Two Islamabad sectors to be dedicated for overseas Pakistanis

 Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar directed the Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to draft necessary regulation for the setting up of a Real Estate Regularity Authority to regulate the real estate sector on par with modern jurisdiction.

 He made these observations during the presentation by the SECP at the Finance Ministry on Monday. Senator Ishaq Dar said that the government had decided to dedicate two sectors in Islamabad where overseas Pakistanis could purchase plots of land for which payment would be made in foreign currency. The overseas Pakistanis, the finance minister said, should have the comfort that their investment was secure and the process was transparent.

 He said that the government was keen to develop the secondary debt market with particular focus on the retail segment. Trading of government securities at the stock exchanges of Pakistan would encourage participation of small and private investors. The increase in depth of secondary debt market would also contribute in the development of secondary corporate debt market, he added.

 The finance minister said that a vibrant secondary debt market would pave the way to development of primary debt market and channelising the savings of small investors to the government schemes through the stock exchanges.

 He said that although the government securities were being actively traded over the counter (OTC) market, the same was not visible at a single platform. The availability of trading data on a single platform would enhance the visibility of secondary debt market, thereby encouraging foreign investment.

 SECP acting Chairman Tahir Mehmood informed the finance minister that there had been an increase of 17 percent in the incorporation of new companies since 1st July 2013 as compared to the same period, last year. In addition nearly 2,000 companies which had been dormant for many years had recently regularised themselves by filing over due returns.

 Ishaq Dar said that it was reflective of the confidence of the business community in the pro-business policies and the economic initiatives taken by the PML-N government includingthe incentives scheme launched recently by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

 The finance minister was briefed about the progress made so for listing of T-Bills and Pakistan investment bonds in stock exchanges. He decided that T-Bills and Pakistan Investment Bonds would be listed, quoted and traded in the stock exchanges in February 2014 after completing the necessary legal and corporate formalities.

 Ishaq Dar appreciated the initiatives being taken by SECP in simplification of rules and processes to ensure transparency and facilitate the investor confidence. Meanwhile, the finance minister chaired a high level meeting at the Finance Ministry to accelerate the efforts of the government to attract investment in the country.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan, Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Umar and senior officials of the ministries of finance and foreign affairs.The finance minister said that the economic measures taken by government had led to the improvement of macro-economic indicators.

 Earlier, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called on Prince Karim Aga Khan and briefed him about the state of economy and the measures taken by the government to redress macro-economic imbalances inherited by the present PML-N government.

 Welcoming Prince Karim Aga Khan to Pakistan, he said that the government and the people of Pakistan acknowledged his contributions in the social sector with particular reference to Pakistan.

 He expressed satisfaction over the work being done by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) in Pakistan and expressed a keen desire to expand their operations in Pakistan. Islam, Prince Karim said, teaches to work honourably, earn and share it with the people.

 The finance minister briefed him that the PML-N government had inherited an economy with severe macro-economic imbalances and apprised him of the measures taken by the PML-N government to address them so that the economy could be revived and put on a path of sustainable growth.Prince Karim Aga Khan appreciated the PML-N government for increasing the allocation for social safety net from Rs40 billion to Rs75 billion.

 Prince Karim Aga Khan said that small and medium enterprises had critical role in the economy and welcomed the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme and that he would direct Habib Bank Limited to prepare a feasibility report.

 Ishaq Dar said that the PML-N government was working on different projects to add quantum generation into the national grid and invited Aga Khan to invest in the energy sector especially in the hydel generation as the River Indus had the potential of generating 90,000MW of electricity.

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