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Mian Zahid wants budget should not focus on enhancing revenue but growth

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 the budget-making process amid crisis will be a challenge for the government.

The upcoming budget should be a traditional one but a modern document to provide some relief to the masses. It should not focus on enhancing revenue but growth rate so that large population of Pakistan could be saved from unemployment.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said documentation of budget is important but reducing the cost of documentation is more important so that it can contribute to revenue, national development and creating of jobs.

The former minister noted that decades of efforts have failed to strike a balance between expenses and income compelling rulers to carry a begging bowl. Now the old-fashioned style should be changed, the burden on masses should be reduced and direct taxation should be promoted. He said that the old guard has done nothing for the welfare of the country which is still collecting half of its revenue potential which is unsustainable.

The government should step forward for a real change to reduce poverty through education and vocation and provision of proper health, education, transportation, income support, pension and other facilities.

He said that the businesses that have escaped bankruptcy should be promoted through a just taxation system, reduced interest rates and utility bills, relief and other facilities.

“Zero-rating should be allowed for the export sector, zero tax should be imposed on income up to one hundred thousand, loan repayment should be eased and all taxes should be brought down while the sick industry should be revived to more the wheel of economy,” he said. “Government should reduce expenses and its size, failed corporations wasting Rs600 billion should be sold, infrastructure projects should be started and implementation of agriculture tax should be initiated.”

NBP holds 71st agm, approves financial statements-2019 and other agenda items

The 71st Annual General meeting of National Bank was held on May 12, 2020 through electronic means. The meeting that was initially scheduled to be held on April 24, 2020, was suspended till date due to the COVID-19 lockdown. The meeting was attended by all the members of the NBP Board as well as its senior management and a large number of shareholders.

The shareholders were briefed that for the year 2019, the Bank recorded a solid growth in terms of both balance sheet size and income. Despite a generally difficult year for the economy, the bank’s net mark-up/interest income closed 18.5% higher YoY at Rs. 71.9 billion (2018: Rs. 60.7 billion). The Bank also earned non-mark-up/interest earning of Rs. 36.2 billion. Accordingly, total income of the Bank closed at Rs. 108.1 billion i.e. 11.5% higher than Rs. 96.9 billion of 2018. In 2019, total expenses for the year amounted to Rs. 65.7 billion against Rs. 55.7 billion for the year 2018. This amount, however, included a total of Rs. 7.3 billion of provision related to extraordinary HR related costs.

Reflecting the general trend of deterioration in asset quality observed across the industry in 2019, NBP also experienced an 11.5% increase in non-performing loans. While provision charge amounted to Rs. 14.3 billion, profit before tax closed at Rs. 28.0 billion, being 5.7% lower YoY. The Bank has consequently focused on strengthening its balance sheet through this provisioning and through building contingency buffers for a total of Rs. 21.6 billion. Due to retrospective applicability of super tax in 2019, the bank’s tax burden amounted to Rs. 12.2 billion, resulting in PAT of Rs. 15.8 billion.

During 2019, total assets of the bank increased by 11.6% to Rs. 3,124.4 billion, from Rs. 2,798.6 billion a year before. Gross advances increased by 8.7% to Rs. 1,151.3 billion, investment (at cost) closed 12.1% up at Rs. 1,417.6 billion, and deposits grew by 9.3% to Rs. 2,198.0 billion.

The Bank is facing contingencies related to pension benefits of its retired employees, and has filed a review petition where a final decision is still awaited. The financial impact of the subject case has not been included in the instant financial statements as the Bank looks forward to a favourable outcome of the case.

The CEO apprised the share holders that the bank is constantly monitoring the situation regarding the swift spread of the COVID-19. Amid the pandemic, the bank is taking all necessary steps to ensure the well being of its employees and customers and at the same time prevent any potential business impact to the economy.

The shareholders unanimously approved the Annual Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 along with all other items on the Agenda of the meeting.

FINCA Microfinance Bank, employees contribute rs 2 million to pm’s covid-19 pandemic relief fund

Playing its role in supporting the nation in times of crisis, FINCA Microfinance Bank Pakistan and its employees donated PKR 2 million to the Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund-2020.

This was a part of a local initiative in which FINCA employees contributed a day’s worth of salary towards COVID-19 relief in appreciation of the country’s need in this time of crisis.

Chief Operating Officer FINCA Microfinance Bank, Mr. S. H. Kazi met the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Vice Chairman PTI, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and presented the donation in Lahore on Saturday.

On the occasion, acting CEO FINCA Pakistan, Farid Ahmed Khan said: “FINCA Pakistan encourages its employees to partake in social and humanitarian activities as good corporate citizens”.

