KARACHI, Sept 6: President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday called upon investment finance companies and development finance institutions (DFIs) to devise a plan for raising money through stock exchanges for building infrastructure projects in the country on build, operate, own and transfer (BOOT) basis or on the basis of build, operate and own (BOO).

The president tasked the DFIs whose heads were called to a special meeting to prepare in two weeks a workable plan for rebuilding the infrastructure devastated by flood.

The meeting with the heads of over a dozen companies in Bilawal House was also attended by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Law Minister Dr Babar Awan, Minister of State Mehreen Anwer Raja, Sindh's Finance Minster Murad Ali Shah, Salman Farooqui, Fauzia Wahab and Managing Director of ZTBL Zaka Ashraf.

The firms represented at the meeting included Pak Brunei Investment Company, Pak Kuwait Investment Company, Pak Libya Holding Company, Pak Oman Investment Company, Pak China Investment Company and Saudi Pak Investment Company.

Briefing the media, president's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the president urged DFIs to consider floating long-term bonds for raising finances for viable projects and set up one-window operation counters in each DFI for the purpose.

Raising funds through stock exchanges will regenerate the money market and also ensure wider distribution of dividend and benefits among small investors and ordinary people, he quoted the president as saying.

Mr Zardari laid stress on infrastructure projects in highways, bridges, railways, health and water sectors and also called for microfinance schemes to help poor people.

The housing sector also needed massive investment, Mr Zardari said, adding that nearly 1.4 million houses had been destroyed by the flood. He called for setting up a task force comprising of engineers, NESPAK and the House Building Finance Corporation to work out a rebuilding plan.

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