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SECP’s revamps regulation to ensure EODB, market expansion

Aug 11, 2020: The Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has revamped numerous regulatory regimes by reducing obstacles in many of its regulated sectors for ensuring Ease of Doing Business (EODB).

Under its commitment to promote ease of doing business, SECP with support of Asian Development Bank (ADB) is preparing a five-years plan for development of financial markets in Pakistan, Official sources of SECP told APP here on Tuesday.

The long-term road map will be focusing on demand and supply measures to broaden and deepen the financial system in Pakistan.

In line with government’s vision of Digital Pakistan, SECP has already kicked-off a project Leading Efficiency through Automated Prowess (LEAP).

Under this project, SECP will digitalize all its regulatory processes. In this regard SECP has already codified and re-engineered 250 processes for end to end automation. It is expected that this digitalization project will be implemented within two years.

It will lead to end-to-end digitalization of all internal and external regulatory approvals, launch of a modern Secured Transaction Registry (STR) and introduction of Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) for financial reporting.

SECP operationalized the new Secured Transactions Registry, established under Financial Institutions (Secured Transactions) Act 2016, for registration of security interests created by entities other than companies on their movable assets.

Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor to PM on Finance and Revenue, inaugurated the STR on May 7.

To attract new listings in stock market, improve capital formation and provide ease of doing business, SECP has completely digitalized the IPO process for equity and debt issues.

It has made IPO processes more easy, simple and cost effective. First time, government raised Rs 200 billion through Sukuk at less than KIBOR rate, through competitive book building at PSX’, saving Rs 18 bln over 10 years on debt servicing. Transaction oversubscribed by 70 per cent. Excellent team effort of MOF Debt Office , SECP, SBP and PSX.

Pakistan’s first ever Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) was launched at PSX and with the launch of this product, PSX has joined the list of stock exchanges in the world offering ETFs which are investment products combining the returns offered by the stock market with the diversity offered by a mutual fund.

PSX has launched two ETFs, namely the UBL Pakistan Enterprise ETF offered by UBL Funds and NIT Pakistan Gateway ETF offered by NIT. In given circumstances due to COVID 19 pandemic, and in the interest of safety, arrangements were made for virtual launch of ETF, that was also first of its kind.

Introduced amendments in Companies Act 2017, to provide an enabling regulatory framework for businesses, promote and nurture startups as well as attract local and international innovators.

SECP launches single online procedure for swift company registration and the process for registration of business is completely digitalized. Now a new company can be registered in Pakistan only in 4-hours. Now, a new company can be registered in only Rs1500.

SECP has reduced fees for mutual fund and insurance sectors by 70 per cent. The reduction in SECP fee will directly benefit mutual funds unit holders, as this cost was being charged to the unit holders of mutual funds; the reduction in SECP annual fee will also indirectly enhance return of mutual fund investors.

SECP is also in process of bringing new laws for insurance and NBFC sector to allow digital distribution channels. The use of technology will improve financial inclusion and access to insurance and finance to every individual.

Requirement relating to payment of subscription money within 30 days of incorporation by subscriber and filing of auditor certificate has been done away to facilitate small companies.

To establish Pakistan agriculture supply line on modern lines, and provide farmers easy access to finance and reduced their post-harvest losses, SECP has notified Collateral Management Companies Regulations.

The Collateral Management Companies will reserve agriculture commodities by using modern technology and issue electronic receipts to farmers. The farmers can use these electronic receipts for securing loans from banks or can trade this on commodities market.

SECP is also reviewing the Securities Act and the Futures Market Act for their simplification and unification.

APP

TPL Trakker partners with Bykea for Location Based Services

August 11, 2020 (MLN): TPL Trakker Limited (TPLT), has partnered with Bykea Technologies (Private) Limited (Bykea), Pakistan’s leading On-Demand Ride-Hailing and Logistics Service.

Bykea operates in four cities in Pakistan, serving millions of users and is one of the largest employment creators in the country offering part-time job opportunities to anyone with a smartphone and a motorcycle.

According to the notice sent by the company to PSX, TPLT will be integrating its state-of-the-art Location Based Service Application Programming Interface with Bykea’s all-in-one Mobile Application for improving the existing transportation, deliveries and cash on delivery payment services, currently being offered through Bykea’s Mobile Application.

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PKR strengthens by 11 paisa against greenback

August 11, 2020 (MLN): Pakistani rupee (PKR) appreciated by 11 paisa against US Dollar (USD) in today's interbank session as the currency closed the day's trade at PKR 168.27 per USD, against yesterday's closing of PKR 168.38 per USD.

The rupee endured a relatively dull trading session with very little intraday movement, trading in a range of 14 paisa per USD showing an intraday high bid of 168.45 and an intraday Low offer of 168.40.

Within the Open Market, PKR was traded at 168/169 per USD.

Alternatively, the currency lost 38 paisa to the Pound Sterling as the day's closing quote stood at PKR 220.19 per GBP, while the previous session closed at PKR 219.8 per GBP.

On the other hand, PKR's value strengthened by 3 paisa against EUR which closed at PKR 198.04 at the interbank today.

