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Friday Apr 29 2022
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Will the new govt extend SBP chief Reza Baqir’s tenure?

Reza Baqir, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), takes a question from a reporter (not pictured) during a news conference at the head office in Karachi, Pakistan July 16, 2019. — Reuters/File
Reza Baqir, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), takes a question from a reporter (not pictured) during a news conference at the head office in Karachi, Pakistan July 16, 2019. — Reuters/File

  • Senior finance ministry official says govt might consider granting him an extension until a deal with the IMF is finalised.
  • Sources reveal Baqir may get “a few months” extension in his tenure as a "stop-gap arrangement”.
  • The three-year tenure of Dr Baqir is expiring on May 4, 2022.


ISLAMABAD: With State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir’s tenure ending next month, speculations over whether or not the present coalition government will choose to reappoint him or replace him have started doing the rounds, The News reported Friday.

A senior finance ministry official said: “The government might consider granting him an extension until a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is finalised.”

Sources confirmed that efforts were underway for securing a second term for Dr Baqir, a former executive of IMF and the government was likely to consider, “a few months” extension in his tenure as a "stop-gap arrangement”.

Read more: What is SBP Governor Reza Baqir's monthly income?

The three-year tenure of Dr Baqir is expiring on May 4, 2022 and he could be granted a second five-year term under the SBP law.

But a federal minister said on a television talk show that the government is unlikely to grant a second term to the present SBP governor.

“Dr Baqir has established contacts with the current economic team and convinced them he could play an important role in resuming the stalled $6 billion IMF programme,” a source said.

Pakistan has also requested the IMF to extend the programme for another nine months and increase the loan amount to $8 billion from the current $6 billion.

Read more: SBP governor pledges 'timely policy actions' amid political crisis

Another official confirmed to The News in background discussions that “some close confidants” including one businessman approached the PML-N’s top leadership in London and made an effort to convince them to give a second term to governor Baqir.

“Senior political leadership of PML-N is not yet fully convinced to grant him a full-term extension.”

Sources further said the government was mulling “granting Dr Baqir an extension till the finalisation of the IMF programme”.

When contacted, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail declined to answer the query on Dr Baqir’s extension.

Dr Baqir was appointed as the central bank governor on May 4, 2019, for a period of three years.

Read more: Reza Baqir appointed as chairman Council of Islamic Financial Services Board

Before this appointment, Dr Baqir had eighteen years of experience with the IMF and two years of experience with the World Bank.

He represents the SBP on the Board of Directors of the Asian Clearing Union, the Board of Governors of the Economic Cooperation Organisation Trade and Development Bank, the Council of Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), the Financial Stability Regional Consultative Group for Asia, and the IMF’s board of governors.

He has been appointed as Chairman of the General Assembly of the prestigious Islamic Financial Services Board for 2022.

Dr Baqir's academic research has been published in top journals of the economics profession, including the Journal of Political Economy and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.