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Hyundai Nishat Motor unveils ‘TUCSON’ in a first-ever digital event in Pakistan

Hyundai Nishat Motor (Private) Limited, has launched its 2nd CKD presenting their flagship vehicle, Hyundai TUCSON. In a first-ever digital car reveal of Pakistan automobile history the grand launch of Hyundai TUCSON took place. Pakistan’s top celebrities like Ali Rehman and Ayesha Omer were part of the digital launch event which took place online.

Senior officials from Hyundai Motor Company, Mr. B. S Jeong Head of ME & Africa HQs & Mr. Tatsuya Sato, COO, Hyundai Nishat Motor delivered their messages virtually.

This crossover SUV has been awarded #1 compact SUV by the US JD power IQS study. This marks the beginning of a new era in Pakistan’s automobile industry by delivering world class Hyundai Vehicles to its respected customers and providing the same Brand experience of, ‘Connecting people with Quality Time’.

Tucson with 16-Valve In-Line 4-Cylinder, 2.0 MP Gasoline Engine, with 155 maximum power HP/6,200 rpm and 196 nm Torque kg-m/4,000 rpm. It comes in 6-speed Automatic Transmission. This new SUV for Pakistan is 1,850 mm wide, 4,480 long, and 1,660 mm high, along with 2,670mm wheelbase. Internationally, Hyundai has launched 12 variants of Tucson. In Pakistan, the Tucson is available in 2 variants; AWD Ultimate & a FWD GLS Sport.

Hyundai Tucson is lauded due to its executive outlook and luxury comforts and specs. The five-passenger Tucson is a constant bestseller for the South Korean company. The 2020 model has industry best features such as,

  • 10.1″ Display Audio + Shark Fin Antenna + Android Auto +Autolight Control

  • Super Vision Cluster (4.2″ TFT LCD)

  • Hands Free Power Tailgate System

  • Full LED Head Lamp w/LED Static Bending + Auto Leveling Device

  • Wireless Charger

  • Cooling Function Glovebox

  • Day & Night ECM (mirror) + Compass

  • ESC (Electronic Stability Control)- Cluster

  • DBC (Downhill Brake Control)- Cluster

  • HAC (Hillstart Assist Control)

  • BAS (Brake Assistant System)

  • VSM (Vehicle Stability Management)

  • Full Sized Alloy Spare Wheel & Tire

The company representative said, that HNMPL & its Dealers are not simply manufacturers and dealers but are Best Quality providers to the people of Pakistan. This is the vision and mission statement of HNMPL. In the future, HNMPL would be introducing more passenger car models, so please look forward to it.

JS Bank revives polo ground roundabout in Karachi

Committed to serving the community in which it operates, JS Bank has further added to the beauty of the ‘City of Lights’ through restoration of the Polo Ground Roundabout. The Roundabout was inaugurated by DG Rangers Major General Omer Ahmed Bokhari as part of Pakistan’s 73rd Independence Day celebrations. Senior officials from JS Bank and Pakistan Rangers Headquarters were present at the event.

The Roundabout has been restored as part of the Bank’s commitment to beautify Karachi city through placement of visually pleasing and aesthetically appealing monuments.

Major General Omer Ahmed Bokhari, DG Rangers (Sindh), expressed his appreciation for the role the Bank has been playing as a leading financial institution that is deeply aware of its corporate social responsibility and duly acts upon it. He noted that, Pakistan is our responsibility, and we each need to embrace our role as active members of the society in order for it to grow.

Speaking on the occasion, Basir Shamsie, President and CEO JS Bank, stated, “A city as progressive and vital as Karachi deserves our collective efforts to maintain its historic beauty. The restoration of this landmark is our way of giving back to the community and our fellow citizens. I would especially like to thank Major General Omer sahib for his support in making this initiative a success.”

Committed towards its role as a catalyst towards the progress and prosperity of Pakistan, JS Bank continues to bring innovative banking products and services to the people of its country.

