SBP opens accounts for dam donations

KARACHI: Under the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s initiative of donating funds for the construction of two dams for combating water crisis in the country, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) appears confident of collecting more than the required funds from the entire nation.

The central bank along with high officials of commercial and microfinance banks in a conference on Tuesday announced that accounts dedicated to collecting donations for the Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dam are now operational across the world at the respective bank branches to collect funds from overseas Pakistanis as well.

“Collection of funds would exceed the requirement,” said SBP Deputy Governor Shamsul Hasan addressing the press briefing. A securities brokerage house estimated the cost of construction of the two dams at $17.6 billion (Rs2,138.4 billion).

A SBP handout added: “On the directives of Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan and its worthy Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, a Diamer Basha and Mohmand Dam Fund Account–2018 has been opened in all the field offices of SBP Banking Services Corporation (Bank), commercial and microfinance banks operating in Pakistan for collection of donation/contribution for raising financing for Diamer Basha and Mohmand dams.”

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CJP Mian Saqib Nisar kick-started the initiative by donating Rs1 million for the two dams the other day and urged all institutions and individuals to play their due role in their construction to defeat water scarcity in the country.

Meanwhile, the water calamity has started impacting the entire nation. Residential, industrial, commercial and agriculture lands all are facing acute shortage of water. Reportedly, Tarbela Dam hit dead water level on Sunday (July :sunglasses:, which cut short supply to Sindh and Punjab by 10-15% for the next three to four days in progress.

The shortage has caused farmers, mostly in Sindh, to miss their cotton seeds sowing targets and also delayed paddy (raw rice) plantation by a few months. The insufficient cotton sowing and delayed paddy plantation are likely to result in low outputs.

Moreover, according to world organisations, Pakistan would hit a major water crisis by 2025.

An SBP official added: “Organisations and individuals may deposit donations through 16,000 bank branches and ATMs.” He announced SBP employees will donate two days salary into the fund, while employees at SBP subsidiaries will donate a day’s salary to directly participate in the dams’ building. Similarly, high officials of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Habib Bank Limited (HBL), MCB Bank, United Bank Limited (UBL) and Allied Bank Limited (ABL) announced that their employees will also donate one day salary into the fund. Besides, management of each of the banks (except for HBL) would donate funds equivalent to what their employees deposit.

“We would contribute Rs100 million to the noble cause on behalf of (HBL) management,” HBL President & CEO Muhammad Aurangzeb said at the conference.

NBP President & CEO Saeed Ahmad said “all the donations would be transferred to SBP’s designated account within half-an-hour from the time any person or organisation deposits donations at our branches.” “If the provided circumstances do not support NBP employees to donate, they can walk out,” he said.

The central and commercial banks announced they have activated call centers and helplines to help donors if they are to face issues in depositing funds for the two dams.

Inaugurated in 1948 by the Quaid-e-Azam, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is now 70 years old

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