PM urges businessmen to capitalise on SIFC, explore opportunities in other regions

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

The prime minister, while addressing a ceremony held for distribution of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) Awards to top 25 companies of the country for the year 2022, said that 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 forum of SIFC.

Kakar told the gathering that the measures taken by the government, including the 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, the PM called for building and rebranding Pakistan.

He said the privatisation process was underway that would also have positive impacts on the country’s economy.

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 the businesses.

He emphasised the inherent responsibility of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), 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.

PM Kakar urged the corporate sector to explore opportunities in regions like Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Caucasus, and the unexplored around 1.3 billion African population. He emphasised the need to prepare for $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.

He said Pakistan, a 240 million nation with immense natural resources like four seasons, mountains, and others as well as the youth bulge, was destined to rise.

The prime minister said the award ceremony to recognise outstanding companies was a testament to cooperation between the government and the corporate sector.

He congratulated award-winning companies on their extraordinary performance, saying 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.

Emphasising the visible potential of the PSX, with a noteworthy gain in the last quarter of 2023, the minister highlighted the government’s collaborative efforts that enabled the swift stabilisation of the economy within a short period.

She stressed the need to harness the underlying potential of the PSX further and pledged the government’s commitment to sow the seeds for future growth.

She hinted at significant progress in the restructuring of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), 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, saying the PSX had made substantial inroads into Islamic finance which also got recognition from the market.

She said the country established an investor protection system as well as a robust appellate mechanism.

Started with the recitation of Quranic verses and the National Anthem, the awards ceremony was also attended by Sindh Governor Kamran Khan Tessori and caretaker Chief Minister Justice (r) Maqbool Baqar, besides a huge number of prominent business figures.

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