On another note, within the money market, the overnight repo rate towards close of the session was 6.90/7.00 percent, whereas the 1 week rate was 6.95/7.00 percent.

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CGSS organizes webinar on “Problems Faced by the Cotton...

August 11, 2020: On 10th August 2020, Center for Global & Strategic Studies organized a webinar on “Problems Faced by the Cotton Industry in Pakistan” to discuss the various issues faced by the cotton industry in Pakistan including the production challenges, quality deterioration of cotton and the limited variety of seeds in the Cotton Industry of Pakistan.

The webinar was commenced by Maj Gen Syed Khalid Amir Jaffery (Retd), President, CGSS. Maj Gen Jaffery stated that to improve and increase the cotton production in Pakistan, the linkages between the Agriculture sector and the industries need to be enhanced. Furthermore, he mentioned for enhancing the overall situation of the cotton industry of Pakistan, Upgrading, and Modernization of technology is required.

Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research-informed the participants regarding the shift of farmers from cotton to other crops due to the minimum support price provided to the cotton crop. Moreover, Mr. Fakhar Imam mentioned that due to the high contamination rate of the cotton produced in Pakistan, the export of the Cotton gets affected. He also stated that the most important factor which affects the cotton quality in Pakistan is the Seed Quality. Lastly,

Mr. Fakhar Imam mentioned that to address the overall imbalances of the Cotton Industry, effective policy initiatives are to be taken.

Dr. Jassu Mal, Former Chairman, Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association emphasized the need for raising awareness among the major stakeholders of the Cotton Industry of Pakistan. In addition to the general awareness regarding cotton production, the technical training of the farmers and workers is also required. He further added that the Cotton in Pakistan is still hand-picked which increases the contamination rate and hence leads to the low-quality gradation. Dr. Jassur Mal also mentioned that despite having the Best Canal System in the World, it is underutilized.

Mian Anjum Nisar, President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry mentioned that Cotton production not only supports the overall agriculture sector but it also, directly and indirectly, supports the various industries of Pakistan. Additionally, he mentioned that cotton contributes (directly and indirectly) to 50 percent of the total exports of Pakistan. Lastly, Mr. Anjum Nisar mentioned that to compete at the global level, the input cost of the cotton has to be reduced taxes on agriculture inpurts, sales tax on pesticides, ferticlizer shuld also be removed. Agri-research centre also need to produce high quality seed and ginning technology should also be improve with the help of China. 

Prof. Dr. Asif Ali, Vice-Chancellor, MNS-Univesity of Agriculture, Multan mentioned that for the overall improvement of the cotton sector, an effective regulatory mechanism needs to be introduced. Furthermore, Dr. Asif highlighted the need for the Industrial Upgradation for the overall enhancement of the cotton sector.  Lastly, Dr. Asif stated that for the revival of the cotton industry, all the major stakeholders need to come together to address the common challenges faced.

Mian. Zahid Hussain, Convenor, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry advised the stakeholders involved to focus on providing solutions to the problems faced by the cotton industry. He also empathized on the need for the formulation of new effective policies. Additionally, Mr. Zahid Hussain mentioned that Pakistan needs to follow the best cotton production practices from around the world to improve its cotton sector.

Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Islamia University of Bahawalpur mentioned that the main aim of the cotton industry is to increase production. To increase cotton production, new technologies are to be incorporated. Moreover, he mentioned that Research and Development can play a major role in increasing cotton production.

Lieutenant. Colonel Saadullah Tashmatov, Charge de Affairs/ Defense Attache, Embassy of Uzbekistan discussed the Cotton Industry of Uzbekistan. He mentioned that Uzbekistan is ready to cooperate with Pakistani farmers to find new directions for cooperation in the Cotton Industry of Pakistan. He further stated that, Uzbekistan looks forward to establishing cooperation between the food security department as well as it holds great importance for Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

The Webinar was attended by 50 participants. The Webinar was moderated by Lieutenant Colonel Khalid Taimur Akram (Retd), Executive Director, CGSS.

Press Release

Dolmen City Reit announces new rental waivers for August

August 11, 2020 (MLN): The Sub-Committee of the Board of Dolmen City REIT has revoked the announcement made on August 6 on the waive rentals as the businesses have been allowed to open amid the decline of the COVID-19 cases.  The Sub-Committee, after obtaining recommendations from Property Manager and the REIT Management Company, has deliberated on the strategy going forward and has decided to waive:

i) 25% rentals of the tenants having retail outlets in "Dolmen Mall Clifton" for the month of August 2020;

ii) Minimum rent will not be charged to tenants of "Dolmen Mall Clifton" for the month of August 2020 who are closed or have limited operations on government directives such as entertainment, children playing area, and food outlets.

iii) 25% rentals of the tenants of "Harbour Front" for the month of August 2020.

According to the notification issued by the company to PSX, the above discount will not apply to operational tenants who are providing essential services such as supermarkets and banks. These measures will provide essential cash flow relief to tenant partners already affected by the closure of the business.

‘Dolmen City REIT will continue to engage with the tenants and monitor the situation closely. DCR is cognizant of the need to fully support the efforts of Sindh and Federal Governments to contain the spread of this pandemic and stand with the Nation in this unfortunate and difficult time.’, the notification said.

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