Mian Zahid Hussain urges cotton sector should not be ignored

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel Sr. Vice Chairman, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said that cotton sector which is playing very import part in the economy and providing jobs to millions should no more be ignored by revived immediately.

Cotton production is declining since last few years and the production for the current year will be eight million bales against the target of 15 million bales.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that China has reduced cotton imports from the US while the gap has been filled by Australia and Brazil while Pakistan has ignored it.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said unsold cotton stock worth billions is lying in the ginning factories, which should be used or exported to bailout ginning sector from crisis which will enable them to pay dues to the farmers.

The former minister noted that coronavirus has many unemployed while real incomes have also declined which has reduced consumption of cotton, yarn, and garments while the price of cotton has gone down by 34 percent in three months.

The crisis has eroded the capacity of textile sector to pay ginners necessitating government’s intervention. The credit line for the ginning sector should be increased while the government should look into the issues hitting the cotton sector which include climate change, scarcity of water, high cost of inputs, substandard seed, and pesticides, costly urea, difficulties in obtaining loans, reduction in area under cultivation and primitive practices.

He said that the US and other countries have increased per acre yield by 100 percent since 1980 but nothing of the sort has been done in Pakistan. The government must reduce taxes on this sector and stop harassing investors by sending them notices and try to benefit from the experience of friendly countries like China, Uzbekistan, Brazil, and the US.

Bahria town communities celebrate first-ever realtors day with ilaan.com

With the collaboration of Federation of Realtors Pakistan and ilaan.com, all four Bahria Town communities of Pakistan celebrated Realtors Day with higher enthusiasm. Notable personalities from the real estate sector were present in the cake cutting ceremonies organized all over Pakistan.

One of the officials of Bahria Town present in the ceremony talked about the importance Realtors Day possesses and what changes it is expected to bring in the industry. He said that the Realtors Day has bridged the gap between the representatives and authorities and it has enabled all realtors of Pakistan to stand.

Realtors Day has proven to be a game-changing initiative in the history of the real estate industry of Pakistan. It will further create unity among the different sectors associated with real estate and bring all the realtors on the same page.

Rational energy prices can attract investment: Mian Zahid Hussain

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel Sr. Vice Chairman, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said the rational price of electricity and gas is vital to attract local and foreign investment.

He said that there is an uptick in exports but a lot is to be done to improve the confidence of business community and the masses.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that many businesses are still reeling due to uncertainty, supply chain disruption and other problems which have reduced production and profits.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the uncertainty caused by the virus is being augmented by political and economic instability which has reduced investment.

The former minister noted that many countries are moving towards protectionism and frequent changes in trade policies that are keeping investors away.

Different countries attracted foreign investment to the tune of $1.5 trillion during 2019 but its falling since then and last year around 40 percent reduction has been witnessed.

The fall in FDI is hitting developing countries which were already suffering from reduced remittances, dried investment, and falling exports, he said, adding that privatization has been stalled while many countries are struggling to keep their current accounts balanced to avoid bankruptcy.

He said that foreign businessmen are not in investment mood, therefore, the government should delay privatization of Steel Mills and other bleeding enterprises and focus on reforms as well as the improvement of laws.

He said that the government should do something about uncontrollable mafias, ensure political and economic stability, rules, and regulations should be improved, regulators should be made effective and make certain continuity in important policies.

The energy prices should be in line with the international and regional countries to boost production and exports, he said.

NBP wins Asian banking and finance corporate and investment banking awards 2020

The Asian Banking & Finance Magazine (ABF) has awarded its prestigious Corporate Client Initiative of the Year-Pakistan and the Innovative Deal of the Year-Pakistan Awards at the Corporate & Investment Banking Awards 2020, to the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).

Corporate & Investment Banking Group (CIBG) at NBP reflects the Bank’s strong capability of providing a wide array of plain vanilla and tailored financing, transactional, and electronic banking products and services to its diversified and growing client base. NBP is one of Pakistan’s leading provider of financial services to top-tier multi-national, governmental agencies/departments, and corporate clients across the country, serving the changing financial needs of the nation’s distinguished businesses and government entities.

