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SCB to continue investment in energy projects, SMEs

Sir John Peace, chairman of Standard Chartered Plc, said on Wednesday that the bank will continue to invest in the energy projects and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on “The outlook and opportunities of Standard Chartered in Pakistan, which was held at the bank premises, he said that these sectors have huge potential to achieve economic growth.

The share of SMEs sector in the entire economy accounts for 30 percent with a large scope of strengthening small businesses and generating employment in the country, he said.

“The SCB has been providing financing facilities in the energy and infrastructure projects to certain companies in Pakistan,” Peace said, adding that the SCB further tends to increase its wholesale banking and consumer loans’ portfolio in the near future.

Despite security concerns, foreign investors are keen to invest in Pakistan, he said. Similarly, the SCB is willing to expand its penetration in the country, as “we make our strategies on a long-term basis”.

“The SCB has already been facilitating its clients (200 companies) to boost trade and commercial activities in Pakistan and China as a financial channel and having its large presence in India, the bank will be happy to serve the clients of India and Pakistan, as well if bilateral economic relations between India and Pakistan improved in the days to come.”

Christos Papadopoulos, regional chief executive officer of the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Standard Chartered, said that the bank plays an important role in providing cross-border financing and improving inflows of the foreign direct investment in Pakistan and in the regions of the Middle East and North Africa.

He said the bank enters the Iraqi financial market by opening branches in Baghdad and Basra, while it has an onshore presence in Afghanistan.

“The SCB has been growing in trade in Asia and Africa,” he said.

Mohsin Nathani, chief executive officer of SCB, said that the bank has a strong balance-sheet with a network of 116 branches across the country. Moreover, the cost of funds is among the best in the country.

“The bank has been investing in the optimisation of branches and electronic channels,” he said, adding that the bank has been acting as financial adviser for some power and infrastructure projects.

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