The role of the financial sector in the growth of a country's economy cannot be overlooked. The major components of the non-banking financial sector, ie the capital market, insurance and the mutual funds have not received much consideration by policy-makers in the past. These should be the priority areas for the Government, as they can serve as the main engines for generating long-term capital required for development of infrastructure and power sector in the country.
The size of Pakistan's non-banking finance sector and its contribution towards the GDP is meagre, despite the fact that our economy has a lot to offer to prospective investors - both domestic and international. A large segment of our general public is unaware of the investment opportunities available to them in the stock market, non-bank finance and insurance sectors. Accordingly, a very large amount of capital that could be employed in the development of our economy through investment in viable income generating projects sits idle.
While talking about development of the financial sector, there is also a need to ensure investor protection, which has become significant after the global financial crisis. Regulators around the world have now been focusing on investor education to enhance investor protection and avoid a repeat of the financial crises.
It is heartening to know that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) under the able leadership of its Chairman, Mr Zafar Hijazi, has embarked upon a capital market reforms agenda, and is playing the lead role in development of this sector. The launch of JamaPunji investor education web portal is indeed a praiseworthy initiative by the SECPto create financial literacy for protection of investors' as well as to raise their financial capability of making informed investment decisions. I am pleased to inaugurate this important milestone towards building investor confidence, ultimately leading to greater participation by the investing public.
The user friendly JamaPunji web portal will help educate and train the common people on how to choose the right investment option. Further, the portal will provide a single point learning resource for the existing and potential investors on financial products offered in the capital market, pension fund and the insurance industry.In addition, the web portal has many interesting interactive features for teaching the basics of prudent investing. Its presence on the social media such as Facebook and Twitter will appeal to our younger population including our students in schools and universities.I am confident that by educating Pakistan's general public and our youth, theJamaPunji web portal will help increase our savings rate and channel these savings to the development of our economy.