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Threat of most serious flour crisis in decades approaching, says 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 Monday said most serious flour crisis in the history of the country is in the making which can be stopped through the government’s intervention.

Mafia has planned to increase the price of flour by at least fifty percent which will make people forget the recent coronavirus crisis and all the disasters that took place over the last seventy years, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the policies of the federal and provincial governments have emboldened the mafia which cannot be stopped through statements.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the price of wheat and flour is increasing rapidly in the market and the price of wheat has jumped from Rs1400 to Rs1600 per maund in few days.

The former Minister noted that some seed companies, brokers and landlords are hoarding wheat while the officials of the food department seem unconcerned what has resulted in an artificial shortage in some districts.

The flour mills are not being allowed to stock wheat according to their requirements which is contributing to the situation, he said, adding that the government should launch an operation against profiteers and hoarders or allow the import of wheat to stabilize prices.

He said that import of one million tonnes of wheat per month up to April next year has become imperative to foil the unholy designs of mafia for which cooperation of private sector and flour mills must be sought.

The wheat production can fall behind target by a million tonnes which can be bridged through imports for which regulatory duty must be reduced.

Government can import wheat from USA, Russia, and Ukraine while the private sector should be allowed to import it from any country.

He warned that inaction can result in a serious crisis for which the government will have to pay a heavy price.

L’Oréal Pakistan to donate thousands of locally produced hand sanitizers to fight the spread of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have widespread impact on the world with an alarming increase in infections, L’Oréal Pakistan launches a solidarity program, in support of the fight against the virus, with the local production of hand sanitizers and hand-washes, under its natural beauty brand Garnier.

Below are the details of the solidarity actions by L’Oréal Pakistan:

– Thousands of products will be distributed to healthcare and medical professionals working as our first line of defence against the virus and are committed to protecting us and curbing the epidemic every day, a need of the hour!

– Contribution of the hand sanitizers and hand-washes from the initial production to employees of local retailers, free of charge. This is to assist all retail partners and their staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic to ensure uninterrupted access to urgent supplies, and continue to do so.

“In this unprecedented crisis, it is our responsibility to contribute to the collective effort. Indeed, it is at times of crisis that innovation is often born and to this end, L’Oréal has globally reorganised our manufacturing to shift production to hand sanitizers and hand-washes. Through our contribution of thousands of hand sanitizers and hand-washes in Pakistan, we express our recognition, our support and our solidarity towards those demonstrating extraordinary courage and selflessness across our country”, says Junaid Murtaza, L’Oréal Pakistan Country Manager.

L’Oréal Pakistan also led the way in educating the entire ecosystem of internal and external teams, partners, suppliers, field and retail partners personnel on hygiene and safety practices in view of the current health situation. The Company has as well created a framework for partner salons, to help them re-open safely with all human safety measures in place.

Globally, since mid-March, L’Oréal has actively responded to the emergency with a solidarity plan where approximately 14 million units of hand sanitizers and over 4.3 million products (hand moisturizer and shampoo) were donated to healthcare professionals and employees of its retail customers and suppliers.

Garnier hand sanitizers and hand-washes will soon be available for purchase from leading online retailers across Pakistan.

JS Bank witnesses significant growth in profitability

Growing from strength to strength, JS Bank reported profit before tax of PKR 628.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 as compared to profit before tax of PKR 54.7 million over the corresponding period last year, an incredible 1000% increase.

Profitability showed a marked increase primarily due to markup and commission income, FCY income and gain on sale of securities. The breakup value per share of the Bank as of March 31, 2020 is PKR 13.9 with the earnings per share of PKR 0.29.

In addition, the Bank’s deposits grew to PKR 379.25 billion whereas advances level maintained at PKR 235.1 billion, during the current quarter, which reflects a continued focus of the Bank on prudent growth and core business activities. Further, investments increased from PKR 142.6 billion to PKR 183.2 billion during the same period, up by 28.5%.

With the banking industry facing continued challenges due to the economic and financial impact of COVID-19, JS Bank is revisiting its business strategy to cater to changing ground realities. Emphasizing WOW customer experience, the Bank is realigning itself into an agile, digital focused bank targeting well-defined target markets through a mix of innovative products and services.

Committed towards its role as a catalyst towards the progress and prosperity of Pakistan, the Bank is continuing its journey of success through shared value creation.

Jazz donates life-saving equipment in the fight against COVID-19

Jazz, the country’s largest digital company, continues to play a leading role in supporting the government authorities in the fight against the spread of the virus. In a recent development that showcases support for the local healthcare sector in its fight to save human lives, the mobile operator has provided ten patient monitors along with personal protective equipment (PPEs) to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad, helping more than 3000 patients daily.

