Pakistani government informed the National Assembly (the lower house) that public and private banks and development finance institutions (DFIs) had written off loans amounting to Rs112.305 billion ($1.195 billion) over the past four years. According to a written answer submitted in the house, the number of beneficiaries was 1,434.
Although the question was not taken up for discussion because of absence of Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh, information placed before the house revealed the details of loans written off by banks and DFIs.
Sheikh Salahuddin of the MQM had enquired about names, addresses and occupations of people who had loans of Rs10 million or more written off.
The finance minister said irrecoverable loans had been written off by banks and DFIs in accordance with their duly approved policies by their board of directors.
The United Bank Limited proved to be the most generous in writing off its loans as it topped the list with Rs28.26 billion in 284 cases, followed by Habib Bank (Rs16.8 billion, 233 cases), Muslim Commercial Bank (Rs16.33 billion) and Samba Bank (Rs12.6 billion).
The Allied Bank wrote off Rs7 billion loans in 104 cases. The National Bank benefited 137 account holders by writing off loans of Rs10 billion.
Others banks and DFIs which wrote off loans were Askari Bank (Rs2.3 billion), HSBC Middle East (Rs4.9 billion), Kasab Bank (Rs4.4 billion), ZTBL (Rs3.3 billion) Silk Bank (Rs2.12 billion), Standard Chartered (Rs1.5 billion) NIB (Rs1.1 billion) Alfalah Bank (Rs161 million), Bank of Khyber (Rs1 billion), Bank of Punjab (Rs325 million), City Bank (Rs503 million), Faisal Bank (Rs268 million), SME Bank (Rs717 million), Suneri Bank (Rs243 million), Summit Bank (Rs480 million), Pak-Kuwait Investment Bank (Rs38 million), Pak-Libya Holding Co (Rs84 million) and Saudi-Pak Industrial and Investment Bank (Rs66 million).
Meanwhile, in order to prevent revenue leakages through fake invoices and the issuance of bogus refunds, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) of Pakistan is considering auditing of new taxpayers, who show heavy transactions, during the first year of registration, said official sources on Saturday.