KARACHI -  Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) for mutual cooperation and to facilitate access of equity financing to SMEs.

SMEDA General Manager Javed Iqbal Khattak and PSX Managing Director Nadeem Naqvi signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations. Abid Ali Habib, Member of the Board of PSX and Raja Hassanien Javed, Provincial Chief of SMEDA (Punjab) were also present on the occasion. Form Islamabad chamber, ICCI President Khalid Iqbal Malik signed the MoU while SVP Khalid Malik and VC Tahir Ayub were also present.

Pakistan Stock Exchange is finalising the launch of its Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Board – a platform for SMEs to raise equity capital to fund their growth and expansion needs. A public company with post issue paid up capital of not less than Rs25 million and not more than Rs200 million is eligible to get listed on the SME Board. To promote the SME sector and to encourage SMEs to get listed on the SME Board, PSX has endeavoured to make the listing procedure simple and easy. To reduce listing cost, listing fees of the Exchange have been capped at Rs50,000.

During the MoU signing ceremony both SMEDA and PSX representatives agreed that there is a dire need to promote small and medium businesses’ growth in Pakistan as these account for 80 percent of non-agricultural labour force while their ability to access bank financing is usually very limited, primarily due to high collateral requirements. A core objective of the MoU is to generate awareness amongst SME’s regarding the benefits of listing in terms of not just obtaining financing for growth but also to create proper corporate structure for long term business sustainability, improved branding, have greater credibility with buyers and suppliers and importantly, managing and growing family wealth in a manner that avoids conflict within families.

At the same time, to protect investors, a number of steps have been taken by PSX. For the SME Board there will be a lock-in period on the shares of the sponsors, ie sponsors would have to retain their entire shareholding in the listed SME for one year and, for the next two years, would have to retain at least 25 percent of the paid up capital of the SME.

The SME would have to prepare periodic financial statements and have them audited by a QCR rated chartered accountant firm and conform to simplified corporate governance requirements.