KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra urged bank CEOs on Saturday to set aside more funds for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.
Speaking at a condolence gathering to pay homage to social worker Abdul Sattar Edhi at the SBP headquarters, Wathra said banks should donate generously to the foundation set up by the late humanitarian.
“He did not believe in discrimination on the basis of race, religion and skin colour. He helped everyone,” Wathra said, adding that Edhi refrained from holding fancy fundraisers and avoided personal publicity.
Corporate sector entities devote some funds out of their pre-tax profits to CSR activities every year. According to the latest annual report released by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP), total donations by public limited companies increased from Rs0.2 billion in 2000 to Rs4.8 billion in 2013. A year-on-year increase of 30% in total profit-before-tax had yielded 18% increase in philanthropy in 2013, it added.
Top 25 giving companies donated 0.9% of their collective profit-before-tax in 2013 as opposed to 0.8% in the preceding year, it said.
Usually, corporate entities prefer to set up their own charitable organisations instead of funding independent NGOs like Edhi Foundation. According to the PCP, 85% of public limited companies preferred their own entities to manage their philanthropic/CSR activities while the rest chose to work in partnership with NGOs.
Faisal Edhi, who took up the reins of Edhi Foundation after the passing of its founder on July 8, was also present on the occasion. Introducing him to the audience, Wathra said the new chief of Edhi Foundation had walked to the SBP headquarters from his home, which is located across the road in an old city neighbourhood.
Speaking on the occasion, Faisal said Edhi Foundation needed funds to buy 100 ambulances. “We have ample funds to buy small, regular ambulances. But we need bigger ones to deal with a natural calamity like earthquakes or floods,” he said.
Faisal also announced the launch of his Bheek Mohim aimed at collecting Rs1 from each ordinary citizen. He requested bank CEOs present on the occasion to give “a good interest rate” on deposits of Edhi Foundation.
Meanwhile, the SBP governor announced that the central bank is going to issue a commemorative coin of Rs50 in honour of the late social worker.
Commemorative coins are typically issued in higher denominations because these are not meant for the usual circulation in the economy. These are usually made of copper, zinc and nickel and depict the waxing crescent moon and a five-pointed star.
Last year, the SBP had issued a Rs20 commemorative coin to mark the Pakistan-China Year of Friendly Exchange 2015.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2016.