ISLAMABAD - As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has stopped the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan from registering international non-government organizations; the INGOs would now require electronic registration with Ministry of Interior and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Economic Affairs Division before working in Pakistan.

“The SECP has initiated action against 23 out of 33 registered INGOs for striking off their names under Section 439 of the 1984 Companies Ordinance”, said Muhammad Siddique, Registrar of the SECP Law Division, while talking to media here on Thursday. He informed that the government has changed the process of registering INGOs, as now they would have to go through an electronic registration with Ministry of Interior and then sign an MoU with the EAD for functioning in the country. The prime minister has recently directed the SECP not to register any INGO with itself for indefinite period, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman SECP Zafar Hijazi said that they would write a letter to the State Bank of Pakistan to freeze the accounts of these 23 INGOs, as their names would be struck off after failing to comply with the SECP rules and regulations.

The 23 INGOs have failed to file their audited accounts despite several notices and are, therefore, presumed to be dormant. The 23 INGOs included Al Ehya trust, Albion Pakistan Inc, American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences, Association of National Development Finance Institutions in members countries of Islamic Development Bank, CAG Ogretim Isletmeler A.S. Education Development Center Inc. Global Partner, Global Relief Foundation Inc. Goal, HTSPE Limited, International Relief and Development Inc, Overseas Development Corporation, Pinnacle Education Services Llc, Registered Non-Profit Organization Jen, Save the Children Japan, British Council, International Development Organization, Third World Development Organization, War Child, World EDUCATION Inc, Cooperative Housing Foundations, HMD International Response and Human Concern International.

According to the documents provided to the media by SECP, of the total 643 local NGOs registered under Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984, 423 NGOs were required to get their licences renewed. Out of 423 NGOs, 193 companies had applied for renewal of license, 20 are state owned enterprises and the government has revoked the licences of 208 NGOs in last few months, as they failed to renew their licenses.

Addressing, the press conference, Chairman SECP Zafar Hijazi said that Pakistan has made significant progress in meeting international regulatory standards in the first ever Assessment Committee’s review of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

“It is an encouraging development for Pakistan, as the SECP as a regulator has complained about most of the IOSCO’s principles which will help boost investors confidence and have a positive impact on MSCI’s reclassification of the Pakistan Index from ‘Frontier Markets’ to ‘Emerging Markets”, next year, the SECP chairman said.

He further said, “Pakistan was the first country to volunteer itself for this review assessment. There will be also other rounds in December 2015 and in June next year to assess the reforms implementation process of the commission, and we are on the way to abolish the bottlenecks and stay compliant to the principles.”

The Review assessed Pakistan against IOSCO principles and declared fully complaint on 13 principles, broadly complaint on 10, partially complaint on 9, whereas in case of 5 principles Pakistan remained non-complaint.

Aggregately, Pakistan has succeeded to comply about of 62 percent of principles due to extremely dedicated efforts by the commission after recent completion of commission.

Created in 2012, the IOSCO Assessment Committee conducts Country Reviews of IOSCO member jurisdictions to assess their compliance against IOSCO Principles. The aim of these reviews is to assess implementation of the IOSCO Principles and Standards and to help identify gaps in implementation. Pakistan was the first country review undertaken by the IOSCO Assessment Committee.