Wednesday Aug 24, 2022
Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Chairman Sultan Ali Allana on Tuesday called for a regional clearing system, which can allow member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to trade amongst themselves, a statement by the bank said.
Allana was addressing the 18th Annual Council Meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Interbank Association (SCO-IBA) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
“With changes in regional trade, logistics, and food security, it is of utmost urgency to take concrete steps to put in place a regional clearing system, which can allow Member Countries to trade amongst themselves," the chairman said.
He also spoke of the importance of technology and Artificial Intelligence which can "greatly enhance outreach".
"We have much to learn from China which has been successful in bringing over 99 million people out of poverty over the last 40 years," Allana said.
The HBL chairman's proposal for a regional clearing system was appreciated by member countries, with media outlets providing special coverage to his address.
An article on China Economic Net, quoted Allana as saying: "Perhaps we can start with using one of two of the regional currencies for trade amongst the member countries and in the long term we can work towards developing a regional currency.”
Allana also termed it “imperative to prioritise sustainable development goals”.
He shared that as part of the bank’s commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG), it has worked with China to develop green lending activities and loan management framework, adding that the bank, as the first foreign bank under BRI-GIP (green investment principles), has embarked to adopt the China-EU Green Taxonomy.
HBL, the country’s largest bank, represented Pakistan at the moot and is the only commercial bank on the forum.
Over the years, it has played a unique role in the region, facilitating trade, investment, and finance between SCO member countries, and in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China Economic Net said.
HBL received the honour of becoming a partner bank of the SCO-IBA on August 8, 2014 and in 2018, when the 14th annual council meeting of SCO-IBA was held in Beijing, it was granted the status of a member bank.
The SCO meeting was attended by the chiefs of leading development institutions of the SCO member states, representatives of the SCO Secretariat and the partner banks of SCO-IBA.
The SCO-IBA, established in 2005, currently has eight member banks including HBL, and two partner banks.