ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday held a meeting with senior officials of the Ministry of Finance to review progress on the operationalisation of Pakistan Development Fund (PDF) and Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC) as well as other initiatives introduced in the budget 2016-17.

The minister was briefed on the latest status of various schemes initiated. He directed that the formalities of operationalisation be completed at the earliest to make various projects functional within the first quarter of the fiscal year.

He said the government was pursuing the objective of economic growth, and these initiatives could contribute to achieving this objective.

Meanwhile, the newly appointed Ambassador of Argentina, Ivan Ivanissevich, called on the finance minister, and share with him the current profile of Argentinean economy and the challenges faced by the government, particularly those relating to the economic situation. He said that the challenges were similar to the ones faced by Pakistan a few years ago. He lauded Pakistan government’s economic achievements in the last three years and said that achieving an economic turnaround was a remarkable feat.

Dar said that it was due to continuing process of reforms in different sectors that Pakistan had achieved macro-economic stability and was now treading on the path of growth, infrastructure development and employment generation.

He said Pakistan would be happy to share its experiences in economic and financial management with Argentina.

He also assured the ambassador his full support and cooperation in the latter’s efforts for the promotion of economic and trade relations between Pakistan and Argentina.

Dar directs legal vetting of Companies Bill draft

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has directed Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) to formally submit the draft Companies Bill, 2016 to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Law for legal vetting and initiating the legislative process.

He made these remarks during a meeting with the SECP chairman and other SECP officials here on Monday.

The meeting was briefed on the progress made on the draft Companies Bill, 2016. The SECP chairman said on the occasion that a detailed consultative process had been undertaken with respect in this regard in the light of finance minister’s directives. “Keeping in view the valuable comments given by the stakeholders, the draft Companies Bill has been duly amended,” he informed.

He said that certain new concepts were also discussed including the provisions to ensure corporate transparency and facilitate meaningful due diligence whereby key officers and beneficial owner of the company would be required to disclose their Beneficial Ownership in local and foreign companies.

“Such information as reported by the company will be maintained in the company’s Global Register. Furthermore, for the prevention of fraud and money laundering every officer of the company shall be required to take necessary measures to prevent the commission of fraud and money laundering. Any failure on the part of such officer shall be an offence,” he elaborated.

The SECP, it may be mentioned, is also contemplating to introduce provisions regarding certain specialised companies, including Free Zone and agricultural promotion companies.

The Free Zone companies will be responsible for carrying out businesses in Export Processing Zones notified by the federal government.

The Free Zone companies will cater for Pakistan’s future export needs, especially in the wake of CPEC, which will potentially change the economic landscape of the country.

The Agriculture Promotion Company will provide impetus and support to the rural economy and by increasing agricultural produce and its management by facilitating warehousing, issuing credible warehouse receipts for agricultural commodity, stock and audit verification.

Dar directed that the new concepts be shared with the stakeholders, and only after exhaustive consultations the same is included in the proposed companies’ bill at a later stage.