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SEBI splits post of CMD for listed firms

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New Delhi:In sweeping changes to the way the listed companies constitute their Boards, markets regulator SEBI has asked them to split the post of chairman and managing director and have at least six independent directors, including a woman.

The changes need to be put in place in phases, SEBI said, while setting a deadline of April 1, 2019 regarding the independent directors. The companies will have more time to split the CMD post, for which the deadline is April 1, 2020.

The move comes after SEBI’s Board in March accepted 40 of the 80 recommendations of the Uday Kotak panel on corporate governance. The panel had submitted its report to SEBI in October last year.

 

Among the new rules, SEBI has enhanced disclosure of related-party transactions and made mandatory secretarial audits for listed entities and their material subsidiaries.

Further, it has directed listed companies to have at least six directors and at least one of them needs to be a woman. Also, it asked the top 100 listed companies to webcast annual general meetings.

These regulations will come into effect in two phases. Most of the changes will be effective April 1, 2019, and April 1, 2020, the SEBI said in a notification.

Under the new norms, top 500 listed entities will have to ensure that the chairperson is a non-executive director from April 1, 2020. It will eventually lead to a split in the post of chairman and managing director.

The regulator asked top 500 companies to appoint at least one woman independent director by April 1, 2019. The current rules require that there must be one woman on Board, irrespective of her being an independent or executive director.

It also asked the top 1,000 listed companies to have minimum six directors from April 1, next year. A person will not hold directorship position in more than eight listed entities from April 1, 2019 and in not more than seven listed firms from 2020.

Further, SEBI said a person will not serve as an independent director in more than seven listed entities.

With regard to related party transaction, SEBI said any person or entity belonging to the promoter group of the listed entity and holding at least 20% stake in the listed firm will be deemed to be a related party.

Besides, shareholder approval will be needed for making royalty or brand payments to related parties exceeding 2% of consolidated turnover.

The new rules also cover issues in accounting and auditing practices by listed companies in order to improve effectiveness of Board evaluation practices.

SEBI also said companies will now have to disclose details about utilisation of funds raised through qualified institutional placement (QIP) and preferential issues in their annual reports.


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Saudi signs deals to invest USD 20 bn in cash-strapped Pakistan

Press Trust of India

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Islamabad: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have signed a slew of investment agreements worth USD 20 billion which will provide a welcome relief to the teetering economy of the cash-strapped South Asian country.

At a ceremony in the Prime Minister House, Pakistan and Saudi officials signed MoUs for bilateral cooperation in a number of areas a process overseen by Pakistan premier Imran Khan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who arrived in Pakistan on Sunday evening on a two-day visit.

“Today we signed MoUs. The amount of that kind of investment is USD 20 billion. It is big for phase one and definitely it (Saudi investment in Pakistan) will grow every month, every year in bigger numbers and it will be beneficial for both the countries,” the crown prince said.

 

“Pakistan is going to be very, very important country in the future and we want to be sure we are part of that,” he added.

Seven agreements, including MoUs in power, petrochemical and mining sectors, were inked as Prince Salman launched his diplomatic trip to Asia in Islamabad.

After Pakistan, the crown prince will travel to India, where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

He is expected to finish the trip with a visit to China on Thursday and Friday.

Prince Salman said Saudi “cannot say no to Pakistan, whatever you (Pakistan) want we will do.”

“For Pakistanis, this is a great day,” the Pakistani premier said while addressing a dinner reception held in honour of the visiting Saudi guests at the PM House.

He said Saudi Arabia has always been there when Pakistan needed friends.

“I want to thank you for the way you helped us when we were in (a) bad situation,” Khan told the royal guest, adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were now taking their relationship to a new level, where investment agreements would be mutually beneficial for the countries.

“The future is exciting for both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia after joining hands,” he said.

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Cement, fruit shipments from Pakistan among 10 most hit imports after duty hike

Agencies

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New Delhi: Fresh fruits, cement and leather are among the 10 main imported items from Pakistan that would take a major hit following the imposition of 200 per cent customs duty by India on products from the neighbouring country in the aftermath of Pulwama attack, say experts.

The top ten products exported by Pakistan to India include fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products, minerals, and leather. Processed minerals, inorganic chemicals, raw cotton including waste, cotton fabrics, and glass and glassware are also among such items that account for 95 per cent of the total shipments.

“After drastically hiking the import duty on goods coming from Pakistan, we will isolate them in front of trade. Hiking of the duty at this level would completely hit exporters of Pakistan,” Professor Biswajit Dhar of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said.

 

Sharing similar views, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai said that Pakistan would face significant impact due to this decision.

The two main items imported from Pakistan are fruits and cement, which attracted customs duty of 30-50 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively.

Domestic importers who have already placed their orders from Pakistan may face issues after this decision. They may have to pay the 200 per cent duty or undertake lot of paperwork to get their consignments, an industry source said.

Taking strong economic action against Pakistan following the Pulwama attack, India Saturday raised the customs duty to 200 per cent on all goods imported from the neighbouring country.

India’s imports from Pakistan had increased to USD 488.5 million in 2017-18 from USD 455.5 billion in 2016-17.

Hike in the duty would drastically increase the prices of Pakistani goods in Indian markets which would make them far less competitive as compared to other imported goods. Slapping an import duty of 200 per cent effectively means almost banning the imports from Pakistan.

Total India-Pakistan trade has increased marginally to USD 2.41 billion in 2017-18 as against USD 2.27 billion in 2016-17.

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

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India needs fewer but stronger, mega banks: FM Jaitley after RBI meet

Agencies

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressed the customary post-budget meeting of the central board of the Reserve Bank on Monday.

Post the meeting, Jaitley said India needs fewer and mega banks which are strong.

“India needs fewer and mega banks which are strong because in every sense from borrowing rates to optimum utilisation the economies of scale as far as the banking sector is concerned are of great help,” Jaitley said.

 

On interim dividend, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the central bank will take the decision based on the report by Bimal Jalan-led Committee.

Das also said that the RBI will discuss the issue of transmission of rate cut with bank chiefs on February 21.

Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank cut the benchmark interest rate by 0.25 per cent to 6.25 per cent.

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