A ground-breaking event took place at the Ontario Investment and Trade Centre (OITC) in Toronto – titled “Pakistan, the Long View”. The event was dedicated to Pakistan and the Pakistani Stock Exchange (PSX), co-hosted by the Canada-Pakistan Business Council (CPBC) and the Ministry of International Trade (MIT). Mr. Akhil Tyagi, the Ministry’s Area Manager Asia/AustralAsia, International Programs Division opened the conference, speaking about the role of the government of Ontario, economic development, cooperation and highlighted that they did not only consider themselves as co-hosts with the CPBC but were “supporters for all time”.
Mr. Samir Dossal, President of the CPBC took the stage and set the tone of the event, which was excitement and anticipation. Highlighting the positive inter-governmental developments that had occurred previously, he added that 2018 would be a very good year for Canada-Pakistan relations. He recounted that in the past four years trade between Canada and Pakistan had increased from around C$400 million to nearly C$1.44 billion. Canada Pakistan Business Council was honoured to have played a role in strengthening the economic relations between the two countries. He expressed his excitement that Canadians were contributing to Canada Pakistan relations as both the previous managing director of Pakistan Stock Exchange, Mr. Nadeem Naqvi, and the incoming Managing Director, Mr. Richard Morin, are both Canadians.
Mr. Naqvi highlighted the progress that the Pakistani economy had made over time and encouraged Canadian companies to look at business and investment opportunities in Pakistan. He read the message of Pakistani Consul General Mr. Imran Ahmed Siddiqui unable to attend due to personal reasons, highlighting the importance of the stock exchange and putting confidence in the incoming CEO of the PSX.
Mr. Muneer Kamal, Chairman of the PSX, and former Chairman of the National Bank of Pakistan, tuned-in from Pakistan. Mr. Kamal gave the outline of how the PSX reached where it was now amidst Pakistan’s history, geopolitics, and the challenges the country had faced domestically and internationally.
Mr. Kamal highlighted the positive socio-political and economic developments which led to the continuing stabilization and normalization of the country. He furthered explained the transition of the Pakistani stock exchange that occurred in recent years wherein it was turned into a demutualized public company, consolidating three of Pakistan’s exchanges – Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi – into one and finding strategic buyers for 40% equity stake in PSX from China consisting of China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFEX), Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange. A significant development was Pakistan being reclassified into MSCI Emerging market Index in June 2017. These developments promised a very different and successful capital market in the coming years.
Mr. Naqvi highlighted the growth of the middle class as a favourable business opportunity and the positive impact of CPEC on the local economy, employment and incomes was likely to be a game changer in Pakistan. He spoke on the long-term outlook for the Pakistan economy in terms of its locational advantages, attractive demographics of 200 million population, its markets, and resource base. It would be vital to notice rapid urbanization, the middle class, already 40 million strong and the rising consumer spending; the undocumented economy which was estimated to be 50% of the officially documented economy and intertwined with lack of financial sector penetration in rural areas and limited product choices. As a result, he estimated that while the official GDP was US$320 billion in 2017, the effective GDP was nearer US$480 billion and expected to reach US$600 billion by 2020. Already, real GDP growth was on track to achieve 6% in 2017-18 after having grown by over 5% in 2016-17.
Mr. Naqvi stated that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative by the Governments of China and Pakistan envisaged US$60 billion investments into infrastructure and power sectors over the next 15 years. UK and EU businesses are participating in a host of industries, Mr. Naqvi brought to attention the immense opportunities within the US$74 billion international trade of Pakistan for Canadian companies were there to export goods to and invest in Pakistan and the potential opportunity for Canada therein, discoverable through platforms such as CPBC.
Mr. Richard Morin, the incoming Managing Director of the PSX, who hails from Montreal, spoke at length about his background and experiences. With his experience in the Montreal Stock Exchange and other exchanges in Africa, he saw immense opportunities as well as some challenges that he expected to face while in Karachi. He was very positive about developing the market in Pakistan and turning it into a strong and successful exchange. His vision to advance the PSX to the next level was highly ambitious and concrete with primary focus on investor protection, raising the investor base with secure and trusted investment options and bringing private businesses to list on PSX.
The highlight of the event was when Honorable Dr. Reza Moridi, the Minister of Research, Innovation, and Science, Government of Ontario, announced that he would be visiting Pakistan in the near-future. He spoke about the potential for business and investment for both Pakistan and Ontario and how ties should be strengthened and promoted for the betterment of all parties. He noted the importance of the CPBC and MIT and greatly appreciated their efforts in enhancing Trade and bilateral relations. He thanked both for organizing this event. CPBC is honored that Dr. Moridi announced his visit at our CPBC Forum.
DR. REZA MORIDI ANNOUNCES VISIT TO PAKISTAN IN FEB 2018
Mr. Samir Dossal delivered the vote of thanks, acknowledging Dr. Reza Moridi, Senator Salma Ataullahjan, Mr. Imtiaz Seyid of RBC and other attendees and participants individually, and concluded that the PSX was in good hands with Mr. Morin and TEAM PSX and that 2018 would be another exciting year. Mr. Dossal welcomed the visit of Dr. Moridi to Pakistan and extended full support.
Thank you TEAM CPBC, its Directors, Advisors, Sponsors, Members, and Volunteers for making this a successful event. Credits to Hasan Siddiqui for this report.