SAARC cen­tral banks can help pro­mote mu­tual trade

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­port

SAARC coun­tries cen­tral banks have the abil­ity to form co­he­sive poli­cies to­wards gear­ing up co­op­er­a­tion in bank­ing and fi­nance with a view to fa­cil­i­tate cross bor­der trade and in­vest­ments, said the Gover­nor Sate Bank of Pak­istan, Ashraf Mah­mood Wathra said while ad­dress­ing the 7th SAARC Fi­nance Min­is­ters' meet­ing held in Kathmandu, Nepal on Thurs­day.

He said these coun­tries should in­te­grate each other and im­prove pay­ments and set­tle­ment sys­tem be­cause the co­op­er­a­tion on this spe­cific area would help pro­mote bi­lat­eral and re­gional trade be­sides strength­en­ing fi­nan­cial in­fra­struc­ture in the re­gion. Pre­sent­ing the progress re­port of the SAARCFINANCE - the Net­work of SAARC Cen­tral Bank Gover­nors and Fi­nance Sec­re­taries of the re­gion, he high­lighted some re­cent ini­tia­tives un­der­taken by the SAARCFINANCE Net­work, such as the avail­abil­ity of short-term liq­uid­ity for mem­bers un­der the SAARC Swap Ar­range­ment; ca­pac­ity build­ing pro­grams for of­fi­cials of mem­bers un­der the SAARCFINANCE Schol­ar­ship Scheme; the di­a­logue and ex­change of knowl­edge on is­sues of mu­tual in­ter­est through SAARCFINANCE Por­tal; the cre­ation of re­gional sta­tis­ti­cal data­base, and the re­cent ini­tia­tive on col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search stud­ies. "These ini­tia­tives are ben­e­fi­cial in fos­ter­ing closer re­la­tion­ships and build­ing hu­man ca­pa­bil­ity in prac­ti­cal fields of cen­tral bank­ing amongst SAARC part­ners," he added.

The core ob­jec­tive of the Net­work is to pro­mote di­a­logue on macroe­co­nomic poli­cies of the re­gion and shar­ing mu­tual ex­pe­ri­ences and ideas. In this con­text, the Net­work has ini­ti­ated a num­ber of use­ful ini­tia­tives in or­der to achieve its ob­jec­tives as en­vis­aged in its terms of ref­er­ence.

Wathra re­it­er­ated the need to take more ini­tia­tives and iden­tify ar­eas to fur­ther deepen co­op­er­a­tion among mem­ber coun­tries. He said that fu­ture role of the SAARCFINANCE will be­come more chal­leng­ing in the wake of high com­pe­ti­tion and grow­ing eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial in­te­gra­tion in the SAARC re­gion. In this con­text, the re­gional cen­tral banks would need to join hands with other SAARC bod­ies and en­hance co­or­di­na­tion with them, es­pe­cially with SAARC Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try, as it is en­gaged in pro­mot­ing cross bor­der trade and in­vest­ment flows.

Gover­nor and the cur­rent chair­man of the SAARCFINANCE Ashraf Mah­mood Wathra has said that mem­ber coun­tries can fight with grow­ing global chal­lenges with their col­lec­tive com­mit­ments, in­creased level of co­op­er­a­tion and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing, and ef­forts to­wards bet­ter shap­ing the fu­ture course of the SAARCFINANCE.

He ex­pressed op­ti­mism that these ar­eas for mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion would help us build a clear man­date for fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion among the mem­bers. Wathra also shared the de­ci­sion of the 30th Group Meet­ing of the SAARCFINANCE, which iden­ti­fies five ar­eas for co­op­er­a­tion, which will ul­ti­mately work as a roadmap for the Net­work. These five ar­eas in­clude re­duc­ing the trans­ac­tion costs of cross­bor­der re­mit­tances in the SAARC re­gion; cross- bor­der trade in the re­gion; ca­pac­ity build­ing of of­fi­cials of mem­ber coun­tries; the cre­ation of SAARCFINANCE sta­tis­ti­cal data­base; and un­der­tak­ing of col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search stud­ies to as­sess is­sues of com­mon in­ter­est.

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