It gives me immense pleasure to present the Annual Performance Review (APR) of SBP BSC (Bank) for Financial Year 2014-15. I feel happy to share with the readers an overview of significant progress made by the management in transforming SBP BSC into an apex organization; that has grown overtime in terms of volume of business and diversification of operations. Despite reduction in HR resources largely through early retirements, our employees have successfully enhanced the efficiency of business functions, through a structured regime of business process re-engineering and strengthening of skill set.
One of the core functions of SBP BSC is to maintain accounts of federal/provincial/ local governments and their attached departments as also to consolidate the receipts and payments made on their behalf. For this purpose, around 7.06 million transactions were processed during FY15 as against 6.27 million transactions handled during the previous year. As part of strategy to carry out business process reengineering, IT based solutions were developed to help improve lead time in reporting of transactions to federal/provincial/local governments. Similarly, mechanism for sharing of information about collection of tax revenues was made more effective through regular reporting to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Similar exercise has also been taken for reporting of quantum of Zakat deposited by the banks with the offices of SBP BSC, for timely reporting to relevant Ministry of Government of Pakistan. Further, efforts were made to switch from manual issuance of cheques by the Government towards e-banking in line with international best practices. However, this initiative is likely to take considerable time for its full realization; reason being the varying degree of automation at our major stakeholders representing federal, provincial and district governments, and their attached departments.
The Currency Management Department carried out major initiatives towards mechanization of currency management operations and rationalization of its procedures. These measures would not only carry long-term strategic implications for transformation of our Currency Management System but will also help towards its alignment with international best practices. For the purpose, SBP BSC is procuring Bank Notes Processing & Authentication System (BPAS) machines equipped with capabilities of authentication, counterfeit detection, packets and bundle binding, on line shredding and high speed desktop currency sorters. This initiative shall lead to smooth and equitable issuance of fresh currency notes and support in implementation of SBP’s Clean Note Policy. In close coordination with Finance Department of SBP, we also took lead in development of currency management vision for the country which was presented in the currency conference organized by SBP at Lahore in February, 2015. A joint team comprising of officials from SBP and SBP BSC have prepared an Action Plan, which is to be issued in the first quarter of next fiscal year.
In order to facilitate members of general public in having access to fresh currency notes of small denominations in a reasonable quantity on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, an SMS based service was introduced and tested on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr 2015. This service has widely been appreciated by all stakeholders and we plan to introduce it as a regular feature after one or two additional test runs.
An important project for automation of E-form issuance has also been initiated by our Foreign Exchange Operations Department (FEOD), in close coordination with Exchange Policy Department of SBP and Pakistan Customs. Under this project, the banks will certify E-forms electronically using WEBOC system of Pakistan Customs. This project presently operational on pilot basis, will eventually mitigate the risk of issuance of fake E-forms and will track status of each E-form on a real time basis. The full roll out of the project is expected in the 2nd quarter of FY16. This migration from manual towards automated system of E-form issuance will help reduce paperwork and make the procedures more efficient and error free. Further, this development process entails extensive interaction with internal and external stakeholders to create synergies, improve our system and minimize the risk of fraudulent use of trade transactions. Another major initiative that has also been undertaken relates to the revision of Foreign Exchange Manual which is being done in close cooperation and guidance of Exchange Policy Department. This will allow us to synchronize various instructions relating to foreign exchange, with international trade practices. The Foreign Exchange Adjudication Department continued to make endeavors to bring stuck up export proceeds from abroad through the exercise of powers vested in it under Section 23B of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act 1947, besides taking up complaints of Foreign Exchange Department against authorized dealers for violation of FERA, especially their failure to provide requisite information for pre-adjudication formalities. The department also held judicial training for its officers as it is a quasi court department. However, a lot of work still requires to make this function more vibrant, to enable it to play its due role in the BSC.
We also continued with our endeavors to provide operational support to Development Finance Group (DFG) of SBP in developing policy regime for an inclusive financial system in the country, and achieve its dissemination at grass root level. During the year, focus remained towards enhanced support to Banks in disbursement/facilitation of Agri-credit by way of augmenting the capacities under “Regional Internship Program for Agri-Graduates”. Further, we also continued to play our supportive role towards promotion of housing finance. Our DFSD and its units in field offices continued to convene meetings of different stakeholders, organize seminars, conferences and develop linkages with academia for dissemination of policies and actions of DFG of SBP relating to financial inclusion.
