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Indus Motor Company Chairman Ali Suleman Habib passes away

Prominent businessman and chairman of Indus Motor Company Ali Habib passed away at the age of 63, in Karachi on Friday. He headed the operations of the House of Habib, a business conglomerate that has several successful businesses functioning under its umbrella.

Apart from heading one of the country’s leading automobile companies, Ali Habib had also served as a Director on the management boards of Thal Limited, Shabbir Tiles & Ceramics Limited, Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited, Metro Habib Cash and Carry Pakistan (Pvt) Limited. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Habib University as well.

He was the founding chairman of the Young Presidents Organisation Pakistan Chapter, and chairman of the Pakistan Business Council. He was also a member of the Board of Governors of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust.

Ali Habib was a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, USA and also attended the Management Development Programme (MDP) at Harvard University.

Condolences pour in all over the country. Business magnate Arif Habib (no relation to the deceased) lavished praise on Ali Habib, saying that his death was a big loss for the nation and the Pakistani business community. “He was a fearless man who did not shy away from expressing his views in front of policymakers,” he said. “He was a nationalist who used to tell people not to discuss personal issues or problems and instead talk about national issues.” Arif Habib said that the deceased would be missed a lot as his contribution to business in Pakistan was immense. He said that Ali Habib had led the Indus Motor Company from the front and was a huge factor in its success.

Several politicians and other members of the business community also condoled his demise. Managing Director Soorty Enterprises, Shahid Soorty, expressed shock and grief at Ali Habib’s death. “It is truly one of the saddest days in our lives. [He was] one of the finest gentleman once you knew him… It’s a huge loss in all respects,” he said.

TPL CEO Ali Jameel described Ali Habib as one of his closest friends and said Habib University had been the deceased’s “greatest success”. “He was a great friend. [His passing is] a big loss for all the people around him and for the country. “He had many successes but Habib University was his biggest success. He had achieved everything in life and maybe it was his time,” he said.

Ameena Saiyid, former managing director of Oxford University Press in Pakistan, said he was “brilliant in his insights” and a “real gentleman”. “Deeply grieved. I used to meet him frequently as we were on the Habib University Foundation Board. He was brilliant in his insights and a real gentleman who was determined to provide world-class education to our youth. A great loss for Pakistan especially the youth,” she said.

Page Staff Condolence

Our thoughts and prayers are with the departed soul and the grieving family in this time of sorrow. This is a great loss of Mr Ali Suleman Habib and we remember him with our love and deepest sympathy and may the prayers of all people who love bring him right place in the arms of Allah Almighty.

UBL declared Pakistan’s best digital bank by asiamoney

UBL has been declared Pakistan’s Best Digital Bank for 2020 by Asiamoney, an associate of Euromoney. UBL, considered as one of the most progressive and innovative banks of Pakistan is the fastest growing digital bank in the country. The Bank has a dedicated digital design lab to accelerate its digital transformation strategy. The number of UBL’s digital customers crossed one million in January 2020 and its digital portfolio has grown three times over the last year.

UBL offers its clients a digital end-to-end on-boarding platform through which customers can use the Bank’s Digital App and become UBL customer while sitting in the comfort of their homes.

Mr. Sharjeel Shahid, UBL’s Head of Digital Banking, pointed out “The customers have become avid fans of the Bank’s digitalization efforts leading to threefold business growth in one year and the highest app stores customer ratings. This is driven by a two-pronged approach of enhancing customer experience on one hand while on the other hand introducing operational efficiencies for the bank.”

Ms. Sima Kamil, President & CEO UBL, said, “This award is testament to UBL’s contribution in expanding the scope of financial services through digital channels in Pakistan and spearheading innovation in the local banking industry. Under the current global scenario this recognition holds more meaning as the Bank aggressively promotes the use of its digital channels to keep millions of customers safe from Covid-19. We feel that such an accolade will further encourage us to endorse the digital platforms as the future way to bank!”

Going forward, UBL remains committed to investing in areas and technologies that drive the country’s economic development and contributing towards a more financially inclusive Pakistan.

Pak-Afghan border need to be reopened: Mian Zahid Hussain

FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel SVP, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said Pak-Afghan border should be reopened completely to avoid shortage of essential items and necessary raw material for the industrial sector.

Partial reopening of trade at both entry points is not serving the purpose as the traders from both sides of the divide are facing heavy losses, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that thousands of containers and men are stranded at both sides of the border with not a single reported case of coronavirus.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that border closure has to result in a shortage of different food items and raw material while uncertainty is hitting the business community.

The former minister noted that thousands of loaded containers on both sides of the border pose a security risk for the locals, therefore the area should be cleared.

