In a landmark development for the capital market, Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) signed an agreement with Karandaaz whereby Technical Assistance (TA) grants would be given to prospective companies to be listed on the GEM Board. The agreement was signed by Mr. Farrukh H. Khan, MD & CEO PSX, and Mr. Waqas ul Hasan, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan (KRN), at a gong ceremony held at the Exchange.
In an effort to promote the GEM Board to eligible SMEs, PSX approached KRN to facilitate small businesses in raising much-needed capital for the growth of their business. With the signing of this Agreement, PSX and KRN have joined hands to aid the eligible small to medium-growth enterprises in their quest to list on the GEM Board by making grants available to them.
Speaking at the occasion, the MD & CEO of PSX, Mr. Farrukh Khan, stated, “Today we mark an important day for the enhancement of Pakistan’s capital market whereby we are facilitating and supporting eligible small to medium growth enterprises to list on PSX’s GEM Board. Given that cost plays a significant role in the decision-making of the small enterprises to list and raise capital, this agreement sets the ball rolling for a grant to cover part of the listing expenses for 5 eligible growth enterprises to list on the GEM Board. Hence, this will reduce the cost of raising capital for these companies. This Agreement is the culmination of the joint initiative of PSX and KRN to promote and support the SMEs to raise capital and grow their businesses by listing on the GEM Board.”
He further stated, “The signing of the agreement is a harbinger of what’s to come in the growth story of the GEM Board, its listed companies and the capital market as a whole. While we are materially going to support eligible companies to list on the GEM Board, this agreement sets the pace and lays the foundation for further cooperation between PSX and corporate organizations to support and encourage smaller growth enterprises to list on the GEM Board.”
The CEO of Karandaaz, Mr. Waqas ul Hasan, highlighting the role of Karandaaz in SME financing and the importance of the partnership between Karandaaz and PSX in opening financing opportunities for businesses, added “Karandaaz mission is to foster economic growth and create jobs through financial inclusion of unbanked individuals and unserved enterprises. It has provided financing to 850,613 MSMEs through various financing instruments, resulting in supporting 1,006,930 jobs, and cumulatively generated incremental revenue of PKR 199 billion for these MSMEs. Our partnership, therefore, with PSX for supporting SMEs to enlist on GEM Board is in line with our broader mission of helping SMEs access private capital for growth. I am confident our funding will help PSX in creating a strong pipeline for GEM listing and developing it as a robust channel for eventual listing on the main board.”
Jo Moir, Development Director at the British High Commission, said that “the UK Government had been pleased to support the initiative through Karandaaz, adding ‘The GEM project allows SMEs access to finance on the capital markets, enabling them to grow and fulfill their potential. In this way, SMEs can become the engine of growth for Pakistan’s economy“.
In her concluding remarks, the Chairperson of KRN and PSX, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, who played a critical role in fostering the GEM partnership between KRN and PSX, highlighted, that “KRN brings to PSX its a unique edge and potential to unlock GEM challenges as it has evolved a broad-based eco system and SME finance institutional architecture and PSX over the last year succeeded in operationalizing its GEM Board as tested by a listing of few companies. Moving forward, grant support of KRN to position enterprises for listing will open avenues for equity and debt. Listed companies would be elevated to an exclusive league within the SME segment that has demonstrated institutional maturity and ambition and prospects for growth.”
She further stated, “These business characteristics are essential for entities that aspire to mark the business landscape of the country with unparalleled growth performance and venture into international markets. Attracting new listings on the GEM Board is a strategic priority of the exchange. I must acknowledge that creating momentum in a market for smaller firms, such as GEM Board, will be challenging, but the potential rewards for both the exchange and the economy, in general, will make the effort worthwhile.”