March 15, 2020 (MLN): An alarming sensation due to the outbreak of Covid-19 became more severe on the local front during the outgoing week as it triggered the market halt for the third time during the week due to sell-off intensified amid investors’ fears.
In this regard, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) team lead by the Chairman SECP and Commissioner(SM) held a detailed meeting on Friday with the CEOs of Pakistan Stock Exchange, National Clearing Company and Central Depository Company (SROs), to review and discuss the stock market situation, risk management and business continuity.
Apart from this, the departed week observed a number of important developments in terms of economic and public policy which include:
On Friday, Turkey showed its keen interest in signing a sustainable and long-lasting Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan to achieve win-win results for both countries.
On Thursday, the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) fixed minimum support price for wheat at 1,400 rupees per forty kilograms, to ensure parity in wheat prices throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the meeting of NFC Monitoring Committee also convened on the same day to seek approval of the bi-annual report on the implementation of the NFC Award for the periods of July –December 2018 and January – June 2019 and the establishment of the National Tax Council (NTC).
Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance denied a news report, published in a section of the press, suggesting and insinuating a Rs100 billion cut in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the current fiscal year.
In view of revamping country's economy by increasing exports, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting of Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2020-2025 and Textile Policy 2020-2025 in Islamabad.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad after the groundbreaking of construction of 20,000 housing units in seven projects, said that to facilitate construction sector, the construction of houses will be undertaken by the private sector and the government will provide it full facilitation in this task.
Moreover, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet approved a proposal by Power Division for a special relief package of Rs 20 billion to further continue provision of subsidized electricity until June 2020 to five export-oriented sectors.
The same day, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile and Industry, Abdul Razak Dawood said that Pakistan is planning to remove duties on many raw materials used by exporters. In an interview given to Bloomberg, the Advisor said that a cut in duty on exports is imperative to help Pakistani products be competitive.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister Imran Khan directed for comprehensive planning and strategy with mutual coordination of all the concerned departments to bring a reduction in costs of petroleum products to provide all possible relief to the people.
On Monday, SBP informed that its Monetary Policy Committee will meet on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, to decide about Monetary Policy for the next two months.
In addition, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) on Monday notified revised prices of Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) for the SSGC and SNGPL as per which there is $ 0.17 per mmbtu (Million British Thermal Unit) increase in the sale price of imported RLNG on the system of Sui Southern Gas Pipelines Company (SSGC) and $ 0.16 per mmbtu surge in the sale price of imported RLNG on the system of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Company Limited (SNGPL) for the current month as compared to the corresponding month.
Lastly, Pakistan Expo 2020 in Dubai got $14 million funding from UAE and will be fully operational in July with construction work underway at a very fast pace, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UAE, Ghulam Dastgir, said.
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