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No extension for Baqir, Murtaza Syed will take over as acting State Bank of Pakistan governor

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail says as SBP governor Dr Reza Baqir term comes to end, as per law the senior most deputy governor takes over until
Updated 04 May, 2022 12:30pm
Dr. Murtaza Syed was appointed as Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan by the Federal Government for a period of three years, in pursuance of Section 10(4) of the State Bank of Pakistan Act 1956 (amended) on Jan 21, 2020. Photo via Twitter/@StateBank_Pak/File
Dr. Murtaza Syed was appointed as Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan by the Federal Government for a period of three years, in pursuance of Section 10(4) of the State Bank of Pakistan Act 1956 (amended) on Jan 21, 2020. Photo via Twitter/@StateBank_Pak/File

Rizwan Bhatti

KARACHI. Dr Murtaza Syed will assume charge of acting governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), as outgoing Reza Baqir completes his three-year term and the government decides not to extend the latter’s tenure.

“As the term of Governor SBP Dr Reza Baqir has come to an end, as per law the senior most Deputy Governor takes over until. Therefore Dr Murtaza Syed, an eminently qualified economist with rich IMF experience, will take over as Governor SBP. I wish him the best in his new role,” Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Dr. Murtaza Syed was appointed as Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan by the Federal Government for a period of three years, in pursuance of Section 10(4) of the State Bank of Pakistan Act 1956 (amended) on Jan 21, 2020. He assumed his responsibilities on January 27, 2020.

Dr. Syed has more than 20 years of experience in macroeconomic research and policy making. He worked with the IMF for 16 years before resigning to join the State Bank of Pakistan. Most recently, he served as Advisor in the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development, overseeing the planning and implementation of IMF training and technical assistance programs around the world.

Dr Reza Baqir was appointed as governor of the SBP on May 4, 2019 for a period of 3 years from the day he assumed the office of the Governor. Baqir assumed his responsibilities on May 5, 2019 and his three-year tenure is being completed on May 4, 2022. He had replaced Tariq Bajwa who resigned from the top slot of the SBP.

Sources told Business Recorder on Monday that the present coalition government is not willing to reappoint Dr. Reza Baqir as governor SBP after expiry of his three-year tenure. Two weeks earlier, a federal minister also hinted that governor SBP Dr. Reza Baqir will retire on schedule, and the government has no intention to retain him.

According to the SBP Act, at any time when the office of governor is vacant or the governor is incapacitated, the senior most deputy governor shall be the acting governor, until the governor is appointed. Whenever, the governor is on leave or travelling abroad, he may designate in writing one of the deputy governors as acting governor who, while chairing the Board meetings in the absence of governor, shall in case of equality of votes have casting vote.

Presently, there are three Deputy Governors SBP including Dr. Murtaza Syed (Policy), Sima Kamil (Financial Inclusion, Digital Financial Services & IT) and Dr. Inayat Hussain Banking & FMRM.

If the federal government does not reappoint Dr. Reza Baqir for next term, which is now five-year as per SBP Amendment Act 2021, the most senior Deputy Governor Dr Murtaza Syed will automatically become acting governor of SBP until the appointment of a governor.

As the Eid vacations have started from May 2 to May 5, the federal government is likely to take a decision on appointment of Governor SBP slot after the Eid vacations.

As per the SBP Act 2021, the President of Pakistan will appoint the Governor on the recommendation of the government. The Governor and the non-executive Directors shall be appointed by the President, upon the recommendation of the Federal Government taking into account the eligibility and disqualification criteria laid down in the SBP Act.

Dr. Reza Baqir during his tenure took a number of measures to strengthen Pakistan’s financial sector. These include an aggressive and timely economic support package of over Rs 1.5 trillion in response to Covid-19 to support the economic growth. Roshan Digital Account initiative to digitally onboard Pakistan’s diaspora into Pakistan’s banking system and provide incentives to use formal channels to remit and implementation of the National Payments Strategy to promote the digitization of financial services in Pakistan were also launched during his tenure.

The story was originally published in Business Recorder on May 4, 2022.

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