Karachi: Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) held a gong ceremony to formally welcome the Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, to PSX. The gong was struck by the Minister to open the trading day amidst the (virtual/online) presence of Chairperson PSX, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar; MD & CEO PSX, Mr. Farrukh H. Khan; PSX Board Members; key stakeholders and market participants, as well as business & industry leaders.

Welcoming the Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Mr. You Hang, PSX Board Member, stated, “On behalf of Pakistan Stock Exchange, I wholeheartedly welcome the Federal Finance Minister on his visit to PSX. It is indeed a privilege to have you here soon after assuming office. Your presence here today is a source of great comfort to us all, as it demonstrates your interest and support for Pakistan’s capital market and its development”.

He further stated, “The Chinese Investor Consortium wants to work in close cooperation with our local partners and shareholders, market participants and regulators to make PSX a model of successful foreign direct investment in Pakistan, which is a win-win outcome for foreign investors, local shareholders and capital market participants. In this regard, we look towards the Government of Pakistan and your leadership to support our efforts and provide us the opportunity to actualise our joint vision of making the capital market a real engine of corporate growth and a viable vehicle for investors to deploy their capital”.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Farrukh Khan, MD & CEO PSX, added, “It is an honour to have the newly incumbent Federal Finance Minister visit PSX. We warmly welcome Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb on his first visit to the Exchange after assuming office. His visit to PSX so soon after taking charge as FM is a testament to the government’s recognition of the important role the capital markets play in economic growth and documentation of the economy.

We understand the difficult economic decisions that will need to be taken by your government and assure you of our full support in achieving the government’s economic program and putting Pakistan on a sustainable path to progress. The market fully supports the difficult decisions that must be taken. As you can see, in response the stock market is trading at record levels”.

He added, “The Stock Exchange can contribute to the economic progress of the country and attract foreign investors if a level playing field and consistent tax & economic policies are put in place by the government. We also look forward to working with you on the privatisations and share sales that are planned. Executing them through the stock market will bring the needed transparency, help in price discovery and grow the stock market. To achieve this, it is critical that we all work together to improve Brand Pakistan and increase the size of our market on a war footing.”

Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Chairperson PSX, thanked the Federal Finance Minister for his visit and stated, “I congratulate the Finance Minister on assuming his office and look forward to working with him for further development of the capital market. Pakistan Stock Exchange has a strategic role in the entire capital market ecosystem of Pakistan. The current board of PSX has led the way to strengthen the governance, regulatory framework, and leading the technical transformation to unleash the immense potential and power of this platform”.

She added, “The importance of collaboration between PSX and the Ministry of Finance cannot be emphasized enough for fostering a conducive environment for capital market growth. We need a very strong interdependence and linkages between the banking sector and the capital market to lift the capital market. The power of any exchange lies in the diversification of capital generation. To meet private sector requirements, PSX facilitates IPOs, equity and different debt structures which help diversify the products offered by the banks. We are also trying to upgrade technology and digitisation of PSX. We believe the digitisation of the revenue system will have a very positive impact on PSX too as this will stop the haemorrhaging of the economy through the undocumented sector. So we need to move aggressively to unlock the potential of the Stock Exchange. Moreover, our vision and mission of the PSX board is to strive for the development of a Sustainable Stock Exchange. Last year, PSX has joined the league of Sustainable Stock Exchanges and engaged our stakeholders to conform to ESG standards. This is an important aspect that the Finance Ministry can showcase internationally to generate interest from foreign and institutional investors and drive foreign exchange inflows into the country. PSX board has been very strategic and has attempted to strategise and prioritise the development of the Exchange. PSX in the last six months has simplified its IPO processes and is now fast-tracking its approval. New initiatives are being launched to stimulate supply and demand for PSX business and products. Regulatory reforms are also critical and we have undertaken those as well. We have been able to foster an environment where investors can operate with confidence and trust. Joint supervision and inspections of PSX with other subsidiaries of the capital market are a breakthrough as I see it. Strong vigilance of regulatory committee which I have been heading and enforcement measures thereof have instilled integrity in the market practices that have promoted a fair and ethical environment”.

While outlining the government’s commitment to creating a more efficient, transparent, and investor-friendly capital market that benefits all Pakistanis, Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue, Mr. Muhammad Aurangzeb, said, “We are keen to focus further with the capital market to enhance market efficiency, transparency and investor protection. The Ministry of Finance would like to work with the capital market to outline strategies to promote capital formation, encourage listings, and facilitate access to capital for businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises”.

Moreover, highlighting the government’s openness to international collaboration, specifically mentioning China as a key partner, he also stated that: “We are actively exploring potential partnerships with international players, and China, a key economic partner, presents exciting opportunities. The Ministry of Finance is open to discuss avenues for collaboration with Chinese financial institutions and market participants to promote cross-border investment and knowledge exchange. This collaboration can contribute significantly to the development of Pakistan’s capital market and benefit both economies”.

The event presented the opportunity to the Federal Minister to meet with the top management of PSX, SECP, key stakeholders, market participants and business leaders. Matters impacting the capital markets, business, the current economic scenario and challenges thereof were discussed amongst the participants of the event.