SECP relaxes regulatory deadlines amid virus outbreak

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ISLAMABAD: To facilitate companies and businesses in dealing with the ongoing COVID-9 pandemic crisis in the country, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) relaxed on Monday the regulatory deadlines under the Companies Act.

Using its powers conferred under section 510 of the Companies Act, 2017, the commission has approved following relaxations in relation to compliance with requirements of the Act.

All companies which are facing difficulties in timely holding the annual general meeting (AGM) for the year ended on December 31, 2019, are allowed a general extension for a period of 30 days as provided in section 132 of the Act for holding their AGMs. The companies can now hold their AGM for the year ended on December 31, 2019 on or before May 29, 2020.

The companies, whose election of directors is due before or in the aforesaid AGM, may file impediment reports with the concerned registrar under section 158 (2) of the Act citing the reasons for delay in holding the election of directors.

Accordingly, any statutory return, which is required to be filed on or after 24th March, 2020 may be filed with the concerned registrar with the delay of 30 days of occurrence of any event without any additional filing fee as no penal action shall be taken for the late filing.

The SECP’s response to COVID-19 is focused on the health and safety of business workforce all over Pakistan and maintaining the continuity of the economic activity.

To ensure health and safety of all SECP team members, the commission has adopted a plan to operate with 50pc workforce from office and 50pc workforce from home on weekly rotational basis, effective from March 24.  Especially mothers who use in-house day care facility and employees with medical conditions have been asked to work from home.

The SECP’s Information Technology Department has completed arrangements to facilitate employees for work from home (WFH). Moreover, all such assignments, which are not urgent in nature i.e. trainings and employee engagement activities etc., have been suspended for the time being. All hearings by the Adjudication division would be done through Skype /VC only.

SECP has already adopted required precautionary measures to ensure safety of people and resist the spread of the coronavirus. These measures include closure of in-house gym, daycare and cafeteria, use of elevator for up to a maximum three persons at a time and ensuring social distancing in general.

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