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Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Aamir Khan Saturday shared the roadmap for SECP's end-to-end digitalization for encouraging new startups and investors through improved access to finance, ease of doing business, reducing costs of business and SECP's integration with provincial governments for single step registration with all departments.

The chairman SECP was addressing the SECP's two-day Registrars Conference, which began here on Saturday. This year the conference theme is "Winning the Business Trust" where SECP's registrars from across the country shall deliberate upon improving compliance with companies law, advancing e-services initiatives, setting new benchmarks for ease of doing business and digital transformation of Company Registration Officers (CROs).

The topics of discussion also include enforcement of AML/CFT regulations, e-services integration with provincial departments, evolving new global practices, and digitalization of CRO's regulatory procedures under SECP's flagship project "Leading Efficiency through Automated Prowess - LEAP" within two years.

In his inaugural speech, the SECP Chairman Aamir Khan said that registrars are the face of SECP and their work, approach and behavior should be reflective of a model public sector organization.

"Our next target is to integrate our system with provincial governments so that single step registration with all departments can be made. We are also playing a major role in establishment of Secured Transaction Registry," the SECP official said.

The SECP has signed an agreement with Karandaaz Pakistan, being the implementation agency, to execute this project. It is expected that the project will be implemented within 2-3 years, in three stages i.e. launch of Secure Transaction Registry (STR), introduction of Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) and end-to-end digitalization of all internal and external regulatory approvals.

He underlined that Pakistan is fast moving into an era of transformation for laying the foundations of a transparent, digital and equitable economic landscape. Khan emphasized that in line with the government's agenda, the SECP has a vital role to facilitate businesses and investments, and encourage new startups.

This can be achieved through further amending SECP procedures to provide facilitation, reducing cost of doing business, and through provision of maximum guidance and information to the customers.

Aamir underscore the importance of Secure Transaction Registry (STR) and introduce of Extensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) under LEAP as game changer for access to finance and much needed data analytics.

"The SECP, as an apex regulator, should be deeply focused on how it can support in improving access to finance, ease of doing business and reducing costs of business. To help start small businesses, we should work to operationalise Secured Transaction Registry that will immensely improve access for finance for small businesses," said the chairman SECP.

SECP Commissioner for Corporatization and Compliance Department, Shaukat Hussain said that besides modernizing its corporate registry, the SECP has recently undertaken a series of reforms for providing ease of business registration. These reforms and technological development have led to 39% increase in company's incorporation in 2018-2019, while over 90% companies incorporated online, he added.

Due to the dedicated efforts of the SECP, Pakistan has jumped 58 points in starting a business (from 130th to 72nd) ranking. As a result of reforms, the number of incorporated companies is increasing day by day, and presently stands at 113,000 incorporated companies.

"We are planning to establish dedicated customer facilitation centers to facilitate startups and accelerate the registration of companies. It would help improve documentation of the economy and create more jobs opportunities," he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019