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January 5, 2018

Govt plans public offerings of CPEC’s energy projects


January 5, 2018

KARACHI: The government plans to list power firms under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on the stock exchange, a senior broker said.

Rana Afzal Khan, minister of state for finance, held meetings with senior officials of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Thursday.

The broker, who attended the meeting, citing the state finance minister as saying that energy and power related projects under CPEC should be listed on the stock exchange under the government’s plan.

“This would enable ownership of the multi-billion dollar projects by public as well as help the bourse grow further.”

The minister did not share details, but traders believed that the government could utilise capital market to raise funds through issuing infrastructure bonds and equity offerings.

CPEC initiative envisaged more than $50 billion investment in major infrastructure projects over a 10- year period. Of that, energy projects are estimated at $38 billion.

The broker said the minister was quite receptive to the bourse’s taxation proposals and assured them that the proposals would be considered.

“Minister was convinced that stocks trading business was overtaxed and the structure should be rationalised, while tax base should be expanded to increase government’s revenue,” the broker said.

Muneer Kamal, chairman of PSX board said capital market improvement is in the interest of government as well as other stakeholders to boost economic activity. Kamal said the capital market “is face to the outside world and perception indicator of Pakistan”.

“The Chairman PSX Board enumerated various issues which are contributing to decline of capital market and expressed his confidence that government would be able to resolve these issues, with the assistance of persons in the ministry of finance,” a bourse’s statement said.

Arif Habib, chairman of Arif Habib Corp, said KSE-100 Index fell nearly 20 percent in 2017.

“Negative performance is primarily attributed to higher taxes alongside political and economic woes, thus resulting into a directionless market and foreigners’ outflows instead of inflows despite MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) upgradation,” Habib added.

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