He said that drivers and cleaners of vehicles are compelled to guard the merchandise while supply chain has broken which must be restored immediately.

The business leader said that how come the Afghan Transit Trade cargo can become a threat on border points when the same is cleared from the port in Karachi and allowed to transport it from Karachi to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that the exporters and importers are ready to pay the cost of disinfection if the government allows reopening of trade.

Standard Chartered – supporting colleagues, clients and communities

The Board and Management Team of Standard Chartered PLC “the Group”, alongside all of our 84,000 colleagues, are committed to supporting our clients, and the communities in which we operate, both through the current pandemic crisis and the longer-term support and renewal phase.

Given the underlying resilience of the Group, we are in a strong position to help. We have announced a number of measures to provide support:

• US$1 billion of financing for companies that provide goods and services to help the fight against Covid-19, and those planning the switch into making products that are in high demand to fight the global pandemic. We are seeing high demand for funding and have already approved over US$75m of facilities in the first week.

• We have put in place a comprehensive support scheme for retail and business customers, including loan repayment holidays, fee waivers or cancellations and loan extension facilities.

• A US$50 million global fund, providing assistance to those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Group will immediately donate US$25 million to support emergency relief in our most affected markets. The additional US$25 million will be raised from bank colleagues and directors, matched by the Group, to help communities to recover from the economic impact of the virus.

• The Group Chief Executive and Group Chief Financial Officer will make significant personal donations to the Covid-19 assistance fund. The Group Chairman, members of the Board, and the Management Team, will also make personal donations.

In addition, the Group Chief Executive and Group Chief Financial Officer will voluntarily forego any entitlement to a cash bonus in respect of 2020 performance.

The remuneration committee has committed to ensure that decisions regarding 2020 remuneration will be taken in the light of the Group’s overall performance and the challenges faced by the Group’s various stakeholders resulting from the spread of Covid-19.We are also providing support for our colleagues across the Group:

• No colleagues have been asked to leave the Bank due to the impact of Covid-19, nor do we intend to make any layoffs as a result of the pandemic. We have not furloughed any of our 84,000 colleagues across 59 markets, all of whom are working hard to support our clients and customers.

The Group’s leadership, and all of our colleagues, are clear that the trust in the Group is underpinned by our claim to be ‘Here for good’. We are determined to live up to our brand promise.

Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered, said:

“Our resilience means we can focus our efforts on supporting our clients and communities – both now, and through the longer-term renewal once this pandemic has subsided. All 84,000 of us know that at this time we are judged by our actions and our ability to prove we are ‘Here for good’.”

Mastercard extends access to its girls4tech program

Mastercard has extended access to its signature Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculum, Girls4Tech™, through a suite of new online, creative educational resources. The program has been designed to help parents and teachers engage and inspire kids, ages 8-12.

Through the newly launched website Girls4Tech Connect, as well as through activities made in collaboration with Mastercard’s education partner Scholastic, teachers and parents in Pakistan and across the globe can download lessons to help students learn about STEM topics from the comfort of their homes.

These activities are built on global science and math standards – and incorporate Mastercard’s deep expertise in payments technology and innovation – to enable children to discover a range of STEM careers, such as Fraud Detective, Data Scientist and Software Engineer.

Now in its sixth year, Girls4Tech has engaged more than 800,000 students across the globe through inquiry-based activities and real-world challenges, all with the goal of inspiring more girls to pursue STEM careers and reduce the gender gap in these fields.

“Mastercard is pleased to launch Girls4Tech Connect, a fun, engaging and motivating learning platform with plenty of activities and resources to encourage youngsters to pursue STEM disciplines from home. Mastercard recognizes the fact that we are living in a challenging era, which has propelled educators and parents to rethink and adapt to new and innovative ways of learning. Through Girls4Tech, we strive to encourage young ladies to follow careers in STEM fields, which is in line with our commitment to achieving gender parity across the region,” said Magdy Hassan, General Manager – Egypt & Pakistan, Mastercard.

“There is a growing need for more STEM professionals; and now, more than ever, it is crucial to empower both parents and students to enrich themselves by using helpful, engaging and interactive digital tools that are easily accessible. As students finish the academic year via distance learning, we encourage them to continue exploring the exciting range of potential careers they can pursue through STEM subjects in the hope of inspiring a new generation of young Pakistani innovators,” he concluded.

Beginning this week, new activities will be posted on a weekly basis at the Girls4Tech website, Facebook page and Twitter handle. Lessons are currently available in English, with additional Spanish and Chinese language content to follow in the coming weeks.

While all lessons are designed for students to work independently, materials are also available for teachers to guide online sessions.

