The Chinese government will soon grant a preparatory licence to the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to establish a branch in Beijing within next three months aimed at further accelerating trade and investment activities under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a senior official of the bank confirmed on Monday.
“China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) had already accorded a formal approval to our initial application for setting up a branch through a letter issued in May this year.”
“Now, we have submitted another application, seeking issuance of a preparatory licence, which is under process and we are hopeful to get a formal approval in October this year,” NBP’s chief representative, Chaudhary Muahmmad Waseef Aslam told APP in an interview.
He said after the issuance of the preparatory licence, the commission will give us a nine-month time to set up a branch and expressed the confidence to make all the arrangements in due course of time.
Giving other details along with representative Shaikh Muhammad Shariq, he said the NBP had established a representative office here in 1981 with the view to serve Sino-Pak trade and economic activities and develop excellent business relationship with the Chinese foreign investment and director foreign investment.
But, there is a need to establish a full-fledged branch by a Pakistani bank to further facilitate the traders and investors and enhance quality business after signing the CPEC, a key component of the “One Belt One Road Initiative”.
“We will facilitate and encourage joint ventures between quality business houses of the two countries for capacity building and transfer of technology,” he added. He said no consultant has been hired for this entire drill; thus, saving around $400,000 for the bank.
At present, the bank is conducting market research, liaising activities and providing consulting services to Chinese and Pakistani clients, he added. The NBP has relationship management application (RMA) agreements with 49 Chinese banks, he said, adding, “We have association with the Bank of China, ICBC, Agricultural Bank of China, China Development Bank, China Construction Bank and China Exim Bank through contracts and memorandum of understanding.
The chief representative informed that the bank has established branches in 25 countries, including North America, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia and its last branch is set up in Saudi Arabia.
About other Pakistani banks working in China, he said, Habib Bank Limited, one of the largest private banks in Pakistan had already opened its branch in Urumqi, Xinjiang, which is the starting point of the CPEC, and links the region with the Gwadar port in Pakistan.
He said the representative offices of Askari Bank Limited, Allied Bank Limited, United Bank Limited and Bank Al-Habib are also working to provide banking services to Chinese organisations and corporate institutions working in Pakistan. All these banks are eyeing opportunities connected with the CPEC, which is estimated to draw infrastructure investment of $55 billion, he added.
(Source: The News)