While accepting the donation, Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Vice Chairman PTI, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi admired the spirit of FINCA employees and stressed on the importance of uniting as a nation in combating the pandemic.

“Initiatives like this resonates with FINCA’s vision and mission worldwide of enabling and uplifting communities to meet challenges” said Chief Operating Officer FINCA Microfinance Bank, Mr. S.H Kazi on the occasion.

Khurshid Alam thanks nbp on generous donation to PM’s covid-19 pandemic relief fund

National Bank of Pakistan’s employees voluntarily donated one day basic salary amounting to Rs. 20 million to The Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund-2020 in support of the Government in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Khurshid Alam, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Corona Philanthropy Drive, in his tweet on Monday appreciated NBP’s gesture for donating a generous amount to The Prime Minister’s COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund-2020 to help those who have been left financially vulnerable and to support Pakistan’s fight against the pandemic.

This gesture by NBP’s staff is a continuation of the Bank’s tradition and reputation for participating in national causes. The Bank and its employees have always stepped forward to generously contribute towards matters of national interest.

Today, the Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19 pandemic) is posing an alarming threat for the country. Living up to the expectations as responsible corporate citizens the Bank’s employees again stood up to share their salary with the less fortunate and under privileged class of society.

This contribution was over and above NBP’s corporate donation of Rs. 80 million being distributed under its CSR program across the country.

NBP has taken preventive measures across all its branches in Pakistan and has ensured that its wide distribution network continues to function during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

Coronavirus crisis has shaken retail sector, recovery can take years: 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 Wednesday said that the services sector serving tens of millions of people shrinking at a fast pace. The crisis has shaken the resilient retail sector while the revival of some sectors can take years.

Economies centred around the service sector may recover sooner than the economies based on industry or agriculture, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the pandemic has damaged almost every sector including tourism, transport and hospitality and other sub-sectors.

Talking to the business community he said that the services sector has collapsed with the coronavirus-led lockdown causing a historic spike in the layoffs and reinforcing fears of a deep recession. The noted that our services sector continues to post a worst-ever drop in business activity which can be described as a complete standstill.

The former minister noted that the economic damage caused by the virus is yet to be ascertained by our authorities but it is safe to assume that it has contracted GDP substantially and added trouble in the lives of the millions which were already reeling under problems, he added. He informed that Pakistan’s resilient and the unorganized retail sector enjoys being the third-largest sector following agriculture and manufacturing. The share of wholesale and retail trade in GDP averaged around a steady 17.5% in the past decade and it was growing until recently. He said that now traders have lost their patience and they are demanding the complete reopening of this sector which is taken by authorities cautiously.

Many think that worst is over but expectations towards the near future will not be as rosy as considered by many as the response of the authorities to the problem has left much to be desired, he said. If the crisis persists, the whole hospitality, tourism and other industries in Pakistan and other developing countries may collapse in which the women have a 54 percent share worldwide.

Government programmes to support needy and unemployed people through direct payments can help protect vulnerable workers from services sectors but the absence of a political will is a problem. He also demanded steps to support expatriated who have lost jobs and now looking towards the government for some support.

He proposed the establishment of a national authority to combat the virus which must include health experts, industrialists, traders, academicians, media professionals which can frame a proper policy to boost the economy.

 

Khushhali Microfinance Bank opens mobile banking on android devices

To enable customers to avail banking services during the COVID-19 pandemic, Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited is constantly working on introducing innovative solutions to meet customer’s daily transactional needs. To make online banking easier for customers, Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited is now launching mobile banking app for android devices.

Khushhali Mobile Banking app comes with a number of valuable features including real-time access to deposit and loan account, transaction details and statement download facility, payment of credit card bills, utility bills, mobile top-up, post-paid bills, government payments, loan repayments etc. It also allows you to transfer funds between own accounts, to another Khushhali account and any other bank’s account. SMS alerts for log-in, log-out and financial transactions, access to Branch Locator, requests for cheque book and bankers cheque are also available on the app.

Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited President Ghalib Nishtar said, “The availability of our mobile app on Android devices aims to provide an easy and convenient banking experience to all customers without any delays. Customers can now perform all sorts of transactional as well as non-transactional operations through the convenience of their homes, allowing them to practice social distancing at this time of need”.

Customers can search for the app on Play Store with the name KHUSHHALI and download the app on their mobiles or tablets. Earlier this year, Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited has introduced Khushhali Internet Banking for customer’s safe and convenient access to financial facilities.

Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited has continued to provide banking services to its customers during the lockdown while playing its role to help contain the spread of coronavirus by enforcing safety measures at its branches. Founded in 2000, Khushhali Microfinance Bank is a forerunner in the microfinance sector in Pakistan.

