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Bank-oil nexus

January 04, 2013

OUR national energy policy is pro-oil. See for yourself. Try obtaining financing for a solar home system. I did just that and visited several foreign private banks.

After countless and tiresome visits, and being outrightly rejected by some and misled by others (it’s called giving a ‘run-around’ by some), I came to the conclusion that banks in Pakistan are not here to lend money to Pakistanis.

They are here to take deposits only from Pakistanis at low interest rates and lend to the government or a few select large industrialists at a high interest rate and pocket the difference as profits.

One exception is that many banks do lend for purchasing automobiles. And why wouldn’t they as all automobiles consume ‘oil’ and these banks are mostly owned by the same countries from where we import oil!

The more cars there are on our streets, the more oil will be consumed. Cars have a symbiotic relationship with oil.

So, it makes sense for our oil suppliers to lend generously for generators and automobiles that consume oil and not lend for solar or other technologies that discourage oil consumption. So, now you also know why there is no solar industry penetration in Pakistan but millions of generators and cars wreaking havoc with our environment.

This may also explain why our roads are not optimised for the shortest distance but are craftily engineered for the longest routes.

Now you also know that banks in Pakistan don’t take risks. They want a ‘riskless’ return from ignorant citizens. In fact, one bank even had the audacity to ask me that if I deposited in cash an equal amount of the loan that I was requesting, they would ‘grant’ me 50 per cent amount of the deposit as a loan.

No, I’m not joking. They actually wanted me to deposit my money with them so I could get half of my money back from them as a loan and pay them interest on it. Very clever, but they only get away with this in Pakistan.

Aurangzeb Bhatti Lahore