The National Investment Trust Limited (NITL) of the government of Pakistan has also denied launching a Rs1 billion venture capital fund announced by President Arif Alvi in September last year at a tech conference arranged by PakLaunch to showcase Pakistan’s startups to investors, after a similar denial earlier by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
In September, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, originally quoted by President Arif Alvi as the government body launching the fund, had denied launching but said that the government was launching the venture capital fund under NITL, whereas SECP will only give approvals for investments.
Speaking to Profit, Adnan Afridi, the managing director of NITL, however, said that National Investment Trust Limited had not been approached by the government for any such initiative, nor was he privy to any such deliberations.
Confusion has ensued at government departments after the announcement by the president, with the SECP modifying its statement when contacted again by Profit after the denial by NITL. A spokesperson from the SECP this time said that the NITL was launching a social impact fund instead of a venture capital fund and that the president had misspoken during the event when he actually meant the social impact fund.
Speaking at PakLaunch’s inaugural conference held in September last year to showcase Pakistan’s startups to domestic and foreign investors, President Arif Alvi said that the government was launching a venture capital fund to support Pakistan’s startups. The president had said that Pakistan was the fifth most populous country in the world with a huge youth bulge, most of whom were educated and English speaking.
“The government is making loans available for the youth through the Kamyab Jawan Programme,” the president said, adding that besides the Kamyab Jawan Programme, venture capital was the only way these youth could be encouraged [to become entrepreneurs].
On the same note, President Alvi had said that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, which is the regulator of investments and companies, was creating a Rs1 billion fund to partner with other SECP approved venture capital funds to invest in startups.
Later, while speaking to Profit, the SECP said it was only a regulator, hence could not itself launch a fund. The SECP further conveyed to Profit that the fund would be created under NITL whereas their only job would be to give investment approvals.
“At the same time, another Rs1 billion venture capital fund is being started so that the startups can roll themselves into the market,” the president had said, without specifying if the second fund was also being launched by the SECP, any other government organisation or if it was a private venture.
Profit reached out to the president’s press secretary for comments but no response was received till the filing of this report.