The Lahore Stock Exchange Board of
Governors has agreed in principle to the SECP amendment that the chairman of the
stock exchange should be a non-member. At an informal press briefing, Chairman
LSE Syed Asim Zafar and Managing Director Hamid Imtiazi spoke at length about
the issues as well as the initiatives undertaken at the Lahore Stock Exchange.
Talking about the impact of the
government policies on the stocks trading, Syed Asim Zafar remarked that the
contractionary monetary policy pursued by the economic planners for reigning in
inflation initially created a setback for business activity in the bourses, but
now things are stabilizing. He told that corporate earnings have improved and
the average turnover is almost Rs 70 million.
He also announced the plans to formally
open LSE branch in Multan. He told that after having encouraging response from
Sialkot and Faisalabad, the enthusiasm of the Multan-based trading operations
has prompted that decision. The opening of third branch in Punjab is an
important milestone, he added.
About international risk management to
be deployed at LSE, he made it clear that the assessments would be Lahore-based
and independent of any trends from Karachi. He also announced the introduction
of the stock index and sector wise indexes, besides LSE plans to initiate
training courses for common members, media men and general public.
The Managing Director LSE Mr. Imtiazi,
speaking on the occasion, said that almost 80 per cent of the turnover was
internet-based, meaning people do not have to come to the LSE physically and can
participate from their homes and workplaces.
Later talking to the pressmen, the MD
LSE made a special mention of the LSE stance towards SECP amendment that non
member should be the chairman of an exchange. He said that LSE has agreed in
principle with the SECP stance.
About the degree of market response
witnessed in Faisalabad and Sialkot, the MD LSE told that there were now 24
brokerage houses operating in Faisalabad and 12 in Sialkot. As regards the
formation of a unified national stocks exchnage, the MD said that SECP has left
that decision to the individual bourses, and if any such development takes place
the integration would not be a forced one rather that would be based on
consensus and voluntary participation.
FTA WITH THAILAND
As a part of signing Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Thailand and to increase the two way trade
volume up to US$1 billion level, a Thai delegation under the leadership of
Thailand Minister of Commerce, Dr Phaichit Viboontanasarm, is arriving in
The delegation has scheduled to land at
the hub of economic activities on Tuesday (December 20). During its three-day
stay in the metropolis, the delegation would hold meeting with apex trade
bodies. Later, they would take off for Lahore and remain there for another three
days for the purpose.
A source told that the delegation would
call on the office-bearers and representatives of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB),
Board of Investment (BoI), Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce &
Industry (FPCCI), Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and other
trade bodies of the industrial zones of Karachi.
Some 15 Thai companies' office-bearers
and representatives would comprise the delegation. During their comprehensive
meetings with their Pakistani counterparts, they would brief about their
products, including canned foods, auto parts and accessories, jewellery,
decorative items, charcoal products, textile and PVC products.
The source said that the prime
objective of the delegation was to pave way for signing FTA as soon as an
understanding develops between the two countries. Quick exchange of trade
delegations and holding of single country exhibitions at each other's soil could
speed up the proceeding.
The source referred to the earlier
visit of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to Thailand in mid year 2005, saying that
during their one-to-one meeting between the two prime ministers, they held talks
on all aspects for increasing trade activities and added that there were many
opportunities in many fields and sectors for investment and to start joint
ventures in both the countries.
Both the countries are keen to sign
free trade agreement and the high officials of both sides have talked many times
in this regard. There was a proposal that the two countries should have started
free trade in specific four to five items until the FTA was signed. The items
include Halal food, warm clothing and lobsters.
The two sides have also agreed to
increase the two-way trade volume to UD$1 billion this year. However, facts
revealed that trade between Pakistan and Thailand was only of $333 million and
it was in favour of Thailand, as Pakistani imports from Thailand were $269
million while exports were only of $64 million last fiscal year.
Thailand has made heavy investments in
infrastructure of Pakistan and there are huge opportunities for investment in
various infrastructure development works. Moreover, Thailand is also keen to
tender its services for developing Pakistan's tourism industry with its skilled
human resource in this particular sector. Thailand has very good experience in
tourism sector and it could help Pakistan promote this industry.
The source believed that the ratio of
return in Pakistan was much higher than any other country. "We should
create awareness regarding opportunities and potential in trade on both sides,
as the exchange of delegations could be helpful for this purpose," the
He was of the view that private sector
was ready to welcome the Thai delegation and to come forward with solid
proposals for increasing bilateral trade between the two countries and to
formulate a thinktank to work exclusively on the trade relations between the two