The case for Sindh Bank
THE former chief minister of Sindh, accepting the long-awaited public demand, had announced establishment of the Sindh Bank. Then advertisements were splashed in daily newspapers, not once but twice and thrice during the year 2007. Afterwards a lot of money was also incurred on spadework in the chief minister’s secretariat.
However, after such a fanfare and spending, nobody knows what were the reasons for shelving a matter of such great public importance.
It appears that it is the federal government that creates hurdles in the establishment of such an important institution that is supposed to look after the interest of the masses of this province.
The author of this communication on various occasions has dilated on this important issue through these columns highlighting the benefits — which I repeat once again for the sake of convenience — which will accrue to the masses from the establishment of this bank.
Employment: At the initial stage, with the establishment of head office at Karachi, branches of the bank at all district headquarters, which will subsequently be extended to talukkas and towns, will provide job opportunities to the local people in the bank, as well as small/cottage industry and businesses etc will be beneficiaries of credits.
Industrial development: The establishment of the bank would help small-scale industries like cottage and handicraft.
For this purpose feasibility reports for setting up of small-scale industries in all districts will be prepared and local people will be encouraged to set up their industrial estates for which the bank will provide all the lending facilities according to the normal banking procedures and rules.
Agriculture: The mainstay of economy of Sindh is agriculture as about 65 per cent of its population depends upon the livelihood from the cultivation. For raising the productivity, timely and adequate use of inputs like fertiliser, seeds and pesticides are essential.
For the purchase of these inputs, financial help from the banks is sought. The existing system of agricultural credit disbursement is quite expensive and cumbersome. We hope that after the Sindh Bank comes into existence, farmers’ community will surely get agricultural loans in time and in a suitable manner.
Thus with the use of adequate inputs, per-acre yield of every crop will increase. This will generate more income and, as a result, improve the standard of living. Besides, the Sindh Bank will extend an opportunity to those engaged in the business of fishing, poultry, livestock and orchards
Business: The Sindh Bank will provide loans for small business in the province and it is hoped that the small trading community will be able to earn their livelihood by opening retail shops and other business centres in small villages and towns of the province.
Deposits: As the people of Sindh will transact their money through their local bank, it is expected that financial resources of the province will increase, further creating about Rs.1 billion every year.
Remittances: The labour force of Sindh working in foreign countries, particularly in Gulf countries, will send their foreign earnings through the Sindh Bank and thus foreign exchange will be earned to the extent of about $1 billion every year.
Poverty alleviation: As the government is striving hard to reduce poverty, the opening of the Sindh Bank will be a good measure in that direction as it will not only raise the standard of living of the agricultural community but also provide new avenues of income generation in the far-flung areas of the province.
DR ALI AKBAR M. DHAKAN
Chairman, Sindh Development Foundation