The 10th SAARC Summit of the Head of the States of the SAARC Region which was held in Colombo on 29th July, 1998 agreed, in principle, to establish a "Network of Central Bank Governors and Finance Secretaries of the SAARC Region (SAARCFINANCE)" with a view to opening dialogues on macro economic policies of the region and sharing mutual experiences and ideas. Accordingly, the Central Bank Governors and Finance Secretaries of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka (representatives from Bhutan and Maldives were unable to attend) met in Washington D.C. on October 05, 1998 and took the decision to establish SAARCFINANCE Network.
ObjectivesThe basic objective of establishing the SAARCFINANCE Network is to share experiences on macro-economic policy issues among members countries of the region. However, the broad objectives of the Network are as follows:
- To promote cooperation among central banks and finance ministries in SAARC member countries through staff visits and regular exchange of information.
- To consider and propose harmonization of banking legislations and practices within the region.
- To work towards a more efficient payment system mechanism within the SAARC region and strive for higher monetary and exchangecooperation.
- To forge closer cooperation on macro-economic policies of SAARC member countries and to share experiences and ideas.
- To undertake training of staff for the central banks, ministries of finance and other financial institutions of the SAARC member countries in subjects relating to economics and finance.
- To promote research on economic and financial issues for the mutual benefit of SAARC member countries.
- To consider any other matter on the direction/request of the SAARCFINANCE, Council of Ministers for SAARC or other SAARC bodies.
The secretariat of the network will be established on a rotation basis with the central bank of the country that holds chairmanship of SAARC. The SAARCFINANCE Chair also moves in rotation with the change of the SAARC Chair. At present, the SAARC chair is with the Pakistan and the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan is the current chairperson of the Network.
Each central bank established a cell in its Research Department to coordinate the activities of SAARCFINANCE. Member central banks also appoint a Coordinator. The Coordinator of the central bank of SAARC Chairperson's country acts as the central Coordinator.
The SAARCFINANCE meets twice a year concurrently with the IMF/WB annual and spring meetings.
SAARCFINANCE Coordinators' Meetings
As per the decision of the 5th SAARCFINANCE meeting, the Coordinators meet at least once a year to facilitate activities of the SAARCFINANCE network.
Sharing information among the SAARCFINANCE institutions progressed satisfactorily. A good number of publications and other documents on various policy issues were exchanged among the member countries institutions.
Staff Exchange Program
Since the inception of the SAARCFINANCE a good number of officers visited various institutions of member countries under Staff Exchange Program. The matters of the Staff Exchange covered a broad range of issues ranging from risk-based supervision to human resource management and forward marketing arrangements for agricultural product, etc. Considering the effectiveness of the staff exchange program and also in the case of training, seminars, etc., the matter of cost sharing is left entirely to the country concerned.
Seminars, Workshops, Special Studies etc.
Number of seminars/workshops/special studies have been conducted on common topical issues by some of the member countries of the SAARC region.