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Pakistan

Muhammad Aurangzeb takes over as finance minister as speculation ends

  • On his arrival at ministry, former HBL CEO was welcomed by Secretary Finance and senior officials
Published March 11, 2024

Muhammad Aurangzeb, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the country’s largest commercial bank HBL, officialy took over responsibility as Finance Minister of Pakistan after taking oath at the Presidency, a statement from Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

On his arrival at the ministry, he was welcomed by Secretary Finance and senior officials of the ministry.

The appointment comes after intense speculation had gripped the country on the choice of finance minister with various names being floated.

Aurangzeb, who was picked over several veterans previously involved in handling the troubled $350 billion economy including four-time finance minister Ishaq Dar, will be in charge of running the financial affairs of the South Asian country at a time when it remains engulfed in a series of economic challenges including rising debt, low growth, and high inflation.

The appointment of Finance Minister is all the more crucial as the current nine-month Stand-By-Arrangment (SBA), inked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year in summer, is scheduled to end next month, and analysts believe another programme is in the offing – a longer, tougher and bigger facility that takes Pakistan closer to a level of self-reliance.

The newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had already directed authorities concerned to “immediately engage” with the IMF to advance discussions regarding the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Earlier, the IMF spokesperson told Business Recorder via message that it was looking forward to engaging with the new government.

“We look forward to engaging with the new government to complete the second review under the current Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) and, should the government request, support the formulation of a new medium-term economic programme.”

The IMF added that it aims to support the implementation of strong policies to deepen financial stability, address the longstanding economic and underlying balance of payments challenges, and restore sustained and inclusive growth for the benefit of all Pakistani citizens.

“This includes stronger public finances, through high-quality revenue measures to broaden the tax base while scaling up the support for the most vulnerable, restoring energy sector viability, improving institutional governance and anti-corruption effectiveness, SOE reform, building climate resilience, and creating a level playing field for private businesses to promote investment and job creation.”

An IMF official had also said the lender “stands ready” to send its mission to Pakistan mission for the second review of the SBA after a new cabinet is formed.

Aurangzeb’s background

As per information available on HBL’s website, Muhammad Aurangzeb joined the bank on 30 April 2018 as the President and CEO.

Before this responsibility at HBL, Aurangzeb was the CEO of JP Morgan’s Global Corporate Bank based in Asia, with a rich international banking experience of over 30 years in other senior management roles at ABN AMRO and RBS based in Amsterdam and Singapore.

Aurangzeb is the only Pakistani to be invited to the exclusive membership of the Global CEO Council organized by WSJ / DowJones group and has been elected as the Chairman of the Pakistan Banks’ Association and Director of the Pakistan Business Council.

Aurangzeb received his BS and MBA degrees from The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania).

Comments

200 characters
Doc Asad Mar 11, 2024 10:26pm
Thank God, they selected some eligible person. High hopes.
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Az_Iz Mar 11, 2024 10:30pm
Awesome. Wharton university graduate. A guy with brains.
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Az_Iz Mar 11, 2024 10:32pm
Glad, the idiot who has messed up many times, was not given another chance to mess things up.
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Az_Iz Mar 11, 2024 10:33pm
Hope he is given room to act independently,free from politics.
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Az_Iz Mar 11, 2024 10:35pm
Looks like SS is calling the shots. Not NS.
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Az_Iz Mar 11, 2024 10:44pm
Anyone but Dar would have been better. This guys comes with brains. All the better.
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Arif Mar 11, 2024 11:16pm
@Az_Iz, 1st grade flattery!
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Aspy Bhathena Mar 12, 2024 01:23am
Good luck to Mr Aurungzeb in this role of Finance Minister. You will need to ruffle some feathers to get what is needed to be done. Implementation of your policies is the key. Make it happen. This could be our last chance!!
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cool Mar 12, 2024 01:56am
Mine mouth does not require expensive transport of coal.
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KhanRA Mar 12, 2024 03:33am
Keep Ishaq Dar away from anything to do with economy or government
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Ib Mar 12, 2024 10:14am
Honestly I'm just happy it's not Ishaq Dar. Literally anyone but him was the best option
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Ib Mar 12, 2024 10:14am
Honestly I'm just happy it's not Ishaq Dar. Literally anyone but him was the best option
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Tariq Qurashi Mar 12, 2024 11:07am
We need long overdue deep seated reforms; a la India in 1991. Mr. Aurangzeb kindly review these reforms and do something similar here. Think out of the box and implement despite strong resistance.
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