Impact Highlights from the First Six Years

  • To date, Girls4Tech has reached more than 800,000 girls in 27 countries and on 6 continents.
  • The program has engaged more than 4,400 employee mentors worldwide.
  • Mastercard has partnered with Scholastic, Be Better China, Major League Baseball, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), R&A and YCAB in Indonesia to further scale the program and offer STEM skills in unique ways to girls ages 8-16.
  • As technology skills evolve, a new curriculum was launched in 2019 to give students deeper exposure to the growing fields of cybersecurity and AI – Girls4Tech Cybersecurity & AI.
  • Girls4Tech programs also extend to girls ages 13-16 with Girls4Tech 2.0, as well as a 20-week coding program, Girls4Tech & Code for girls 8-10.
  • To learn more about Girls4Tech and access the online lessons, please visit Girls4Tech Connect.
Mian Zahid demands package for paying utility bills, port charges more cut in interest rate

FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel SVP, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said the central bank should announce a package for the business community enabling them to pay their utility bills and port charges.

The money will save many from bankruptcy and the funds can be returned to the government by December, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that majority of the decisions of SBP appears to be in the right direction but the interest rate is very high which should be brought down to zero for the next three months.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said many countries have reduced interest rates substantially to deal with the pandemic and doing it in Pakistan will discourage savings, trigger inflation, erode exchange rate and widen the current account deficit but there is no other option.

The country is facing reduced production, low demand, stagnant exports while remittances can fall therefore boosting economic activities is the only option to provide jobs and boost revenue, he said.

The former minister noted that the exchange rate has been eroded by eight per cent in one month which has raised concerns but the situation in some other countries so worse for which credit goes to SBP.

Turkey has seen its currency going down by 11.8 percent, the exchange rate in Indonesia has been eroded by 15.4 percent, Russia has witnessed an 18.7 percent fall, Mexican currency has been weakened by 24.4 percent, Brazil 24.8 percent while the currency of South Africa has lost ground by 25.4 percent.

He said that investors have pulled back 53 billion dollars from the bond market and 31 billion dollars from the equities market of developing countries leading to forex crisis in these countries which can be resolved by developed nations and IMF through a coordinated response.

Majority of the developing world is facing loss of production, revenue, exports and remittances which must be resolved by rich nations or run the risk of widespread conflicts.

IMF needs to change its quota system in favour of poor nations and reschedule debt otherwise many countries will see bankruptcies therefore the demand of PM Imran Khan should be taken seriously by the global community.

Metro Pakistan stands with government in fight against Covid-19

With a high sense of corporate social responsibility, METRO Pakistan under its program “Care & Share” is supporting Government of Pakistan in the fight against Covid-19 by donating 2,500 high quality full body protective suits.

METRO Pakistan was the first one who responded to the need of personal protective body suits at different government hospitals. The donation was handed over to the local administration of Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and Karachi to combat COVID-19 by providing the first line of defense for health care workers against the virus and allowing the workers to continue attending the patients in hospitals and quarantine centers throughout the country.

METRO Pakistan believes that it is the time when everyone needs to play their part by standing together and taking initiative to support the government to win the national battle that is currently underway against this unprecedented pandemic so that we can all continue to operate with faith and pride, in a country we want to see progress.

MCB Bank donates Rs 5 million for distribution of food ration to needy families

MCB Bank, one of Pakistan’s largest banks, has donated a sum of PKR 5,000,000 to renowned NGO Jahandad Society for Community Development (JSCD) for distribution of food ration packs to needy families during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Mian Mohammad Mansha, Chairman MCB Bank presented a cheque for the donation to Dr. Hussain Jafri, Executive Member JSCD during a cheque handing over ceremony held at MCB House, Lahore. Mr. Ali Amir, Executive Member JSCD, Mr. Rehan Mujeeb, Program Manager JSCD and Mr. Hassan Nawaz Tarar, Group Head Security and Marketing Group were also present at the occasion.

JSCD has initiated a campaign to start distributing over Food Ration packages to daily wage earners, who are unable to earn their livelihood due to the ongoing lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus pandemic that has affected much of Pakistan.

Each Ration Pack costs approximately PKR 3,200 and contains essential items including flour, rice, pulses, sugar, ghee, salt, soap, tea, whole spices and a pack of cake rusk for needy families. JSCD is adopting 10,000 families for the provision of Food Ration during the lockdown.

JSCD is a credible non-governmental organization that was established in 2002 and provides a range of services in the fields of health, education and socioeconomic status of the underprivileged and marginalized people of Pakistan with particular emphasis on women and children.