On winning this prestigious award, Syed Jamal Baquar, SEVP/Group Chief, CIBG said, “the recognition of NBP for these Awards highlights the fact that NBP endeavors to be a preferred and trusted long-term partner of its clients in the long term by providing a full array of financial products and solutions which continue to exceed service expectations. We undertake to continue offering our very best to our clients and are confident that this mindset will lead to many more milestones and achievement in times to come. Our large balance sheet, universal banking products, and a high quality team of business professionals gives us the confidence and the ability to undertake pretty much any large, complex financial transaction or infrastructure project in the country. We continue to explore and support industrial sectors where Pakistan’s economy is expected to expand in the future.”

He further went on to add that “NBP has a proud history extending over the last 7 decades as a true Nation’s Bank with deep roots throughout the country and in almost every segment of Pakistan’s economy. NBP has the size, scale, diversity, and expertise to serve its customers across a broad range of financial needs. Established in 1949 under the “National Bank of Pakistan Ordinance 1949”, NBP is one of Pakistan’s leading Commercial Banks offering comprehensive banking products and services in addition to being entrusted to act as an agent to State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). Over the decades, NBP has redefined its role into a modern growth-oriented Commercial Bank by expanding its business network across continents and capturing sizeable market share in a variety of businesses including but not limited to the debt and equity capital markets, corporate and investment banking, retail and consumer banking, agricultural financing, and treasury services in Pakistan. NBP also has a strong international presence through its branches and subsidiaries in the Far East, Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, Europe and North America.

In addition, NBP has considerable competitive edge over other competitor banks due to:

  • Wide customer coverage through branch network of 1,500 plus branches in Pakistan and 21 overseas branches.

  • AAA/A1+, the highest possible rating for any local bank by both PACRA Credit Rating and JCR-VIS Credit Rating, with a stable outlook.

  • Leading financer to all the major business sectors including power, oil & gas, cement, sugar, telecommunication, etc. It is also the largest provider of credit to the corporate sector of Pakistan.

  • Having a diversified product base customized to the needs of different customer segments.

  • Ongoing Initiatives for development and implementation of alternative delivery channels through digitalization of services i.e. “NBP Digital”.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our valued clients for their continued patronage in a very competitive environment. We also take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to the NBP leadership and business teams who are second to none, and have made this possible.”

Rehan Shaikh named Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited last week confirmed that Rehan Shaikh has joined the bank in Pakistan as the new Chief Executive Officer. His appointment is being announced post receiving all regulatory approvals. Rehan has over 35 years of banking experience, whereby most recently he was the CEO Islamic Banking, based in Dubai, UAE.

Rehan has a consistent track record of identifying opportunities, building optimal businesses and developing high performance teams. He has demonstrated the ability to operate effectively in multi-cultural environments, build and motivate teams to achieve business goals.

Commenting on the appointment, Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO AME, Standard Chartered Bank, said: “With Standard Chartered’s rich and long-standing history in Pakistan, we are well positioned to provide our clients with superior financial services, products and solutions. Rehan’s leadership and experience will further strengthen and deepen our client relationships in Pakistan and he will play a key role in achieving our aspirations in one of the most strategic markets for the AME Region.”

Rehan has extensive senior management and diversified banking background in Pakistan and Internationally, having previously worked with leading institutions including American Express Bank (Pakistan) as the Head of Corporate Banking, and Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan as Head, Corporate Banking. He spent several years with Dubai Islamic Bank UAE before re-joining Standard Chartered in 2015 as CEO, Islamic Banking.

Commenting on his new role, Rehan Shaikh, Chief Executive, Standard Chartered Pakistan said: “Pakistan continues to be a key market for Standard Chartered. With a strong commitment to the country, our deep local knowledge uniquely positions us to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the market and leverage our network to continue to grow the business. For me personally, this is an exciting opportunity to come back to the country and work with the team to build on our strong existing franchise for the greater benefit of our valued clients and Pakistan.”

