ISLAMABAD - Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman, along with Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) chairman, on Saturday, updated the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Ishaq Dar on the progress made on the divestment of 40 percent shares of PSX.

The minister was briefed on the expression of interest (EOIs) received from various national and international prospective buyers in relation to divestment of PSX shares, lying in a blocked account, to be sold to strategic investor(s) (SIs) and local financial institutions as required under the Stock Exchanges (Corporatization, Demutualization and Integration) Act, 2012.

Recently, the Divestment Committee of PSX’s shareholders, which was mandated to carry out the divestment, had extended the timeline for submission of EOIs till August 15, 2016 in view of recent developments, including Britain’s exit from the European Union, Pakistan’s inclusion in MSCI emerging markets and various important reforms witnessed by Pakistan’s capital market.

During the interim period, PSX is formulating a marketing strategy, to be implemented soon after Eid holidays, to present its case to local and foreign prospective investors.

Dar, on the occasion, reiterated that divestment process should be sped up and executed, keeping the view the national interests and development of Pakistan’s capital market.

Briefing the finance minister on the progress made on draft Companies Bill, 2016, the SECP chairman apprised about the extensive consultative process undertaken by the SECP and the quantum of feedback received from the general public, bodies of professionals and experts and the status of incorporation of new suggestions and concepts.

The provisions added to draft Companies Bill were discussed in detail by the finance minister with a team of SECP.

He appreciated the work done so far by the commission. The concepts such as exemptions given to the companies with lesser capital and inactive companies regarding audit and filing requirements, pleased him, in particular.

He expressed the hope that these concepts would go a long way in the documentation of economy.

Dar asked the SECP team to upload an updated draft of the Bill on website for receiving further feedback from the stakeholders.

He asked the SECP chairman to also introduce necessary provisions in the draft Bill to facilitate agriculture sector’s growth and the regulation of real estate business.

He further directed strengthening of the law to deal with the situation arising out of off shore investments issue in order to prevent frauds and money laundering in corporate sector.

Dar said that companies should be required to provide information to the commission about beneficial ownership of securities and properties abroad.

“The commission is to maintain a global register for beneficial ownership in this respect,” he said, and advised that the changing economic landscape, in the backdrop of CPEC and the establishment of free zones, be kept in view to attract maximum investment to the country.

He emphasised that necessary provisions in the new draft company law be inserted to support such endeavours.

The minister, while appreciating the efforts of SECP, directed it to upload the draft Bill, along with changes introduced following further consultations, on its website in order to receive more feedback.

He also directed convening another meeting after the Eid holidays to find out the way forward with respect to the draft Bill.