MCB Bank, a Bank for Life, strongly believes in its corporate social responsibility and has undertaken numerous other CSR initiatives in the areas of education, health, environment and social awareness in the past. The Bank has made significant contributions to the welfare of charitable institutes and NGOs, including Edhi Foundation, SKMCH, Saleem Memorial Trust Hospital and Pink Ribbon amongst others.

 

Main Zahid lauds efforts of governor SBP under stressed economy

FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel SVP, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said coronavirus is digging a grave for country’s stressed economy.

Giving package to some sectors while at the mercy of the situation is not good policy as all sectors are interlinked that should be bailed out together, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that a very serious economic is looming which calls for a proper response otherwise the whole nation will face the consequences.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that millions of people have lost their jobs, majority of businesses and industries are facing lockdown, exports are sliding, and the situation has broken the back of masses but what we see is lack of planning and political will.

The former minister noted that international institutions are projecting a serious economic crisis but their actions have left much to be desired. There is an absence of a global unified response which has pushed different countries to deal with the problem in their own way. He said that developing countries are worst hit as they lack resources to withstand the shocks. The government should immediately formulate SOPs and reopen businesses to save masses from starvation.

Mian Zahid Hussain lauded the efforts of Governor SBP Dr. Reza Baqir and supported recently announced package. He said that Reza is doing a lot to provide relief to masses but the scarcity of resources is obstructing his initiatives.

He said that the government should immediately announce fifty percent reduction in interest rates and all taxes as well as duties, access of tax officials to bank accounts should be withdrawn while the NIC condition should be deferred for one year to infuse confidence in the business community. India and Bangladesh have announced a package over and above 16 billion dollars while here media glare precedes proper initiatives, he said, adding that economy cannot endure the problems and masses cannot get real relief unless a real package is announced.

Mastercard increases limit on contactless payments

Mastercard announced that it is championing efforts to increase contactless payment limits across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region as people look for safer ways to pay in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative is in line with recommendations from global and regional health authorities and governments to practice social distancing that has led a growing number of merchants to encourage consumers to pay with contactless over cash to avoid human-to-human contact.

Mastercard’s effort to raise CVM limits is one of many the company is leading to do its part for its employees, customers and cardholders. Most recently, the company announced a partnership with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust to accelerate the development and access to treatment for COVID-19 with the initial grant of US$20 million funding announced to three institutions to fund clinical trials.

Globally, Mastercard has been spearheading the transition to contactless for over 15 years. In MEA, the region saw 200% growth in contactless transactions. Today almost 1 in 9 Mastercard transactions at point-of-sale (POS) terminals in MEA are contactless.

“Mastercard remains committed to offering safe, secure, and simple payment solutions across the region. In the current environment, we are grateful that contactless payments are available so consumers can follow social distancing recommendations, and that people are embracing these safe and hygienic solutions as their preferred form of payment every day. Today’s announcement reflects the pace of those changing behaviors, offering consumers ease, speed and peace of mind in a rapidly changing world. We will continue to work with our industry partners to guide and support them through this effort,” said Mete Guney, Executive Vice President of Services, Middle East & Africa at Mastercard.

Khushhali Microfinance Bank and microensure offer free mobile health service to customers

To play its part to help contain the spread of coronavirus in Pakistan, Khushhali Microfinance Bank and MicroEnsure Pakistan have joined hands to provide professional medical advice through a mobile health service called smsDoc to all Khushhali Bank customers.

The service is an extension of their existing partnership and aims to both spread awareness of the virus and provide easy access to medical help online. This is an important step In view of the social distancing that is being enforced in the wake of an escalating health emergency.

smsDoc is a free-of-cost mobile health facility through which customers can seek answers to their medical queries via SMS. All they need to send an SMS “DOC” at 8331 for any medical help regarding COVID-19. Professional doctors receive these messages and then call back the customers to answer their queries and provide medical consultation. The service is particularly useful for customers in rural areas with less developed health care infrastructure, as it allows quick and affordable access to professional doctors. The initiative will also help to combat disinformation about COVID-19.

smsDoc has traditionally been a value added service offered to customers of Sehat Khushhali Plus, which is an affordable health insurance product Khushhali Bank offers to its customers in partnership with MicroEnsure.

KMBL is playing a responsible role to ensure the safety of its customers during the ongoing global crisis. Founded in 2000, Khushhali Microfinance Bank is a forerunner in the microfinance sector in Pakistan. As the largest microfinance bank in the country, Khushhali Bank has served over 5 million customers over the past 18 years.

Jazz contributes Rs50 million to PM’s Covid-19 relief fund

Pakistan’s leading digital company Jazz has contributed PKR 50 million to the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund, in line with its commitment to support the government in the fight against COVID-19. In a meeting that took place between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Jazz CEO, Aamir Ibrahim, support for those in need during these trying times was reiterated. The cheque was presented to the Government specifically for health relief and food rations.