Indus Motor company declares profit after tax of Rs 5.1 billion for fy2019-20

The Board of Directors of Indus Motor Company Ltd. (IMC) met on August 10, 2020 to review the company’s financial and operating performance for the year ended June 30, 2020.

The net sales turnover for the year ended, June 30,2020 decreased by 46% to Rs.86 billion as compared to Rs.158 billion in the last fiscal year, while profit after tax for the year also decreased by 63% to Rs.5.08 billion, as against Rs.13.71 billion achieved in the same last year. During the year, the Company contributed a sum of Rs.35.9 billion to the national exchequer.

The decline in turnover and profitability for the year was mainly due to lower volumes, primarily due to challenging economic conditions, imposition of taxes and duties and lockdown on account of COVID-19 pandemic. The combined sales of Toyota CKD and CBU vehicles stood at 28,837 units, compared to 66,211 units in the previous year.

The industry already burdened by inconsistent economic policies; has now been exposed to additional challenges on account of the COVID-19 outbreak. The collective impact of higher taxation, shrinking GDP, consistent PKR devaluation and the COVID-19 lockdown, has greatly impacted the operational capability of the automotive industry. Due to delayed resumption, the auto sector could not revive in the last quarter of FY 19-20 as per PAMA data; April and May 2020 were the hardest hit months, with April 2020 recording zero sales in the passenger cars segment across the industry.

Ali Asghar Jamali, CEO IMC said “IMC has, and always will be devoted to Pakistani market and to our customers whose interest and belief in our products is rapidly increasing every year. It is because of the support of our customers and their trust in us that IMC is working diligently to provide them with the best even during the times of global pandemic that has caused an overall economic slowdown.”

During the year, the Company discontinued the Corolla 1.3L vehicles in March 2020, which performed as a market leader in the segment for over 25 years. The flagship Corolla brand will continue in 1.6L and 1.8L segments as available worldwide. On March 19, 2020, the Company opened booking for the new-age masterpiece, the all new Toyota Yaris with variants in 1.3L and 1.5L segments. Despite a complete lockdown in the country and no significant marketing activities being conducted, Toyota Yaris has been very well received by customers.

Based on the results, the Board of Directors announced a final dividend of Rs.7 per share, making the annual dividend for the year Rs.30 per share.

Presentation on cybersecurity measures

Aimed at sharing practical experience to help strengthen cybersecurity measures in Pakistan, Aamir Ibrahim, CEO of Jazz delivered an engaging presentation to under-training officers of the Federal Investigation Agency Cybercrime Wing at the National Police Academy. During the session the role of Jazz was also highlighted in leading industry-wide initiatives to support increased security throughout the entire mobile ecosystem. Aamir Ibrahim appreciated the FIA cybercrime wing’s ongoing programmes in collaboration with industry stakeholders to make the internet safe for all, especially women and children, and raising public awareness to empower societies in the joint fight against cybercrime.

Rs100 billion transferred to rural economy during Eidul Azha, says Mian Zahid

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel Sr. Vice Chairman, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said Eidul Azha helped boost the economy as almost Rs100 billion were transferred from cities to villages.

Last year almost doubled amount was transferred while the sum was around Rs375 billion in 2018-19, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussian said that reduced transfer of money to rural areas can be attributed to the economic situation, impact of virus, and lockdown.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the prices of sacrificial animals jumped by 20 to 30 percent giving a boost to livestock sector while the traders in cities suffered a lot due to lockdown.

The former minister noted sacrifices were reduced in the major cities of Punjab and Sindh while the situation remained somewhat balanced in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

The concept of online arrangement and collective sacrifices is gaining momentum but fraud by some companies that have recently stepped into the business has dented the confidence of masses.

The role of clerics and masjid is increasing in offering hassle-free sacrifice service to the masses, which is a good sign, he said, adding that the prices of animals jumped despite low demand while the prices of hides crashed as the tanners are short of export and local orders.

Last year hides worth Rs20 billion were sold while this year this dropped below than Rs10 billion. He said that the situation may improve by the next year when the virus would have been gone and the economic situation will be better.

