State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir unveiled a report titled ‘SDGs and sustainability report – Pakistan banking sector perspective’ in Dubai recently.
The paper was published at an event hosted by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) in partnership with the Scottish Government and the United Kingdom Islamic Finance Council on the topic “The Future of Green and Sustainable Finance – The Role of the SDGs” (UKIFC). This is the first research from a banking perspective that not only tracks progress on the United Nations’ and banks’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 but also reveals particular gaps in reaching them.
Dr. Baqir’s keynote talk focused on SBPs and the government’s commitment to the SDGs, as shown by steps to accomplish these objectives and efforts to secure their long-term viability. He underlined that Pakistan is one of the first few nations to embrace the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development via a unanimous Parliamentary decision. He stressed that the government’s Vision-2025 has seven pillars that are perfectly connected with the SDGs and offer a long-term plan for attaining equitable growth and sustainable development.
Dr. Reza highlighted some of SBP’s recent key initiatives in pursuit of SDGs, including the landmark policy “Banking on Equality” to address the gender gap in financial inclusion and the flagship Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar (MPMG) scheme to provide financing for low-cost and affordable housing in Pakistan, which was non-existent before 2021.
He said that MPMG has not only aided in the provision of housing for the poor but has also boosted the economy. The flagship plan has so far received 357 billion rupees in applications, with 157 billion rupees in home loans authorized and Rs. 56 billion in the payout. SBP’s unique renewable energy finance facility, which promotes banks to expand their green financing portfolio and minimize their carbon footprint, was singled out by the governor.
Dr. Reza praised Pakistani banks for their efforts on the SDGs thus far. To implant this message, he emphasized that bank boards and management should openly indicate their commitment and support for the execution of the SDGs to their staff and other stakeholders. He also suggested that banks work with capacity-building programs to produce implementation plans that include dates and responsibilities for achieving SDGs. He stressed the need of institutionalising and deepen changes in order to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.
During the occasion, the SBP governor also took part in a fireside talk with Scotland’s Minister for Trade, Ivan McKee. During the conversation, Dr. Reza highlighted the critical importance of private sector financing in meeting the SDGs’ promises. He said that there is a large amount of room for private sector investment and that the government is giving the necessary facilitation and regulatory flexibility in this area. He also stressed that international financial institutions must provide new financial structures to developing market nations in order to satisfy their massive financial demands and meet sustainability standards.