IBA Karachi revamps its admissions process for MBA program after covid-19

In response to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the IBA Karachi has revamped the admission process for its flagship MBA program for the upcoming admission cycle.

Since administering the entrance test is not possible in existing circumstances, an alternate objective criterion for the assessment of admission applications has been introduced. The revised process includes shortlisting of candidates based on prior academic qualification, length and quality of work experience/internships, co-curricular activities/achievements and the personal statement by the candidate. Based on this criterion, the candidates will be shortlisted for the final interviews.

While announcing these policy changes, IBA Executive Director Dr. S. Akbar Zaidi said that these changes have been made to adhere to the public health and safety guidelines issued by the government and for the wellbeing of all prospective candidates. Therefore, revising the admission process by substituting the admission test with an alternate objective assessment criterion to evaluate candidates’ profiles and shortlist them for the final interviews saves the students from being at risk.

He further said that the IBA is cognizant of the enormous difficulties and challenges faced by the students whose academic careers have been jeopardized by this pandemic and promised that the IBA will continue to facilitate the students as much as it can, without comprising on the merit and quality of the intake. “We are continuously monitoring the situation and will continue to create flexibility in the admission process, as and when required”, he added.

Greenstar conducting nationwide efforts for health plan against covid-19

One of the most resourceful institutions, specialized in family-planning and community health programs — GreenStar Social Marketing (GSM) has been busy as a front-line force, to safeguard the health of families, especially women and children in Pakistan. It is taking additional measures to overcome the threats of COVID-19 pandemic.

The qualified medical professionals at GSM are ensuring nationwide outreach, through its vast network of; 90,000 retail-outlets, 35,000 pharmacies, 9,000 health service-providers and other channels like; Laboratories, FMCG stores, Clinics, etc. It is helping the government to protect the masses from coronavirus and spread awareness, as part of its social-responsibility initiatives.

GSM is supporting the healthcare system, during the additional influx of coronavirus patients. It is also contributing, along with other corporate enterprises, to minimize the economic impact of the preventive lockdowns. It is a collective effort to provide free food, donations and healthcare, to the most vulnerable segments of the population, who cannot survive even for a few days without earning.

The Chief Executive of GSM – Dr. S. A. Rab stated: “It is an unprecedented health-challenge, disrupting the socio-economic activities, globally. So, every individual must protect their family and community. GSM is committed to bridge the gap during the COVID-19 crisis, because a pregnant woman cannot delay her child birth. In this situation, family-planning and reproductive health have gained critical importance. As 70% of Pakistan’s population relies on only private clinics or basic health service-providers, we are strategically training them at the grass-roots level, to use technology and minimize physical interactions for safety.”

GSM also suggested measures to ensure ‘Zero Stock-Out’ of PPEs and GSM’s products like; Misotal, ECP, condoms, Clean Delivery Kits, etc., while informing the masses about the WHO guidelines, through various channels like; healthcare service-providers, the digital ecosystem and social-media: FP2020 POOCHO 24/7 Helpline, Facebook, Youtube, Whatsapp and Posters, Pamphlets, etc. Digital innovations have enabled GSM to ensure the safety of all employees and patients. It can now ‘Reach The Unreachable’, as its products and services are being delivered at the consumers’ doorstep, while contraceptives are also made available through Dawaai.pk.

UBL donates ventilators to public-sector hospitals

The COVID-19 virus pandemic has shaken the foundations of the modern world. Under these very testing times, it is essential that we do not lose sight of the suffering and the pain caused by this disease and play our part in contributing back to our communities.

United Bank Limited (UBL) as a Corporate Citizen, has always been at the forefront in times of natural disaster by assisting the impacted in the most humane way possible.

The number of those affected by the virus is increasing exponentially and hospitals are ill-equipped to handle the influx of patients under their existing infrastructure. Especially needed, in these times, in relation to the nature of this disease, are ventilators for the most critical patients. UBL has donated four ventilators (two each) to Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre and Dr. Ruth K. M. Pfau Civil Hospital, to assist them in handling the critical medical attention for patients under their care.

Ms. Sima Kamil, President & CEO, UBL said, “We hope this contribution will assist these noble healthcare givers in providing much needed care to the affected patients. I am confident that with the Almighty’s help and the courage and resilience of our nation, we will see better days and overcome this pandemic”.

NDMA appreciates fuel coupon offer from shell Pakistan

Mr. Imran Qureshi, representative of Shell Pakistan Ltd met Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal in Islamabad, recenty. Shell Pakistan Ltd as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) offered free fuel coupon to NDMA to support the efforts against spread of COVID-19 in Pakistan.

Chairman NDMA appreciated Shell Pakistan goodwill gesture towards controlling the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country.

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