In order to provide support towards achievement of our organizational objectives, few critical initiatives have also been adopted to strengthen existing HR base, improve level of motivation and allow effective utilization of HR on an organization-wide basis. These included, workforce rationalization, manpower resourcing at Entry, Middle and Senior positions, provision of career development opportunities through promotions, rotations and credible succession planning, strengthening of Performance Management System (PMS), capacity development both at domestic and international institutions and major HR Policy interventions. The Bank also successfully resourced 309 fresh inductees, through a transparent and competitive process, wherein best talent of the country was attracted from across the country. Further, a significant number of employees, both in Officers and Clerical/Non-Clerical cadres, were awarded promotions through a competitive process. In addition, various policies/SOPs, after approval, are being implemented as a part of continuous development plan. The major policies which were improved during year under review included, Promotion Policy, Higher Education Policy coupled with Professional Development Incentive Plan, Deputation Policy, Contract Employment Policy, Absorption Policy and Training & Development Policy.
The departments providing common services also brought about improvements in their respective areas. The role of General Services Department (GSD) has enhanced after establishment of Travel Helpdesk required for facilitation of employees in travel arrangements through one window operation. Moreover, internal controls in our Medical Services have been further strengthened with the introduction of Photo ID Cards of active and retired employees. The process for determination of Medical Fitness in case of fresh induction is also being revised, with a view to protect organizational interests. On the Engineering front, emphasis remained on efficient use of resources. Accordingly, to reduce fuel consumption and to provide continuous back-up supply to IT systems, new power generating units were procured and commissioned at Sukkur, Faisalabad, Peshawar and Lahore offices. Further, to reduce dependence on natural gas, BMR of Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning System has been initiated at NIBAF Islamabad, and Peshawar office. These efforts are in addition to the work relating to up keep of the existing physical infrastructure, securing our open plots, and initiatives to improve/renovate existing building, undertake plan to add/improve more residential facilities for our new recruits both male and female. Plans are also underway to start designing phase of our new buildings at Gujranwala, D.I. Khan, Islamabad and new office complex at Karachi. The Engineering Department also has completed major construction work of cricket stadium of SBP at our North Nazimabad Office. In view of the evolving security situation in the Country, security arrangements have been beefed up through installation of modern security equipment, imparting training to security staff and increased coordination with Law Enforcement Agencies for intelligence sharing and credible threat assessment.
During the year under review the training facilities at NIBAF were fully utilized to accommodate training needs of SBP BSC staff and officers. Efforts were geared to develop an e-learning portal to economize provision of training at grass root level. It is expected that the new system will be uploaded on intranet/SBP web during first quarter of next financial year. Apart from sending our officials to training courses at best domestic institutions, efforts were also made to send officials of the BSC, at all levels, to seek orientation, training at various international symposia, workshops and central banks of friendly countries. These efforts have helped the BSC in revamping its various operations in general and initiatives in respect of currency management in particular.
SBP BSC also takes pride in promoting sports activities which comprise of cricket, football, table tennis, and badminton. SBP’s contribution towards promotion of cricket has been recognized widely as the performance of its team is much appreciated at national level. SBP BSC would soon start women cricket activities as well. A particularly appreciated initiative includes the development of a Sports Complex at North Nazimabad Karachi for cricket and hockey.
Going forward, we are committed to pursue a strategy to bring improvement not only in our core and support business functions but also in our climate, environment and culture to make SBP BSC a dynamic organization. We have also kick started the process for formulation of the five years strategic plan for the BSC and it is expected that the consultant will be on board during the new financial year for steering the strategic planning process. Further, to ensure best realization of synergies and for continuation of effective liaison between SBP and SBP BSC, co-ordination mechanism between shared functions, shall be further beefed and reinforced through a collective effort. On the HR front, we are going to conduct a comprehensive Workload Analysis to determine the ideal future head count in all our business functions, keeping in view the probable techno-structural interventions. This will enable us to effectively plan and implement talent resourcing, development and structured succession arrangements against all leadership positions, in line with our strategic priorities.
I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Governor SBP and the members of the Board of SBP BSC for their continued support and guidance which enabled the organization to reach to new heights. I am also thankful to my team comprising of Directors, Chief Managers and BSC employees whose ownership, determination, teamwork and commitment towards achievement of our strategic objectives and accomplishment of responsibilities assigned to us by SBP, as its operational arm.