February 18, 2014
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday held a mandatory meeting of its Agricultural Credit Advisory Committee (ACAC) after two years. The ACAC meeting is mandatory after every six months for deliberation on different issues related to agricultural financing. However, the meeting could not be held for the last two years for unknown reasons.
According to SBP’s board of directors decision, two meetings of the ACAC are mandatory every year. The first meeting draws up planning while the second is held for a revision of targets/polices. Sources said that four meetings of the committee were due but could not be held during the tenure of former governor SBP Yasin Anwar, who was also the chairman of ACAC, mainly because of his busy schedule or engagements.
Last meeting of ACAC was held on January 25, 2012, which was chaired by Yasin Anwar. However, after that no meeting was convened. This resulted in a slow growth of agricultural credit, besides bundle of problems for the banks as well as borrowers. The ACAC is also responsible to set the indicative targets of the banks for disbarment of agricultural credit.
Source said that an implementation or sub-committee of the ACAC was managing the issues of agricultural financing, as the meeting of the ACAC was not being convened by the former governor SBP. Acting Governor SBP Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, who assumed charged on February 1, 2014, showed serious concern over the inordinate delay in ACAC meeting and called a meeting of the committee on Monday to discuss the issues faced by borrowers and lenders.
Sources said that during the meeting Wathra had to talk about the delay in the meeting and assured the participants that now onward meeting of the committee will be held as per schedule in order to timely resolve the issues related to agricultural financing. ACAC has over 40 members including representatives of commercial banks, specialised banks, microfinance banks, Islamic banks and federal & provincial governments and farmers’ chambers and associations.