As a VEON group company, Jazz was the first telco to make an announcement pledging PKR 1.2 billion for the pandemic and demonstrated the need for others to follow. The amount gives 61 million customers access to zero-rated helpline and funds for COVID-19 testing kits through the Shaukat Khanum Hospital. The pledge also gives the opportunity for a large population of daily wagers to receive food rations via JazzCash and CNICs. Pakistanis can seek and verify critical information on a COVID-19 portal under a #JazzCares campaign launched right after the pandemic was declared.

Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim said, “Having met the Prime Minister, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do our humble part in the movement to end COVID-19 using all the means we have. The modern weaponry against disasters has changed. Now we need a wide knowledge-base, a documented economy, access to data and high-speed internet access. We cannot permit the economy to pause just because of a physical lockdown anymore.”

The telecom industry as a whole has agreed to work collaboratively and improve digital technology infrastructure in the country to support disaster management; work-from-home human capital, education technology, and digital financial services.

The Jazz CEO gave a live demo to the Prime Minister on how to contribute to the National Pandemic Relief Fund using JazzCash. This gives access to 8M JazzCash customers to contribute to the Relief Fund from the convenience of their homes within seconds.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “I appreciate the Jazz initiative of establishing a public SMS voluntary contribution service. This service is now extended to all operators on the contribution SMS code 6677.”

An estimated 50 million are below the poverty line in Pakistan. With the health and economic crisis looming over 2020, this number is estimated to rise considerably amidst the mandated lockdown nationwide. The cheque presented by Jazz to the nation reflects the philosophy of sustainable giving – philanthropy and business continuity that continues over the long-term. Jazz is determined to continue collaborating with the government on its robust Digital Pakistan agenda, health, youth, and relief programs, providing resource support and advisory where required.

Jazz is working with a variety of partners to ensure quality and streamline relief efforts all over the country. The company and its management is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to evaluate new projects for providing timely assistance by utilizing its resources and expertise. Jazz has launched a unique portal for this purpose: https://jazz.com.pk/darna-nahin-bachna-hai

MCB Bank donates personal protection equipment worth Rs10m to SH&ME department

MCB Bank has donated Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) worth PKR 10 Million to the Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education (SH&ME) Department, Government of Punjab for Doctors and Medical workers on the frontline in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 disease poses great danger for doctors and paramedics who handle and treat infected patients. Due to this, there is immense pressure on the health sector and many healthcare facilities find themselves in the difficult position of providing sufficient essential protective equipment to their limited medical staff.

Mian Mohammad Mansha, Chairman MCB Bank formally handed over the donation of PPE to Dr. Yasmin Raashid, Minister Health, Punjab during a brief ceremony held at MCB House, Lahore. Mr. Imran Maqbool, President/CEO MCB Bank, Mr. Hassan Nawaz Tarar, Group Head Security and Marketing Group and other members of the MCB senior management team were also present at the occasion.

The donated PPE comprises of N95 Masks, Protective Clothing, Latex Examination Gloves, Protective Glasses, Head Protective Caps and Shoe Protective Covers. The consignment of PPE comprises of locally sourced equipment and imported equipment that is FDA/CE/CNS certified and approved.

MCB Bank, a Bank for Life, strongly believes in its corporate social responsibility and has undertaken numerous other CSR initiatives in the areas of education, health, environment and social awareness in the past. The Bank has made significant contributions to the welfare of charitable institutes and NGOs, including Edhi Foundation, SKMCH, Saleem Memorial Trust Hospital and Pink Ribbon amongst others.

Jazz supports 15,000 daily wagers via Edhi Foundation

Jazz has partnered with the Edhi Foundation for supporting food supplies to 15,000 people in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar. This food ration distribution campaign is a part of the 1.2 billion COVID19 relief package announced earlier for emergency health services, communicative services, and food rations that vulnerable communities need amidst the lockdown. The non-perishable food rations were distributed to families at the Edhi head office in Islamabad, with more distributions to follow in other cities. The food rations are to last an average family for about four weeks.

The #JazzCares initiative was launched early by the leading digital company to step up its support to the government services, including the strained health sector, and to assist with building economic resilience for the most vulnerable in society. The support includes short to mid-term initiatives aimed to limit the negative impact of the pandemic, especially in underserved regions.

“This is an unfolding and evolving situation for all of us, but one thing is certain, these are tough times for those who depended on open markets for their daily bread. These people have no alternatives given the lockdown. Our trust in institutions like Edhi enabled us to provide critical and timely relief,” said Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim.

