20, it was shared that the overall disbursement target of Rs.1,350 billion has been as­signed to banks which is 89% of the total estimated agriculture credit re­quirement of Rs.1,518 billion. The province wise and sector wise distri­bution of the target was adopted while considering the provincial agricultural credit requirements, banks’ overall lending capacity and their business ex­pansion plans. It was highlighted that Islamic banks and Islamic branches of commercial banks have been assigned disbursement target of Rs.110 billion in line with previous year to help real­ize the potential of Islamic agriculture financing. Further, the overall target of outstanding borrowers has been en­hanced to 4.67 million with the addi­tion of 650,000 new borrowers.

The Committee also deliberated on the new directions in agricultural financing by focusing on technology especially digitalization of agricul­ture loan processes through adoption of Land Record Information Systems, Electronic Warehouse Receipt Financ­ing system, and landmark initiatives like Kissan Digital Portal, which are key priorities under the National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2023.

Subsequently, presentations were also made on i) Dairy value chain in Gil­git Baltistan by the Bank of Khyber, ii) Olive plantation and its value chain de­velopment by Pakistan Agricultural Re­search Council, iii) Innovative project to reclaim barren land by a progressive farmer, iv) Rural lending through digi­tization by HBL, v) Agriculture credit through alternative delivery channels by Khushhali Bank and vi) Opportuni­ties for co-financing of PSDP projects through banks by Ministry of National Food Security.

While concluding the meeting, Dr. Reza Baqir encouraged all stakeholders to collaborate to enhance formal cred­it to agriculture. He urged the banks to enhance their efforts to achieve the re­gional targets assigned for the year.

Before closing the meeting, Gover­nor-SBP thanked the participants and expressed his optimism that Banks will explore new investment opportunities through collaboration and experience sharing to achieve overall annual tar­get for FY20 besides achieving their regional targets particularly in the un­derserved areas.
Governor SBP for strengthening the quantity and quality of credit to agriculture sector