The PML-N-led coalition government has apparently decided against extending tenure of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir as Finance Minister Miftah Ismail thanked the former for his services to the country on Tuesday.
“Tomorrow Governor SBP Dr Reza Baquir’s 3-year [term] expires. I have spoken to him and told him of the government’s decision. I want to thank Reza for his service to Pakistan,” said Miftah in a tweet from his official handle on Tuesday.
“He is an exceptionally qualified man & we worked well during our brief time together. I wish him the very best,” he added.
Tomorrow Governor SBP Dr Reza Baquir’s 3-year expires. I have spoken to him and told him of the government’s decision. I want to thank Reza for his service to Pakistan. He is an exceptionally qualified man & we worked well during our brief time together. I wish him the very best.
— Miftah Ismail (@MiftahIsmail) May 3, 2022
The Ministry of Finance had prepared two summaries for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, recommending him to either give a second five-year term to SBP Governor Dr Reza Baqir or pick one of the three names from a panel, including a senior official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The ministry has not backed a proposal of the Prime Minister’s Office that called for giving extension to Baqir “until further orders”, which is legally not feasible.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Act 1956 does not provide legal room for any term shorter than five years under the amended law. In case the government decides to temporarily extend Baqir’s term till November or any other time, it will be deemed illegal, government sources told The Express Tribune.
Also read: PM to decide on SBP chief’s fate
In light of the legal position, the Ministry of Finance has prepared two separate summaries for the prime minister, leaving the final decision on his judgement. Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the decision on the fate of SBP governor will be taken by the prime minister.
Sources said that the Ministry of Finance had proposed the name of Noor Ahmad, Pakistan’s Executive Director in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and former federal secretary, for appointment as the next central bank governor.
The other two names in the panel are Aurangzeb Khan, President of Habib Bank Limited, and a senior IMF official.
Separately, it had recommended that Baqir’s tenure may be extended for five years after the expiry of his first term on May 4.
The PML-N has remained very critical of the policies of Baqir and its legislators have demanded an inquiry into the $3.6 billion hot foreign money brought in Pakistan during the first year of the governor’s term.