HBL’s Agri services could be game changer for Pakistan economy: SBP Deputy governor

Feb 26, 2024

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Deputy Governor Inayat Hussain said on Monday that the agriculture services business could be profitable for banks and would emerge as a game changer for the national economy with prospects of enhanced agriculture productivity.

He was speaking at a ceremony for the launch of HBL Agriculture Services, the first bank to have stepped into the agriculture services domain.

Inayat Hussain said that the current account deficit was the basis of the country’s economic troubles. Pakistan’s population was increasing at the rate of two per cent and had to import food crops worth US$ 8 billion last year to meet domestic food requirements. Country would have a surplus current account had there been no expenses on the import of food.

He said a surplus agriculture production can reduce the current account deficit significantly and bring stability to the country’s balance of payment.

He said that national agriculture was suffering from chronic problems of substandard fertilizers, pesticides and seeds and added that all the banks can avail the profitable window of agriculture services to address these issues and enhance production.

Inayat Hussain  lauded HBL for launching its first agriculture services centre, traditionally called HBL Dera, saying that country’ 65 per cent population was associated with agriculture and the facility introduced by HBL would prove to be handy in resolving farmers’ problems.

HBL president Aurangzeb said agriculture can bring about a revolution in the country and sensing the potential the bank took the lead in launching agriculture services with its first centre set up in Burewala.

He said HBL was disbursing Rs 70 billion worth of loans to 50000 farmers annually. Aurangzeb announced to bringing international agriculture experts to Pakistan to issue fertilizers, seeds and loans to farmers through one window operations.

HBL chairman Sultan Ali Allana said that enonomy was facing many challenges and the bank would purchase fertilizers directly from the company for onward supply to farmers.

HBL will reverse the ongoing economic trend through its contributions to agriculture sector to strengthen the national economy.

Vice Chancellor Agriculture University Faisalabad Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan, former governor SBP Saleem Raza, national and international agriculture experts, investors and farmers were present.