With an estimated 60 million people living below the poverty line, earning less than USD 2/day, we must recognize that the time to act is now.

“We are open to all organizations stepping in to serve the network of people we serve and are happy that Jazz was among the first private organizations to reach us,” Faisal Edhi, Director at the Edhi Foundation said.

The Edhi Foundation was set up by the legendary Abdul Sattar Edhi, who dedicated his whole life to social welfare with Bilquis Edhi by his side, ensuring the foundation kept running.

Jazz is working with a variety of partners to ensure quality and streamline relief efforts all over the country. The company and its management is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to evaluate new projects for providing timely assistance by utilizing its resources and expertise. Jazz has launched a unique portal for this purpose: https://jazz.com.pk/darna-nahin-bachna-hai.

IBA-TCF Alumni scholarship fund formed

The Citizens Foundation (TCF) has joined hands with the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi in easing out the financial burden of TCF graduates studying at the IBA by setting up the IBA-TCF Alumni Scholarship Fund. All donations including zakat collected for this fund will cover the educational expenses of TCF graduates studying at the IBA. 20% of the proceeds will go towards TCF’s COVID-19 Response Appeal.

Last year, the IBA provided financial assistance to around 1,000 students amounting to Rs. 300 million. The IBA, Karachi and TCF would really appreciate donations for this fund: https://support.tcf.org.pk/fundraisers/tcf-alumni-at-ibakarachi

FINCA Microfinance Bank takes swift, divisive steps to stem Covid-19 spread

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic spreads, FINCA Pakistan, part of a global network, is playing its role to stem the spread. The Microfinance Bank has taken swift and divisive measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees, partners and customers all over the world in cognisance of the guidelines suggested by the World Health Organisation. In Pakistan specifically FINCA Microfinance Bank is closely monitoring the situation.

FINCA has issued progressive internal guidelines for all of its employees, ensuring the strict enforcement of all precautionary measures encouraging employees to adhere to the new no-contact greetings, limiting unnecessary travel, social distancing measures as recommended.

FINCA is one of the first financial institutions to implement a Work From Home (WFH) plan, to do its best to ensure the safety of its employees and their well-being. At the same time, Business Continuity Plan (BCP) has been re-assessed to ensure that our patrons have access to financial services during this pandemic.

As a responsible organization, FINCA Pakistan is further providing free health care (in case of COVID-19) to all of its employees, free hand sanitizers have been placed across the network for employees & customers, protocols to disinfect regularly all premises have been put in place, Bank will rotate critical resources between office/work from home while keeping the BCP resources separate, strict screening at office entrance has started and visits of external vendors have been limited.

For its customers, FINCA has sent out communication recommending limiting branch visits and offering incentives to use its digital and alternate delivery banking channels; which include Phone Banking, ATM channel, and the FINCA Pakistan’s Wallet and SimSim App, which enable customers to responsibly make transactions without leaving their homes as well as repay their loans or withdraw cash using partner merchant networks as UBL Omni. Both FINCA Pakistan and the SimSim App allow a host of financial facilities such as funds transfers and mobile recharge, all from the comfort of their homes.

Jazz to fund 1000 covid-19 tests at SKMCH&RC

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across Pakistan, the health system is increasingly under pressure. One of the biggest issues being faced is the limited availability of free of cost testing for the destitute population. Realizing this as an urgent need, Jazz has donated PKR 8 million to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC), which shall fund 1000 COVID-19 tests.

SKMCH&RC is a site designated for COVID-19 testing and has so far conducted over 500 free of cost tests on those who fulfilled the initial testing criteria.

This donation is a part of the PKR 1.2 billion COVID-19 relief support that Jazz recently announced. The support includes short to mid-term initiatives aimed to limit the negative impact of the pandemic, primarily for the most vulnerable communities.

“I understand that the policymakers are trying their best to ensure adequate supply of testing equipment nationwide, but we had to reach out to the private sector for urgent support. My greatest gratitude to Jazz for answering our call and supporting this humanitarian cause at a crucial stage. We will now revamp our testing efforts to clamp down on the virus spreading beyond control,” Dr. Faisal Sultan, CEO, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust.

SKMCH&RC has been at the forefront throughout the outbreak and is watching this developing situation very closely. Apart from being the designated testing site for the virus, the institution has also agreed to provide beds for the treatment of patients with coronavirus.

“Jazz has always been a strong supporter of SKMCH&RC and the ideology it stands for. The decision to support the institution during this critical time was unanimous as we believe they can create a positive impact in the fight against this pandemic,” said Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim. “As the leading mobile operator, we have a duty to support the health authorities and medical institutions during these critical times by leveraging our resources, digital expertise and nationwide footprint. To every one of the heroes on our front lines, we thank you.”

