Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Restructuring of Financial Sector in Pakistan

Hanif, Muhammad N. (2002): Restructuring of Financial Sector in Pakistan. Published in: The Journal of the Institute of Bankers in Pakistan (January 2003): pp. 43-74.

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The process of financial sector restructuring started in Pakistan during early 1990s. For this purpose, international financial institutions, like World Bank and ADB, provided technical and financial resources. The objective of this exercise was to let financial system play its role in economic growth and development of the country in an efficient and competitive way. A lot of policy decisions have been made and implemented during the last decade to reduce distortions and to develop competitive price mechanism in the financial markets. The process of restructuring is still going on and it is a bit earlier to say some final words about its success, however, we are able to say, on the basis of the trend the financial and other indicators are following, that we have been partially successful in achieving the set objectives. The competition among financial institutions has been intensified during the restructuring period. Some positive developments have also been witnessed on the front of money and foreign exchange markets. Though there are some improvements, yet there is a lot to do for strengthening of insurance sector, capital market and bond market. The whole exercise remained less effective in increasing financial deepening, and in reducing intermediation cost (i.e., interest rate spread). Until end of 1990s, policy of privatization of NCBs and drive for recovery of NPLs could not be pursued vigorously and NPLs continued to grow. During the last three years some considerable efforts have been made for privatization of NCBs. Only recently, the size of the NPLs has started to stabilize due to some intensified recovery efforts and better quality of new loans. The size of the NPLs is primarily responsible for the deteriorated health of financial institutions. The overall macroeconomic outcome is also against the expectations. Macroeconomic stability as well as proper sequencing of restructuring measures are necessary preconditions to the success of the whole exercise. In Pakistan, the financial restructuring process was introduced in an environment of large budget deficit and high and variable inflation i.e., in an atmosphere of macro-economic instability. Frequent changes in political set up of the country during 1990s also adversely affected this process. However, in the present milieu of political and economic management, it is expected that financial sector will be able to play its due role in economic growth and efficiency as the governance structure is improving, consistency in economic policies is being ensured, and political stability is envisaged.

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