‘Merger of stock exchanges should not be political’

Pakistan’s leading stockbroker and AKD Group Chairman Aqeel Karim Dhedhi said on Monday that the merger of stock exchanges should not be politically motivated otherwise the entire exercise of creating one stock exchange under the title of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSE) would become futile.

Dhedhi said that Pakistan’s stock market still remains fragile, however, it would flourish if the regulators play a positive role instead of harassing the investors and stockbrokers. He dismayed that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) is initiating unnecessary and uncalled-for inquiries against the stakeholders.

The AKD chairman pointed out that the stockbrokers are given respect elsewhere by the regulators. Regarding the Members and Investors’ Protection Fund (M&IPF), he said that there are issues to be resolved in this connection but SECP has nothing to do with Rs 4 billion M&IPF. “Members and Investors’ Fund is the members’ money and only they can decide about its fate,” he added.

He said that AKD securities’ has the honour to introduce most number of companies in the capital market. “The rule of check and balance has not been implemented yet, hence the Independent Power Plants (IPPs) are not being monitored and no one knows about their yearly performance, while on the other hand, the regulators are putting all the pressure on the members. SECP’s job is not to harass the stakeholders but to stabilise the stock market,” he added.

He claimed that there is no shortage of power in the country at present and if he is given a chance, he could eliminate load shedding across the country within 24 hours, adding that the government is not willing to tackle this issue seriously.

He said that the furnace oil prices in the international market are on the lowest ebb and running the power plants have even become viable on furnace oil. “If all the power plants start working, they can produce surplus electricity to the tune of 2,000 MW in addition to the country’s demand. No government has begged as much foreign loans as done by the present government,” he added.

He said that the economy is in real shambles as all economic indicators are showing negative trends. He pointed out that the agriculture sector, which is supposed to be the backbone of our economy, is on a disastrous course, adding that the price of a fertiliser bag has gone to over Rs 2,000 from Rs 800 while cotton prices have gone up to Rs 3,000 per maund from Rs 2,400.

He said that it is height of anomaly on part of the government that oil prices have dropped by 60% while electricity prices have become expensive by 30 percent. He expressed deep sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the earthquake and called for the business community to come forward to the rescue of the affectees.

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