The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in May registered the highest number of companies in a month so far with 926 new entrants, an increase of 44 per cent as compared to the same month of the preceding year.

During the first eleven months of the current fiscal year (2016-17), it registered 7,688 new companies, an SECP press statement issued on Friday said. As compared to the corresponding period of last year, it represents a growth of 35 per cent.

The massive increase in the number of new companies was the direct result of various reform measures introduced by the SECP, including the reduction of fees, introduction of a swift incorporation process, assistance of incorporation by facilitation wings of Company Registration Offices (CRO), elimination of purchase of third-party digital signatures and introduction of simple and hassle-free CNIC-based user ID and PIN system for incorporation and post incorporation activities.

Around 86pc of the companies were registered as private limited companies, while around 11pc of the companies were registered as single-member companies. Three per cent of the companies were registered as public unlisted, not-for-profit associations, trade organisations and foreign companies.

The service sector took the lead with the incorporation of 136 companies, trading followed with 129, construction with 114, IT with 89, tourism with 57, engineering with 30, food and beverages, health care, and real estate development with 27 each, communication with 24, education and fuel and energy with 20 each, transport with 17, corporate agricultural farming with 16, lodging, pharmaceutical, power generation and textile with 15 each, cable and electric goods with 14, auto allied with 13, and 106 companies were registered in other sectors.

Moreover, 13 foreign companies were also registered by CROs in Islamabad, Karachi and Faisalabad.

Foreign investment has been reported in 75 new companies. These companies have foreign investors from, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, China, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Singapore, Turkey, the UAE and the US.

During the month, the highest numbers of companies, 338, were registered at the Islamabad CRO, followed by 268 and 165 companies registered in the Lahore and Karachi CROs respectively.

The CROs in Peshawar, Multan, Faisalabad, Quetta, Sukkur and Gilgit-Baltistan registered 46, 43, 33, 15, 5 and 13 companies respectively.