‘Wilful defaulters’ owe two govt banks hundreds of billions of rupees


ISLAMABAD: Failure of two flagship government banks, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), to recover a staggering Rs177 billion from ‘wilful defaulters’ since 2010 has crippled their profits as wells as operations.

HUM Investigative Team has access to exclusive record that shows that approximately ‘200,000 wilful defaulters’ of NBP and ZTBL have not repaid Rs177b to the national treasury for over 12 years. NBP has Rs126b outstanding from 14,755 defaulters, while the ZTBL is owed Rs53b by 178,000 defaulters.

The documents further show that between 1990 and 2000, both banks had written off loans worth Rs50b.

With 29 per cent of ZTBL’s total business currently at risk, senior bank officials say if the outstanding amounts are recovered, the bank’s annual profit could increase from Rs5b to as much as Rs20b.

Likewise, the NBP, where the number of defaulters has gone up by 5,000 with Rs64b in outstanding loans since 2018, could see an annual profit surge from Rs31b to Rs70b.

Records indicate that in 2018 and 2019 alone, there was a default on loans worth Rs38b at NBP.

Meanwhile, ZTBL has 169,000 defaulters for non-performing loans amounting to Rs49.3b. In 2020, the highest number of defaulters stood at 263,000, with outstanding dues of over Rs71b.

Documents suggest existence of individual ‘wilful defaulters’ who owe billions to the banks. For instance, Maqsood Ali Bhutto owe Rs14b, MA Shamim owes Rs5b, Shehnaz Begum has dues of Rs4b, Mohammad Hussain owes Rs5.8b, and Ambrin Shirazi has outstanding loans of Rs2.82b.

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The complete list of defaulters includes 11 industrialists, 16 merchants, 21 former members of parliament, 42,000 small farmers, 5,600 small traders, 1,214 former students, and over 100,000 common citizens.

Despite numerous queries sent to the bank administration, no response has been received by the HUM Investigation Team so far. The senior officials of the banks however told HIT that “laws under Section 33A of the Bank Companies Ordinance, 1962, prohibits banks from sharing customer information.”

Keeping this in mind, NBP has provided details of defaults by segments only and not by customer name.

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