KPK Finance Minister visits Pakistan Stock Exchange

KARACHI: Minister for Finance of Government of KPK, Mr. Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra visited the Pakistan Stock Exchange to open the trading session with the gong ceremony, a press release issued by PSX said.

After the ceremony, the minister said he was looking forward to fruitful discussions with PSX team for the role PSX can play in the economic development of KPK province and how KPK can assist the capital market and the Exchange in its efforts to increase its activities in the province.

On its part, PSX has been focusing on development and promotion of the capital market not only in Karachi but also in other cities including KPK province.

Several investor and industry awareness sessions about capital market, investment basics and equity investment have been held in collaboration with brokerage firms, chambers of commerce & industries and educational institutes of several cities of KPK province.

PSX has also signed MoU’s with several chambers of commerce & industries of KPK province for awareness of investors and for companies to understand the benefits of being listed. These Chambers of Commerce & Industry include Sarhad Chamber of Commerce & industry (Peshawar), Abbottabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mardan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Mardan), Mansehra Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Haripur Chamber of Commerce & Industry. In this regard, Mr. Jhagra extended full support and invited PSX teams to continue their work in KPK.

In the discussions held between PSX and the Finance Minister of KPK, the importance of alternative revenue generation sources for KPK was discussed.

Mr. Farid Alam said that development can take a faster pace in KPK if large scale projects such as dams & electricity generating plants can be developed and these projects be listed on the exchange.

Thiswill result not only in capital formation but will also attract local investors to invest in the said projects on account of their proximity to the local culture and economy.

He further observed that for mega projects such as the LNG distribution project, Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) should utilise alternate and additional sources of funding to materialise the said project(s).

The Minister took this suggestion positively and promised to look into the possibilities of developing a plan that can help capital formation this way in the province.

Mr. Sulaiman Mehdi, Chairman of PSX Board, added that now is the right time to proceed with such initiatives because the Government is already planning to privatise two mega RLNG power plants i.e. Balloki of 1,275MW in district Kasur and Haveli Bahadur Shah of 1,276 MW in district Jhang. He added that other power projects should be considered for listing which are already being looked at for privatisation. Mr. Sulaiman Mehdi added that certain business groups are also interested in private investment in mining and other business sectors and that such a private-public partnership model can be used for mega projects in KPK.

Mr. Ashraf Bawany, member BOD PSX, adding the example of Balochistan suggested that the mine owners have to understand the business angle well and that the local community should be supportive of the initiative in the said sector. For this purpose, KPK Government can play a role in bringing together the owners and the companies to a workable model. Initially the Government can play the role of hand holding and bringing the corporate sector and the local communities together He added that the Engro model can be reviewed as a case wherein the corporates/ business community provides development and a social-net to the local community while the local community is trained to work at the local projects and mines. In terms of development of mining and other sectors in the province, the Minister put forward a question to PSX team as to what legal reforms can be undertaken to hasten the process of development and progress on priority in the province.

To round up the discussion on (hydro) power projects and mining, Mr. Taimur Jhagra said that these two projects can be the proverbial cash cows in the province. Hydro-power projects may be at a different scale but mining is a definite sector where investment opportunities by the private sector will be explored. He added that mines in FATA are untapped and provide huge potential for exploration for industrial growth and job creation. He emphasised that despite the fact that FATA was a frontier region, economically and physically, if it were brought into the mainstream economy of the country, supported by project development and investment in the people of the region, this region will progress and stabilise well with the passage of time. It is not an impossible task and given that the Pashtuns are the most integrated of all ethnicities of the country, therefore this may well be a realizable goal, he added.

Mr. Jhagra said that investment in the province must come in for infrastructure development and for increasing labour productivity through vocational training and skillset teaching and this is a main objective for him. He added that he would welcome suggestions from PSX for raising funds for these kinds of projects. He added that his focus was on educational initiatives as well as vocational and skill based trainings. “It is very important to develop the vocational and technical skills of the people of the province and the Government will do all it can to support such initiatives so the people of KPK can realize their passion and potential to achieve a lot in the medium term”, he said.  

The Minister for Finance of KPK, Mr. Taimur Jhagra, credited the Prime Minister for encouraging initiatives for tourism development in the province. Mr. Jhagra said that KPK province was on the road to develop many tourist spots and cities to attract tourism. He added that tourism is an exciting venture for the KPK Government and will offer immediate revenue streams to alleviate the cash flow position to some extent.  The Finance Minister added that in order to develop tourism in the province, Swat Expressway will be built which will be a game changer for tourism in KPK. The PTI-led coalition government has prioritised tourism as a key engine of provincial economic growth. KPK wants to become a preferred tourism destination for domestic as well as foreign tourists. Various departments are being briefed and prepared to streamline their goals in line with the needs of tourism promotion. The provincial government recently handed over 15 rest houses to the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) for commercial use, the Minister said.

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