Friday, January 27, 2023

Pakistan State Bank probing alleged foreign exchange manipulation by banks

Pakistan’s central bank says it will soon complete an investigation into the alleged manipulation of foreign exchange operations by commercial banks in the country.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad shared the details of the investigations during the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue on Tuesday.

The Minister of State for Finance, Members of the Committee, the Chairman of FBR, the Secretary of Finance, the Governor of the State Bank, and other key officials of the concerned departments attended the NA meeting.

The banks being investigated in the first phase include:

  • National Bank of Pakistan (NBP)
  • Bank Al Habib
  • Habib Bank Limited
  • Meezan Bank Limited
  • United Bank Limited (UBL)
  • Allied Bank Limited (ABL)
  • Standard Chartered

The name of the eighth bank was not revealed by the SBP official.

The SBP Governor further highlighted that initially, Standard Chartered Bank, ABL, and NBP had been issued show-cause notices while the remaining banks would be investigated in the next phase.

During the meeting, MNA Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh, the committee’s chairman, directed the central bank to take strict actions against all the banks and exchange companies found guilty so that no one “has the audacity to play with the economy of the country”, according to the statement issued by the National Assembly Secretariat.

“The committee was of the view that during recent volatility in the exchange rate and the difference between the interbank rate and the rate offered by exchange companies, the banks earned exorbitant profits.”

Chief spokesperson for the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Abid Qamar, while talking to the media on Wednesday said, “The investigations are being carried out by the regulator and results might come soon,”

He maintained that he could not give an exact date for the completion of the probe, but said the investigation had begun some time back during the term of the previous finance minister.

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