Speaking to a packed audience of BBAs and MBAs at Newport University Karachi, the head of Gul Bahao trust Nargis Latif on Sunday declared that the concept of the Safai/Kamai Bank or Garbage N Gold Bank has arrived. this “Bank” in its rudimentary form is the back bone of Karachi’s economy. Describing the bank as a third world solution to first world problems she said it has attracted the attention of the world famous TV channel CNN. She said that both BBC and CNN held detailed discussions with her about it and were keen to cover it up as soon as its “Appearance livens up”. Nargis said that Karachi being the seventh largest city of the world can vie with any first world country of the world in terms of wealth and is an important factor behind Gul Bahao’s success. She revealed that Gul Bahao cashed into the free flow of money available during the Musharaf era and experimented with all kinds of material to produce goods and concepts of international significance. Using a team of 80 youths and a dozen trucks and pickup vans it went into the luxury of giving 24 carat gold to Kabarias and conducted a city wide campaign of “Kutchra Do Sona LO” to Kabarias to start the Safai/Kamai Bank. Somewhat digressing form her topic Nargis claimed that having spent crores of rupees on research (only in 2002 audited accounts revealed an expenditure of 1 crore and ten lacs for a single year), her organization has a blue print for any political party for revamping the entire economy of the country including cheap fuel for running power plants!
Going into the background of modern day innovations she said that they were in fact upgradations of traditional practices e.g. the traditional midwife has developed into an obstetrician, the grocery and provision shop has evolved into the supermarket. Tomorrows GNG (Garbage N GoldBanks) is in fact 21st century version of our Kabaria or junk dealer. Kabarias are minting money she said, despite the fact that they are totally illiterate. To the audience who were listening with rapt attention the CEO of Gul Bahao threw the question “Don’t you think education makes a difference?”, Nargis said that in order for the Kabaria to develop into a sophisticated Safai/Kamai bank its outward appearance must change. All the paraphernalia of the modern banking system like computers, air-conditioned hall etc. must be there. Most importantly,she said it must be located on main arteries of the city. Does any successful bank operate in any by lane (as in the case of Kabarias which come under the nomenclature of the informal economy, she asked once again. Nargis said,she was trying to get the academia interested in this kind of bank.
a) where the instruments of banking is recyclable industrial waste
b) which works on zero rates interest
c) whose profits are as much as that of any traditional bank
d) where always the current rate of different waste materials displayed on the notice board in the manner of money exchangers.
She said that LUMS was one University which had sought written permission from Gul Bahao for introducing the concept of the Garbage N Gold Bank in its Syllabus. It also awarded a research worker for her dissertation on this very subject i.e. the Safai/Kamai Bank. She revealed that some textbooks of secondary level have already included this and other work of Gul Bahao in their textbooks.
The speech truly fired the imagination of the audience who were all agog to know how their knowledge of business administration could be used for setting up the “bank of the future”.