The ever-increasing banking population whereas requires the authorities concerned, specially the regulators, to ensure a strong check upon profit-conscious banks and their day-to-day dealing with the customers, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) seems to have stuck to the traditional lethargy mostly attributed to the country’s bureaucracy.
The Ministry of Finance, through a notification numbering F.1 (3)-BKG(R&S)/2003-167, had notified the appointment of Anisul Hassnain Moosvi as a Banking Mohtasib (ombudsman) some four months ago on March 14.
President Asif Ali Zardari had administered the solemn oath to the bureaucrat, who has more than 36-year of working experience in various government ministries and departments, for the office of Banking Ombudsman on the same day.
What was special about this oath-taking was the fact that Moosvi was the first Banking Mohtasib who was sworn-in under the newly promulgated enactment: Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reform Act, 2013.
Moosvi assumed the new charge on March 18 and has been officiating as Banking Mohtasib since then.
It, however, was not before July 15, Monday, when the State Bank notified the appointment of Moosvi on its website.
The central bank, the banking regulator, took over four long months to inform the presidents and chief executives of the banks, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and the Microfinance Banks (MFBs) about the important development.
“In pursuance of Section 3 of the Federal Ombudsmen Institutional Reforms Act, 2013 (XIV of 2013), read with Section 24 thereof, and in supersession of Finance Division, Government of Pakistan Notification No.F.1(3)-BKG(R&S)/2003-167 dated March 14, 2013, the President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to appoint Mr. Anisul Hassnain Moosvi as Banking Mohtasib,” reads SBP Circular No. 04 the regulator issued Monday.
“It is not in my notice,” replied an official at the State Bank when requested to reason the months-long delay in the formal sharing of the public-interest notification issued by the Ministry of Finance on March 14.
As defined by the International Bar Association
in 1974, the Banking Ombudsman is a public official whose office, receives complaints from the “aggrieved” persons, officials and employees of the banks, DFIs and the MFBs and ensure an action thereon which, according to Banking Mohtasib Pakistan (BMP), is free, impartial and most importantly “prompt”.
The State Bank, which makes it binding on the banks to display prominently the notices pertaining to the customers’ information about the Banking Ombudsman, appeared to have been lacking this required promptness in informing the banks that the office of the BMP was without a in charge no further.
Underlining importance of the office of the Banking Ombudsman, the BMP says banking population had grown “manifold” because of the fast-paced privatization, in the recent past, that had encouraged the banks to rapidly expand their products and services network.
“However, the increasing volume of associated complaints received at the State Bank of Pakistan and the government’s strong desire to provide an independent complaints resolution mechanism which is free, impartial and prompt, has resulted in the appointment of the Banking Mohtasib in 2005,” reads the BMP website.
Appointed for a four-year term starting from March 14, Moosvi is said to have brought with him a rich experience of having served the federal government for more than 36 years in various ministries and departments like the FBR, commerce, investment, national harmony, sports and inter provincial coordination divisions.