Pakistan: Companies Act 2017 passed by Senate

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On 15 May 2017, the Senate approved the draft Companies Bill, 2017, replacing the Companies Ordinance 1984. The Bill aims to facilitate procedures for the country’s business sector and discourage fraud, money laundering and terror financing.

Previously, on February 6, 2017, the National Assembly approved the Bill and referred it to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Statistics, Economic Affairs and Privatisation for consideration and report.

The major changes to the draft Companies Bill, 2016 approved by the Parliament include various measures to ensure ease of doing business for investors; exemption from various regulatory requirements for small-scale businesses; streamlining the provisions for beneficial ownership of companies; permitting a simple one-page memorandum of association while allowing all permissible business activities; and measures to improve corporate governance practices including representation of female directors on the boards of public interest companies, representation of disabled persons in such companies, measures for enhanced transparency and timely disclosures for protection of stakeholders’ interests.

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