Jazz has always supported SKMCH&RC and has, in the past, been one of the leading philanthropists for the medical institution. The mobile operator chose to answer the call for assistance during a time when every individual and corporate, alike, need to play their roles for the nation’s benefit.

Employment and investment confidence plummets as Pakistan economy fights Covid-19 pandemic: GECS

Accountancy experts say economic confidence in Q1 has capitulated as the Pakistani economy struggles to get to grips with the fallout from the coronavirus.

A national survey of senior accountancy practitioners, who reflect the outlook of a large number of businesses they advise, found that confidence has fallen by more than 5% to -28, a record low for Q1 registered in the 11-year history of the research.

The report Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS), jointly published by ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) reveals:

  • Global confidence fell to its lowest level on record with big falls in all regions.
  • The global orders index, which tends to be less volatile than confidence, also fell sharply.
  • Pakistan employment and investment tumble to record lows.
  • Pakistan set to suffer a sharp economic contraction in coming months.

Michael Taylor, chief economist at ACCA, revealed there was relatively little divergence in confidence between regions owing to the global nature of the coronavirus economic shock.

He said: “Pakistan economic sentiment is in line with the rest of the world. Confidence fell everywhere and, in most cases, sharply and to the lowest since the survey began in 2009. South Asia, Pakistan in particular, did not show a collapse in confidence in early March. Pakistan was suffering from weak growth prior to the pandemic and will quickly fall into economic contraction. While this survey looks at the economic impact, it is important to remember there is a human cost both now and in the long-term on wellbeing, skills and the risk of redundancy.”

Looking ahead, Michael Taylor concludes: “The economic damage in coming months will be huge. But if appropriate policy action is taken, then conditions for recovery will be in place when the COVID-19 health crisis is substantially over.”

Covid-19 pandemic impacts people, cash flow and the ability to reforecast: ACCA’s new research

Organisations large and small, in the public and private sectors, have expressed deep concerns about the impact of Covid-19 on their people, productivity and cashflow, according to ACCA’s new global research among 10,000 finance professionals, including an expert panel of 353 in Pakistan.

Head of ACCA, Pakistan, Sajjeed Aslam, said: “Our research shows the most severe impact on businesses is employee productivity being negatively affected, with 56% of respondents saying this is the case. Also 46% of business leaders suggest their organisations are facing significant cash flow problems. Only 31% of businesses have managed to do a financial reforecast, and 39% of these consider a worst-case scenario will be negative revenue growth of 50% or more compared to the previous financial year. With 34% of organisations already freezing recruitment, businesses are looking to gain help from banks and debt providers.”

Sajjeed Aslam revealed the survey’s aim was to explore difficulties faced by organisations of all sizes across the country.

He said: “This research aims to understand the business and financial blows to organisations across the country. It is seen through the lens of ACCA Pakistan’s members – finance professionals supporting a wide range of businesses and organisations at this hugely difficult time. The findings gauge the short to medium term implications, while also looking at the measures being undertaken and considered by organisations to mitigate the damage. It also looks at what lessons we can all learn from the pandemic.”Mr Aslam highlighted crucial advice for firms to follow in these unprecedented times, adding: “ACCA’s recommending that organisations follow the ‘three As’ of crisis planning – Act to respond in a sustainable manner and focus on employees and stakeholders; Analyse the different information sources to secure your organisation; and Anticipate the business impact and future trends.”

Jamie Lyon, the report’s author, explains: “Everyone is hurting, but particularly the smaller organisations. Financing and cash flow are concerns to everyone, but even more so for small organisations. For many of us, the ‘face of work’ has changed overnight. In the short term, leaders are facing a very difficult operating environment when it comes to employee productivity and engagement, alongside a number of compounding and wide-ranging challenges — stifled and stalled customer demand, supply chain disruption, people mobility issues, product and service delays or deferments, investment challenges and so on. All this is of course translating to the financials being affected because fundamentally all of these blows are interconnected. But what’s heartening to see is many organisations commitment to ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees, customers and other stakeholders first and foremost.”

The main findings for Pakistan show:

  • 56% – Employee productivity negatively affected
  • 46% – Cash flow problems
  • 31% – Customers stopped/reduced purchase – customers impacted by the virus
  • 37% – Having to defer launch of new products and services
  • 23% – Customers stopped/reduced purchases – supply chain disrupted
  • And 69% of organisations have not been able to do a financial reforecast, perhaps due to the fast-evolving scale and duration of the Covid-19 pandemic alongside the extent of necessary social distancing controls put in place by governments, which have created vast uncertainties for businesses.

