PM urges business community to leverage SIFC

December 08, 2023

KARACHI: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Thursday, reiterating the government’s commitment to providing a favourable environment and streamlining regulations, urged the local business community to take advantage of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

The prime minister, while addressing the ceremony for the distribution of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) Awards to top 25 companies of the country for the year 2022, said the caretaker government’s ultimate goal was to provide a blueprint for the next government. He said the government had sought help from the Pakistan Army to facilitate the business environment through the SIFC forum.

Caretaker PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar addressing an awards ceremony to recognize the Top 25 Companies for their stellar performance at PSX on December 7, 2023. — INP

He told the gathering that the measures taken by the government, including crackdown on smuggling, illicit foreign currency trade and power theft, had yielded results, triggering market sentiments and propelling the Pakistan Stock Exchange by 33 percent in November to the historic 60,000-point mark, besides boosting investors’ confidence.

Welcoming the private sector to invest and take advantage of the government’s measures, he called for building and rebranding Pakistan. He said the privatisation process was underway that would also have positive impacts on the economy.

Kakar emphasised the inherent responsibility of Corporate Social Responsibility, urging businesses to adopt it as a moral obligation rather than mere rhetoric. He also urged business leaders to embrace digital evolution and collaborate with higher education institutions.

The prime minister urged the corporate sector to explore opportunities in regions like the Economic Cooperation Organization, Caucasus, and the unexplored around 1.3 billion African population. He emphasised the need to prepare for the $36 trillion trade activity expected to take place in China within 10-15 years. He encouraged soul-searching and improvement of approaches to envision Pakistan as the economic power of the region.

The prime minister said the award ceremony to recognise outstanding companies was a testament to cooperation between the government and the corporate sector. The prime minister, who also distributed awards among the top 25 companies, said the PSX mirrored the vibrancy of the corporate sector and highlighted the symbiotic relations between the government’s policies and the prosperity of businesses. He congratulated award-winning companies on their extraordinary performance and said such ceremonies would create a culture of healthy competition to inspire more firms.

In her address, Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar expressed the synergies between the Pakistan Stock Exchange and her professional journey. Emphasizing the visible potential of PSX, with a noteworthy gain in the last quarter of 2023, she highlighted the government’s collaborative efforts that enabled the swift stabilization of the economy within a short period.

She stressed the need to harness the underlying potential of PSX further and pledged the government’s commitment to sow the seeds for future growth. She hinted at significant progress in the restructuring of Federal Board of Revenue, assuring that tangible results would be evident before the departure of the interim government. The finance minister highlighted the government’s commitment to facilitating businesses and said the PSX had made substantial inroads into Islamic finance which also got recognition from the market.

Akhtar said the country established an investor protection system as well as a robust appellate mechanism. The awards ceremony was also attended by Sindh Governor Kamran Khan Tessori and caretaker Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqir, besides a huge number of prominent business figures.