Apart from assisting PIMS, Jazz will also be providing PPEs, patient monitors, and ventilators to more hospitals across the country. PPE kits have the potential to help thousands of doctors, nurses, and paramedics whereas one ventilator can help support up to seven critical patients. These efforts are part of the PKR 1.2 billion relief support announced earlier by Jazz, primarily to help the most vulnerable communities.

This support comes at a critical time as hospitals across the country are burdened due to the increasing numbers of positive coronavirus cases. Medical professionals are expecting thousands of critical patients in need of urgent care in the coming days following the end of the nationwide lockdown. These monitors are to be installed for COVID-19 patients in isolation wards to ensure comprehensive medical care.

“Machinery for an overburdened health sector is where most of the preventable deaths happen. We have stepped in to support advanced COVID patients, to give them the best shot at recovery,” said Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim.

“We are thankful to Jazz for this great initiative and for supporting PIMS when assistance is needed the most. Initially, when Jazz approached us they offered to provide ventilators but our need was for patient monitors which they have furnished,” said Dr. Ansar Masood, Executive Director at PIMS. “Additionally, Jazz also provided us with PPEs which is the foremost requirement for our frontline doctors and nurses. We hope to work together with great spirit in the future as well.”

In the coming weeks, Jazz will continue doing all it can to support the healthcare sector. Almost all initiatives under the PKR 1.2 billion relief pledge revolve around vulnerable communities, and health and welfare organizations. Apart from providing medical equipment, free COVID-19 tests at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, and weekly food rations to the families most affected by the lockdowns, Jazz has also contributed a total of PKR 108 million to the PM Covid-19 Relief Fund, under direct donation and its Matching Grants program.


Finca Pakistan donates to institute of public health Pakistan!

Continuing with the spirit of helping the nation to combat COVID-19 pandemic, FINCA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) made a donation to The Institute of Public Health, Punjab (IPH) for arranging diagnostic COVID 19 kits.

The donation was presented by Mubashar Bashir, CFO, FINCA Pakistan, to Chairman Board of Management, Institute of Public Health, Lt. Gen. (retired.) Khalid Maqbool, in a ceremony held at IPH’s Lahore office this morning. The kits will be used by IPH in its drive to conduct mass diagnostic testings.

“FINCA Pakistan is always ready to play its role to support the country’s social welfare infrastructure, especially in the areas of education and health. As a socially responsible organization, we remain determined to in helping the country navigate through these difficult times,” said Farid Ahmed Khan, Acting CEO, FINCA Pakistan.

NBP announces financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020

A meeting of the Board of Directors of National Bank of Pakistan was held on. May 21, 2020 to approve the financial statements of the Bank for the three-months period ended March 31, 2020.

Total income of the Bank amounted to PKR 24.87 billion which is 4.8% higher than PKR 23.73 billion earned during the corresponding three-month period last year. For this period, net interest income closed at PKR 16.57 billion, whereas the non-mark-up / interest income closed at PKR 8.30 billion, up by 7.2% and 0.4% respectively.

The Bank’s profit before provisions and write-off amounted to PKR 11.06 billion, being 0.7% higher than PKR 10.98 billion for the similar period last year. The after-tax profit for the period under review closed at PKR 4.12 billion, lower by 1.5% as against PKR 4.18 billion earned during the corresponding period of 2019. Drop in after-tax profit is attributed to higher provision charge and some increase in operating expenses.

Given the challenging economic environment, non-performing loans ‘NPLs’ of the Bank increased by PKR 7.91 billion or 5.3% during the quarter. NPLs are adequately provided for as per the applicable regulatory requirements. The Bank continues to manage capital efficiently through conservative portfolio growth, cautious growth in advances and enhanced credit monitoring. . With Common Equity Tier 1 (CET-1) ratio at 12.84% (Dec’ 19: 12.11%) and total Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 16.73% as of March 31, 2020, the Bank is compliant with the regulatory requirements.

As of March 31, 2020 total assets of the Bank amounted to PKR 2,963.66 billion which is 5.1% lower than PKR 3,124.39 billion as at December 31, 2019. Strength of the Bank’s balance sheet is driven by its wide market outreach and branch banking network where the focus remains on low-cost deposit mobilization. The Bank’s share in total industry assets, advances and deposits is around 14.2%, 12.2% and 13.8% respectively.

