ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday urged for speeding up the divestment and execution of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) keeping in view the best national interest and development of the country’s capital market.
The minister made this reiteration during a meeting with high authorities of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the PSX.
SECP Chairman Zafar Hijazi along with PSX Chairman Muneer Kamal presented an update to the minister on the progress made with respect to the divestment of shares of PSX.
The minister was briefed on expressions of interest (EoIs) received from various national and international prospective buyers in relation to divestment of 40pc shares of the PSX lying in the blocked account to be sold to Strategic Investors (SIs), and local financial institutions as required under the Stock Exchanges (Corporatisation, Demutualisation and Integration) Act, 2012.
Recently, the Divestment Committee of PSX’s shareholders mandated to carry out the divestment had extended the timeline for submission of EoIs till August 15, 2016 in view of recent changes including British decision to exit from the European Union, Pakistan’s inclusion in MSCI emerging markets and various important reforms witnessed by our capital market.
In the interim PSX is formulating a marketing strategy, to be implemented soon after Eid holiday, to present its case to local and foreign prospective investors.
The SECP chairman also briefed the finance minister on the progress made on draft Companies Bill 2016. He apprised the minister regarding the extensive consultative process undertaken by the SECP on advice of the minister and the quantum of feedback received from the general public, the professional bodies and the experts and the status of incorporation of the suggestions and the new concepts.
The provisions added in draft Companies Bill were discussed in detail by the Finance Minister with team of SECP and appreciated the work done so far by the commission.
Especially the concepts including exemptions to companies with lesser capital and inactive companies regarding audit and filing requirements were appreciated by him.
The minister expressed the hope that these concepts will go long way for documentation of economy and advised to place updated draft of the draft bill again on website for further feedback by stakeholders.
He advised the SECP chairman to also add necessary provisions in the draft bill to facilitate agriculture sector growth and the regulation of real estate business. He further advised to strengthen law to deal with the situation arising with reference to off shore investments issues to prevent frauds and money laundering in corporate sector.
He said companies should be required to provide information to the Commission of beneficial ownership of securities and properties abroad.
The commission is to maintain a global register of beneficial ownership in this respect. He advised that in the changing economic land scape in the back drop of CPEC and the establishment of free zones be kept in view to attract maximum investment in the Country and necessary provisions to support such endeavours may be provided in the new draft company law.
The minister stated that another meeting shall be conducted after Eid holidays to deliberate and come up with a way forward with respect to the draft bill.