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ISLAMABAD: In a move to strengthen multi-stakeholders’ dialogue and action on sustainable finance in Pakistan, Fair Finance Pakistan organised its first roundtable meeting with Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industries (RCCI) on responsible banking in the country.

The meeting was well attended by over 50 members, from the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce& Industry, deputy chief from the State Bank of Pakistan, senior representatives from leading commercial banks including HBL, UBL, National Bank, Askari Bank, Meezan Bank, Faysal Bank, Bank of Punjab, First Women Bank, Apna officials from the Pakistan Banks’ Association and civil society organisations.

A joint communiqué was presented at the meeting which puts forward recommendations to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Finance Minister, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan and Chairperson, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan to play a more pro-active role in ensuring inclusive financing, especially for women.

Nasir Zaman, President, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry made a strong commitment that the joint communiqué presents a holistic picture for the regulators and is a collective voice from the business community that this is the time for reform to nurture the business and harness the environment by the regulator.

During the roundtable, Fair Finance Pakistan presented the findings of “Strengthening Sustainable Finance in Pakistan: A scoping review towards institutionalising Fair Finance Pakistan” authored by Dr Abid Aman Burki from Lahore University of Management Sciences.

The scoping review gave an analysis on financial inclusion in Pakistan which is at 21 percent compared to the State Bank’s ambitious goal of 50 percent by 2020.

In her welcome remarks, Bernadette Victorio, Program Lead of Fair Finance Asia, said, “Pakistan is an important country for energy transition in Asia. The Fair Finance Asia coalition calls on Asian and international financial institutions operating in the region to urgently stop coal financing and divert resources towards renewable energy in order to align with the Paris Agreement.”

Highlighting the importance of the Pakistan financial sector at the regional level, Hussain Jarwar, CEO of Indus Consortium and member of Fair Finance Pakistan said, “Fair Finance Pakistan will work as an ally to the financial sector in Pakistan, so that together, we can develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for sustainable finance in the country.”

The meeting featured a panel discussion with banking sector experts on consumer financing and responsible banking. Banking sector representatives shared their current policies of integrating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) guidelines in their operations at the strategic, portfolio and transaction level. Representative from the State Bank of Pakistan highlighted the importance of integrating Bank’s Green Banking Guidelines to foster a culture of responsibility in the banking sector—PR

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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