LAHORE - The Bank of Punjab hosted a roundtable between a delegation of key officials of ADB and business and industry leaders including bank’s customers and senior management.
The high powered ADB delegation, who are on a week-long visit to Pakistan, was headed by Mr Takahiro Yasui - Executive Director for Japan and Dean of Board, Asian Development Bank (ADB). Mr Takahiro’s delegation comprised of Mr Weihua Liu - Executive Director for China, Mr Sangmin Ryu - Executive Director for Korea, Mr Noor Ahmed - Executive Director for Pakistan, Mr Shunsuke Sakugawa - Director’s Advisor for Japan, Mr Ronald San Juan - Director’s Advisor for Japan, Mr Yong Ye - ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan, Mr Yusuke Sekiguchi - JFPR Fund Manager and Mr Asad Aleem - ADB’s Deputy Country Director for Pakistan. The roundtable lunch, held on March 3rd, 2023, was attended by leading business figures, including Mr Yawar Ali, Mr Shahid Hussain, Ms Roshaneh Zafar, Mr Kabeer Naqvi, Ms Maheen Rahman, Mr Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani, Mr Anees Khawaja, Mr Rashid Bajwa, Mr Farooq Nasim, Mr Tariq Saigol as well as the key management of The Bank of Punjab.
The get together provided an opportunity for the delegation from the ADB to meet with top businessmen and the Bank of Punjab management and discuss the state of the economy and potential collaborations and partnerships in private sector. The meeting also aimed to explore ways to strengthen cooperation between the Bank of Punjab and the ADB, especially in the areas of infrastructure financing, trade finance, and microfinance. Mr Yasui expressed his appreciation for the resilience of Pakistan’s economy and pointed out how important it was for Pakistan that the impetus for reforming the economy be driven internally and organically.
He also stated how ADB would be willing to guide and engage with key stakeholders while making these structural changes in the economy. Mr Noor Ahmed, Executive Director Pakistan for ADB highlighted various challenges facing Pakistan’s economy right now and mentioned how even small incremental changes could make a big difference specially with reference to labour productivity, women work force participation and agriculture. Mr Zafar Masud, President and CEO – The Bank of Punjab, while recapping the discussion, highlighted the importance of agriculture in Pakistan’s economy and explained how it contributes directly and indirectly towards the GDP to the extent of 46 percent. He then explained the need to reform the energy sector, particularly in alternate energy and transmission and distribution, and how ADB could assist Pakistan in both agriculture and energy alongwith capacity building for privatisation and running of state owned enterprises.
He also underlined how this capacity building could further be extended to increase skills and productivity, especially for women. He also referred to the requirement for credit enhancement and capital adequacy structures in infrastructure development and microfinance sector. He also reiterated the importance of regional trade for the future sustainable economic growth and the role ADB can play in this space. He hoped that ADB becomes involved more with the private sector as well, as its role could be crucial in facilitating financial inclusion through a comprehensive framework alongside the banking sector. Mr Zafar Masud finally thanked the business leaders for their participation and expressed his gratitude to the delegation from the ADB for their visit and hoped that the meeting would lead to most beneficial outcomes for the country.