Going forward, the Bank’s business will focus around innovatively addressing development finance needs through reaching and supporting underserved sectors including SME, Microfinance, Agriculture Finance and finance for Micro-Housing on a priority basis. Given the slow growth of brick and mortar relative to digital channels, we are realigning ourselves with emerging e-banking realities with accelerated attention to Digital Banking solutions.

Serving hands and combined efforts keep supporting poor community

Serving Hands Organization and Combined Efforts Organization continued thier on-going project “COVID-19 Eid Package Rashan Camps” at Pir Bukhsh Goth Ghani Abad and surrounding villages.

President Serving Hands Organization Dr Sikandar Ali Shaikh thanked Mr Yasir Hashmi and his team of Combined Efforts Organization for combined support to distribute Rashan, Eid clothes for poor ladies and food packets.

General Secretary Arshad Anwar and Senior Vice President Syed Ibne Hassan of Serving Hands said these little help to these poor people is a preaching of Islam and are worth for these suffering community.

Mr. Yasir Hashmi added that Serving Hands is also doing a great job since three months during COVID-19 pandemic in providing free PPE kits, head and foot covers, sanitizers, masks, and gloves for doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. He further added, we will inshallah continue our joint venture with Serving Hands Organization to support our needy people of Pakistan.

Qari Hashmat Ullah of Madarsa-e-Arabia Imtiaz-ul-Uloom appreciated Serving Hands team for the support of the poor of Ghani Abad Goth and surroundings and prayed Allah (SWT) to accept these sincere efforts.

NBP donates Rs 80 million to support over 26,000 households under COVID-19 pandemic

National Bank of Pakistan has topped up its earlier contributions towards combating coronavirus pandemic by donating another Rs. 80 Million to support over 26,000 financially vulnerable households. The initiative is a part of its on-going CSR plan to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This generous donation will support over 26,000 households belonging to the disadvantaged segment of society who have been most affected due to the lockdowns across the country. This gesture endorses the fact that NBP as always stood by the nation to promote the well-being of deprived and marginalized segments of the society in Pakistan.

To combat the unprecedented situation in the country, NBP has adopted a multi-pronged approach of giving back to deserving members of society as part of its social responsibility. In the first phase of its efforts, NBP collaborated with Karachi Relief Trust (KRT), a disaster management volunteer group, because of its impeccable track record. NBP’s donation of Rs. 20 million to KRT helped provide rations to over 6,500 households comprising of deserving daily wage earners and their families.

In the second phase of its CSR COVID19 response plan, NBP, in a unique initiative donated Rs. 60 million to five Non-Bank MicroFinance Companies (NBMFCs) for onward donation to their customers across Pakistan whose incomes have been poorly affected by lockdowns. These households have been operating their micro and small businesses financed by small loans from the NBMFCs and due to the current situation their incomes have been significantly reduced. 20,000 deserving households across the country will benefit from NBP’s donation through NBMFCs.

NBP’s strategic partnership with NBMFCs is part of a larger initiative under COVID 19 pandemic to play a leadership role and provide a holistic response including financial support to the Microfinance sector which serves over 7 million households across Pakistan. The Bank has been supportive of Microfinance sector in the past and will now enhance its focus as part of its Inclusive Development strategy with the aim of improving financial inclusion in Pakistan.

ACCA report urges companies to promote resource efficiency and value creation in COVID-19 pandemic

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ (ACCA) latest report Insights into Integrated Reporting 4.0, covers 48 companies – each are members of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Business Network.

As economies and companies around the world prepare for imminent recession owing to the pandemic, the report recommends a focus on sustainability, resource efficiency and integrated thinking to help tackle risks companies face and improve the quality of their reporting.

Richard Martin, head of corporate reporting at ACCA, believes accountants can develop their skills in <IR> and integrated thinking to help companies clearly communicate responsible resource management and how they intend to generate value.

He said: “Resource management, both in times of crises such as these and relative calm, is essential. Companies should always be considering their use of employees, reflecting on whether they are continuing to grow and develop. Insights into IR 4.0 comes out against a background of increased interest from authorities in improving corporate reporting outside of the financial statements. ACCA believes integrated reporting should be a key part of that, and not simply used as a marketing tool.”

The review is ACCA’s fourth annual report on integrated reporting, this year’s research shows steady improvements in some respects, including the recognition of integrated reporting and the IIRC’s Framework.

Mr Martin, the report’s author, added that there are still key areas for improvement when benchmarking against the three previous Insights into Integrated Reporting.

He said: “It is disappointing that the overall quality of the reporting based on the average score our reviewers awarded the reports has declined in the period. This indicates that though companies’ stated following of the principles is increasing, the quality of that compliance is not. The descriptions around statements of responsibility for the reports could also be improved.”

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