Export Promotion Bureau to be split into two entities

KARACHI (April 11 2003) : Federal Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan has said that the government will promote issuance of bonds-related projects and would split Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) into two entities in consultations with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Humayun during a meeting with the members of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) on Thursday said that the policies adopted during the three-year period of President General Pervez Musharraf made several economic reforms and made a 'sea change'.

“I haven't seen in my life that the interest rates in the country are so low and, at present, banks are chasing clients, while couple of years back the situation was reversed,” he said.

The government, the minister said, would soon announce a package, which would be export-oriented and growth-related.

The minister said that the government has held several meetings with the ADB, formulating strategy to boost trade, especially exports.

Moreover, the government was likely to split Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) into two entities.

The main purpose of this bureau at present was facilitation of the trade and marketing of the products.

After the de-merger, the EPB would be available for facilitation as it would service the exporters and would have access in the government departments and concerned ministries.

It would transfer the Marketing Department to private sector and would hire independent experts in their respective fields.

The minister said that the government would promote private sector and state-controlled companies to raise money through bonds related projects.

The country now needed a better, efficient and effective infrastructure to promote trade, especially the exports.

These bonds would increase the activity in the capital market.

The government was well aware of the problems of the exporters in terms of refunds. Obstacles in sales tax refunds were slowly eliminating small and medium exporters, he added.

“We have to streamline the procedure and duty and tax remission of export laws should be amended.”

Moreover, the government through new package would establish import and export bank to facilitate the small and medium importers and exporters.

He said the ministry was also working on a plan to launch a federal fund for project financing. The fund would attract investment from private and public sectors.

Humyuan said that to reduce the cost of the industries it was necessary to lower electricity tariff to ensure level playing field to the local industries before they were being opened for global competition under the WTO regulation which would be implemented from 2005.

He said law and order situation was one of the major obstacles in encouraging fresh investment and boosting the investors confidence.

KSE Chairman Firozuddin Cassim in his address of welcome said that the stock market has shown tremendous growth.

The market has risen because of a couple of factors, including good governance, efficient marketing and introduction of several measures on macro sector like cut in interest rates, etc.

He said in due course the stock market would launch two indices one future related and another options trading. Moreover, the stock market was planning to float a fund, tapping the capital lying with the overseas Pakistanis living in the Middle East.

He said the main purpose would be to advise and convince overseas Pakistani to invest in this fund. Most of the investment of this fund would be the local stock market.

KSE Managing Director Moin M. Fudda said that reforms by the exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had boosted the confidence of the investors.

These reforms were independently managed by restructuring the board, responsibility of directors enhanced, quality audits, introduction of code of corporate governance, quarterly financial results, capital adequacy requirements for brokers and the blank selling laws have been changed to monitor short selling and strengthening of the risk management.

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