The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has released guidelines for the issuance of Gender Bonds (GB) to increase financial inclusion of women and encourage female entrepreneurship.
The guidelines, issued in pursuance of Section 172 of the Securities Act, 2015, aim to facilitate companies and issuers of debt securities to diversify their source of financing and provide an additional financial instrument to a particular class of investors.
As per the GB guidelines, all issuers who are eligible to issue debt securities, including sukuk bonds, either by way of public offer or private placement are eligible to issue the said bond, as long as ensuring compliance with the applicable regulatory framework.
The amount of funds raised from the issuance of GB shall be utilised to finance projects related to women uplift and economic empowerment such as, access to finance/credit; micro, small and medium-sized enterprise development; agriculture development; financial literacy and entrepreneurship training, disaster risk management; housing for low income segment of women etc. Like other debt instruments, such as green, social and sustainability bonds, a gender bond can have any type of financial structure as a general bond, a project bond or a securitisation scheme.