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ISLAMABAD: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) registered 1,401 new companies in March up 22 per cent compared to March, 2018.

The increase in registration is mainly attributable to various reforms introduced by the regulator such as introduction of simplified combined process for name reservation and incorporation, reduction of incorporation fee, assistance provided by facilitation wings of company registration offices for incorporation and one window facility for company incorporation and national tax number generation among others, said the SECP press release.

Around 72pc of the companies were registered as private limited companies, 24pc as single member companies and 4pc as public unlisted companies, non-profit associations, foreign companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs).

According to the press release, around 54 new companies received foreign investment from Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Libya, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, Spain, UAE, and the US.

The trading sector took the lead with the incorporation of 202 companies, construction with 171, information technology with 151, services with 143, tourism with 141, food and beverages with 60, real estate development with 52, corporate agricultural farming with 51, education with 44, marketing and advertisement with 37, transport with 36, textile with 33, engineering with 32, pharmaceutical with 21, healthcare with 19, lodging and allied with 18, power generation, and chemical with 17 each, auto and allied with 16, fuel and energy with 15, communication with 14, mining and quarrying, and steel and allied with 13 each and 85 companies were registered in other sectors.

The highest numbers of companies, around 532, were registered in Islamabad, followed by 375 and 252 companies registered in Lahore and Karachi respectively. The CROs in Peshawar, Multan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Faisal­­a­bad, Quetta, and Sukkur registered 94, 59, 34, 28, 23 and four companies respectively. As a result, the number of total registered companies in the country has reached 97,916.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2019