Jazz and Omnicomm bring globally acclaimed fuel management solution to Pakistan

Jazz, Pakistan’s leading digital service provider, has partnered with Omnicomm, a global telemetry and fleet management solutions provider, to introduce ‘Jazz Biz Fuelmatic’, an Internet of Things (IoT) based fuel management solution allowing businesses to minimize their environmental impact by achieving energy efficiency.

This collaboration is an initiative of Jazz Business, which has the largest and most comprehensive portfolio of B2B ICT services and is currently serving 95 of the top 100 PSX listed companies. In collaboration with Omnicom’s local partner Xtreme Tracking Solutions, Jazz Business will provide this integrated solution for managing the fuel consumption of diesel generator set (genset), as well as monitoring of various fuel storage units including bowsers and underground tanks.

This fuel management system connects to the genset or fuel storage to monitor almost any parameter with data from fuel-level sensors and other external sensors and transmits this data in real time to a cloud-based online, self-service platform. The self-service platform empowers administrators and logistic units with the option to start and stop equipment remotely, and provides geographic information system mapping, geofencing, remote monitoring and diagnostic alerts as well.

According to Syed Ali Naseer, Chief Business Officer, Jazz said, “We realize that power generation is a high-end operating cost for most businesses, and with our partnership with Omnicomm, the aim is to empower businesses to better monitor and analyze fuel efficiencies in their fleet or machinery to better control costs.

The introduction of this solution is in line with the vision of Jazz Business to revolutionize Pakistan’s enterprise landscape by helping businesses achieve cost and operational excellence through easy adoption of IoT and digitalization of work processes.

Alhuda cibe holds global Islamic banking and finance learning series
  • ICD is committed to strengthen Islamic finance during the COVID 19

AlHuda CIBE has launched a Webinar Series on Islamic banking & finance to learn with Islamic finance experts from around the world. The learning series is continuing with the different insightful topics in four major languages i.e. English, Arabic, French, and Russian.

During the webinar series by AlHuda CIBE, the global leader, Mr. Ayman Sejiny has an interactive session on “How ICD supports its Member Countries during COVID-19”. In his valuable session, he shared the insights and highly appreciates the stimulus packages that involve joint efforts between governments and central banks that cover the fiscal, monetary, and macro-financial fronts to various degrees. He explained that The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) continues to grapple with this pandemic and in the spirit of solidarity, it is imperative for us to join forces and address the multi-faceted impact of the crisis and focus on protecting populations in our member countries. COVID-19 is a game-changer for Digital Transformation. The increasing need for higher technology capabilities to connect businesses, customers, and supply networks is fast-tracking the world into digitalization. He concluded the interactive session by emphasizing that the ICD member countries need to focus on this effort and unlock the potential of SMEs with innovative solutions.

The purpose of the webinars is to promote and strengthen organizations and professionals. Besides the promotion of this growing phenomenon, the aim of the webinar series is also to acknowledge the need of giving hype to the system beyond any political and religious refrains. The initiative of the webinar series is also included to spread the awareness among general public and professionals of different industries including banking, Takaful, microfinance, etc. The participants of the webinars from different countries of the world are learning about Islamic finance. The demand for Islamic finance is increasing enormously and many new markets are seen to be emerging on the horizon in the world, there is a need to uplift the knowledge and understanding about this industry focusing on various aspects of the industry.

Muhammad Zubair, Global CEO of AlHuda CIBE said that Islamic finance gaining momentum exponentially and securing a prominent place in the globe especially after the recent financial crisis. The emergence of the Islamic finance industry is high due to its sustainability and viability. He appreciated ICD working hard to strengthen the Islamic finance industry during the COVID-19 situation.

ICD was established in 1999 to support the economic development of its member countries and now has an authorized capital of $4 billion. Currently, the shareholders of ICD are the IsDB, 55 Islamic countries, and five public financial institutions. ICD fosters sustainable economic growth in its 55 member countries by financing projects which are selected based on their contribution to economic development.

