Mar 02, 2021: Pakistan has improved its position on World Bank (WB) Ease of Doing Business Index for the second consecutive year, according to the annual report issued by Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
As per World Bank’s latest rankings on ease of doing business for 2020, Pakistan has improved its position by 28 points from 136 to 108 which is an unprecedented improvement, report said.
Out of 6 reform areas acknowledged in 2020 report, the highest improvement of 58 points has been made in Starting a Business indicator where SECP is leading the reform process.
Pakistan’s ranking in this indicator has improved from 130 to 72 and is placed at 2nd position in South Asian countries in terms of ease of Starting a Business.
This improvement is primarily due to integration of SECP e-Services with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) at the Federal level and with Business Registration portals of Punjab and Sindh at the Provincial level.
After this integration, SECP’s eServices is offering one window facility for company registration with FBR (NTN registration), EOBI, provincial employees social security institutions (PESSI/SESSI), Labor Department and Excise and Taxation Department of Punjab and Sindh.
As a result of this reform, number of procedures to start a business as recorded in the Doing Business Report 2020 have been reduced from 10 to 5 and Pakistan has been able to ranked at first in South Asia and 6th among the top ten reformers globally.
Financial Institutions (Secured Transactions) Act, 2016 (STA), enacted on July 01, 2016, provides a comprehensive legal framework for creation, perfection, priority and enforcement of security interest on movable assets. STA applied to both incorporated and unincorporated entities with certain exemptions.
The charges created by companies continue to be registered in the register maintained by the SECP under the Companies Act, 2017 while charges created by unincorporated entities are required to be registered in the Secured Transactions Registry (STR) established under section 19 of the STA.
The administrative powers under the STA relating to operationalization of the STR have been entrusted to the Commission through the Financial Institutions (Secured Transactions) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020. The SECP, with financial support from DFID (UK), has launched the STR on April 30, 2020.
March 2, 2021: Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) signed an agreement to collaborate in the development of a new payment and registration system by PSX.
PSX takes immense pride in announcing another important development for the capital market and its participants to digitally transform the Initial Public Offering (IPO) process through the E-IPO project. The E-IPO will be an automated system connecting investors and share registrars with brokers/ TRE Certificate Holders and banks through payment gateways including NIFT and the shares custodial company, CDC.
The digital portal will provide facility to investors (local, foreign, and institutional), TRE Certificate Holders, and even banks for submission of online subscription applications from anywhere in the world through the internet. The system is connected in real-time with Central Depository Company (CDC), payment gateways (e.g. NIFT and others), and shares registrars for providing end-to-end digitalization.
At the signing ceremony, Mr. Farrukh H. Khan, MD & CEO, Pakistan Stock Exchange, said, “The deployment of the new E-IPO system will open new vistas and expand the horizons for investors wanting to invest in new issuances through the convenience of a few clicks via the internet. This system will bring digitalization for investors at the front-end and will enhance the outreach of PSX, issuers and investors in terms of the IPO process as a whole. The connectivity that this system ensures between investors, share registrars, brokers, banks, gateway firms like NIFT and the shares custodians, CDC, is a great step forward for Pakistan Stock Exchange”.
Speaking at the occasion, the CEO of NIFT, Mr. Haider Wahab, said, “Pakistan is showing strong economic outlook for 2021 and beyond with positive market sentiments in the stock market, the regulator is geared up for providing state of the art digital products and services to the local investors. We are extremely excited to be part of PSX initiative to bring ease of participation in IPO digitally. NIFT ePay will help investors to make payments online for all the E-IPOs with a secure and seamless payment experience directly from their bank accounts expanding potential investors’ ability to digitally participate using NIFT ePay services”.
The E-IPO system will not only revolutionize the way investors and other market participants take part in an IPO but will also go a long way in establishing the digitalization of the IPO subscription process in Pakistan.
March 2, 2021 (MLN): Dawood Hercules Corporation Limited has reported earnings of Rs. 42.63 billion for the year ended December 31, 2020, i.e. nearly 42% higher as compared to the earnings of last year.