Sajjeed Aslam concludes: “Overall the data confirms Covid-19 is a huge challenge across all sectors and sizes of business, and regions and countries. The main issue is uncertainty, which affects the ability of organisations to plan properly, to react and to forecast appropriately. While talking of silver linings may be very hard at this time, we need to think about every opportunity, and to consider every option available to keep businesses large and small afloat.”

  • ACCA is holding a webinar on the 16 April 2020 to discuss these findings, which will be published in full on the 27 April 2020: http://accamember.newsweaver.co.uk/invitation/1586s9wf53w
  • The survey supporting this research closed on Thursday 26 March 2020.
  • Please refer to ACCA’s Covid-19 Hub, which includes useful resources to help organisations deal with the impacts and implications, including advice for ACCA members in practice and in business, students, and a section on wellbeing.

https://www.accaglobal.com/gb/en/cam/coronavirus.html

Zafar Masud named President/CEO of bank of Punjab

Mr. Zafar Masud has joined as President/CEO of The Bank of Punjab, last week. He was appointed as President/CEO of The Bank of Punjab by Government of the Punjab.

Mr. Masud brings with him 27 years of rich and diversified experience as an International Banker and Entrepreneur, served at top positions at multinational banks in Pakistan and abroad. He has extensive experience of working at Board of Directors level including State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Barclays Bank Southern Africa and National Bank of Pakistan. He had earlier worked as Director General – National Savings, Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan, CEO (Interim) at InfraZamin Pakistan and Founding Partner Burj Capital. He also held leadership positions at Dubai Islamic Bank, Citigroup and American Express Bank.

Mr. Masud holds a Master of Business Administration (Banking) from IBA, Karachi and Bachelor’s from Hailey College of Commerce, Punjab University, Lahore.

ASR Leasing Tajikistan has been certified by AlHuda CIBE
  • Ijarah concept is swiftly emerging over the globe, says Zubair Mughal

AlHuda CIBE FZ LLE Dubai, UAE has certified Asr Leasing, the first and only Ijarah company in Tajikistan. Ijarah is a rental based financing mode under the Shariah law. Asr Leasing has introduced first of its kind product in Tajikistan.

Asr Leasing LLC is one of the largest and fastest growing leasing companies in the Republic of Tajikistan. The company was founded on 23 January 2013 by the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private arm of the Islamic Development Bank and a group of local and foreign investors. Asr Leasing LLC continues is an important player in Tajikistan’s leasing sector. During its operations in the leasing market, Asr Leasing LLC has established itself as a reliable strategic partner and has become one of the leading leasing companies in Tajikistan. AlHuda CIBE has reviewed and certified as it is a Shariah compliant rental based Islamic finance product.

Ijarah is a term of Islamic fiqh. It means ‘to give something on rent’. In the Islamic jurisprudence, the term ‘ijarah’ is used for two different situations. In the first place, it means ‘to employ the services of a person on wages given to him as a consideration for his hired services.’ The second type of ijarah relates to the usufructs of assets and properties, and not to the services of human beings. ‘Ijarah’ in this sense means ‘to transfer the usufruct of a particular property to another person in exchange for a rent claimed from him.’ The rental agreement of the financing entered by the subject of the contract followed by term of the contract, grade of the contract, settlement procedure, and other conditions.

Muhammad Zubair Mughal CEO of AlHuda CIBE, expressed his views that many new Islamic Finance markets are seen to be emerging on the horizon in the world including Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) countries. Tajikistan is one of the emerging markets aggressively working for Islamic finance promotion and implementation. The total population of Tajikistan consists of 9.1 million inhabitants and 98% of them are Muslims, which is the supportive indicator for the growth of Islamic finance industry.

He further said that Asr Leasing has taken the step forward and introduced the first of its kind Islamic finance product in the country which will get the first mover advantage to tap the Islamic leasing market. Moreover, Tajikistan plans to introduce Islamic finance regulations and set up an Islamic finance institution to expand its financial sector and tap foreign markets. Islamic banking and finance will grow substantially in Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the next five years from a low base, driven by government initiatives to boost the sector. In Tajikistan, a law to lay out a foundation for Islamic banking and finance took effect in 2014 and since then, the central bank and the government have been working together to amend other existing laws and regulations to facilitate the development of the sector.

Mr. Zubair has started putting his research, advisory, consultancy and capacity building services in CIS countries for Islamic banking and finance industry from 2006 and in different countries of the world as Global CEO of AlHuda CIBE from last 15 years. He is hopeful that the volume of Islamic finance industry will increase by 100% in next five years which also will strengthen global Islamic finance industry. AlHuda CIBE also certify the Islamic finance products by offering Shariah certificate in order to ensure the Shariah compliance in the banking transactions.

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