The Earnings per share for the year stood at Rs. 15.76, which is 34% higher as compared to the EPS of Rs. 11.75 reported last year.
The company saw a 10.27% improvement in net sales and a 10% increase in cost of sales, both of which resulted in a 10.9% growth in gross profit. Further relief was drawn from a 16% increase in other income and a 26.3% decline in non-core expenses.
While the company experienced a loss allowance on subsidy receivable from GoP amounting to Rs. 1.2 billion, this was somewhat compensated for by a 143% increase in share of income from associates.
DAWH also benefitted from a 39.7% decline in income tax expense.
Financial Results for the year ended December 31, 2020 (Rupees '000')
Cost of sales
Selling and distribution expenses
Other operating expenses
Loss allowance on subsidy receivable from GoP
Share of income from associates and Joint ventures
Profit before taxation
Profits for the period
Basic and diluted earnings per share
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March 2, 2021: The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has issued a price-revision notification of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) for the month of March.
According to the notification, the authority increased the locally produced LPG price by Rs.21.78 per cylinder of 11.8 kilograms.
After the revised price, the cylinder would be sold in the open market at Rs1,884.92 during the current month, which was available at 1,863.14 in the last month.
Whereas, the per Metric Ton LPG rate has been fixed at Rs159,738.70 for the month of March.
The commodity sale price per Metric Ton was Rs157,894.35 during the month of February.
Mar 02, 2021: As members of the oil cartel OPEC and its allies meet this week to discuss adjusting output, analysts expect old tensions between oil producer giants to flare up again.
Russia and Saudi Arabia, respectively the world's second and third largest producers of oil after the United States, had often been at loggerheads in the past, but when crude oil prices plunged due to the pandemic, they rallied to radically cut production levels and underpin prices.
Now that prices have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, at around $65 a barrel, the two heavyweights and their partners will discuss how to move forward -- and how much crude to release back onto the global market.
"The priorities are well known: Russia wants to return to normal production as quickly as possible while Saudi Arabia wants to benefit from high prices a little longer," Bjarne Schieldrop, chief analyst at commodities research group Seb, said ahead of a ministerial level meeting Thursday at which quotas are expected to be adjusted.
While global demand for crude is recovering, OPEC has ensured that its production cuts create an "artificial shortage" that supports prices, according to Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at broker group Axi.
Following two days of tough negotiations at 2021's first summit in early January, the 23 members of the OPEC and OPEC+ groupings agreed to slowly increase oil supply to the world market.
For March, members have already agreed to withhold 7.05 million barrels per day (bpd), less than the 7.125 million bpd they cut in February.
With vaccination campaigns underway and demand in China, the world's largest oil importer, back at pre-pandemic levels, exactly how much oil OPEC+ will allow to be traded for April will be at the heart of Thursday's ministerial-level debate.
Though the virus still poses a threat, it is likely "that the rise in oil prices will lead to a more rapid loosening of cuts," than previously anticipated, analysts at Capital Economics say.
The quota of cuts expected to be observed by each country will be closely scrutinised by market watchers -- as will any divergence between the main producers.
OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has in recent times been willing to take on extra production cuts to facilitate agreement.
Riyadh recently decided to reduce output by one million barrels per day, while Russia and Kazakhstan have slightly increased their crude production.
OPEC+ members have disagreed frequently in the past, with quotas expected to once again become a particularly contentious point of discussion this week.
Iran, Venezuela and Libya have been exempt from OPEC's quotas, while others, including Iraq and Nigeria, have flouted the OPEC+ agreement, producing above quota for months.
OPEC members are also monitoring any signs that US President Joe Biden might lift sanctions on Iran, which would allow Tehran to re-enter the global market and dramatically increase supply.
On Wednesday, a day before the ministerial meeting sets new quotas, the club's monthly meeting will assess current market conditions and threats in a videoconference.