Mastercard partners with Faysal Bank to expand digital payments in Pakistan

Mastercard has expanded on its existing strong partnership with Faysal Bank through an agreement that will further support the digitization of the payments infrastructure and accelerate the growth of digital transactions in Pakistan – a focus area which has the potential to boost Pakistan’s GDP by up to 7% according to McKinsey Consulting.

Mastercard already had credit issuance with Faysal Bank in place and with the recent agreement, the Bank can also issue Mastercard debit cards and enable Mastercard QR on the Faysal Bank digital app. Additionally, Mastercard will bring virtual cards to Pakistan, helping provide additional peace of mind to online shopping. Faysal Bank will help enable this functionality for other banks across the country.

“Partnerships are the building blocks of stronger payment ecosystems that connect more people to safe and secure payments. Our continued collaboration with Faysal Bank is great news for Pakistan’s payment infrastructure, and with every new card issued and QR transaction made, we are one step closer to a world where more opportunities can be embraced without the burden of cash,” said Atyab Tahir, Mastercard’s Country Manager for Pakistan.

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Mastercard and enhance our product offering for customers in Pakistan. As a leading Bank in the country, we remain focused on digital growth, seamless user experiences, which increase convenience and look at this partnership to increase the reach and accessibility of digital payments in the country,” said Yousuf Hussain, President and CEO of Faysal Bank.

Mastercard is ambitiously forging partnerships with banks and mobile network operators across the Middle East & Africa to deliver value-added payment solutions that are making access to digital transactions easier and safer for more people. Earlier this year the technology leader made a global commitment to help bridge the digital divide by bringing 1 billion people into the digital economy by 2025.

IBA Karachi launches master of science in finance program

The IBA Karachi is pleased to announce the launch of Master of Science in Finance program commencing in Fall 2020. The MS leading to PhD program will be spread over 3 semesters with a total of 36 credit hours. The program is aimed to facilitate students with business as well as non-business background.

Chairperson, Department of Finance, Dr. Ahmad Junaid highlighted that the program is structured to aid students who wish to excel in corporate sector as well as help those who wish to pursue an academic career. Dr. Junaid explained that students who wish to take the corporate route will opt for a real-life project while students with academic route in mind will choose a thesis alongside their course work.

Commenting on the efficacy of the program, Executive Director, Dr. S. Akbar Zaidi said, “The financial sector of Pakistan has posted highest growth rates in recent past. However, the percentage of banked population and capitalization of stock market is still very low in comparison to the regional markets. This high growth offers new innovations in terms of financial products, institutions, and system as a whole. Hence the job market for finance specialists is continuously growing.”

The admission for the MS-Finance program is open till August 13, 2020.

With the addition of the MS-Finance program, the IBA Karachi is now offering 10 graduate programs alongside 6 undergraduate and 3 post graduate programs. Recently, a 2-year MS Data Science program was successfully launched and received an overwhelming response from the candidates.

Chairman pc appreciates FWBL for achieving tremendous growth

Muhammed Mian Soomro, Chairman Privatization Commission (Ministry of Privatization Government of Pakistan) appreciated First Women Bank Ltd. (FWBL) management’s efforts in achieving tremendous growth in all key financial indicators during the last one-and-half-year despite major challenges. He was talking to FWBL Management during a visit to FWBL Head office Karachi.

Earlier, highlighting the performance of the bank Ms. Naushaba Shahzad President & CEO, FWBL stated that the bank has shown volumetric growth in deposits and earning assets. The current management had taken various initiatives including, expansion of trade based business through on-boarding investment grade corporates and high performing SMEs. The bank focused on reducing its funding cost, rationalizing cost structure, expansion of retail customer base, re-branding its corporate image and launched internet banking and relocated key corporate branches.

As a result, the Bank’s Deposits and advances surpassed 30 years’ history. This financial turnaround is the result of Determination, Grit, Teamwork and our collective belief in the Institution, she stated.

The Privatization Commission Board Members Mr. Ashfaq Tola, Mr. Khurram Shahzad, Mr. Zafar Subhani, Mr. Jameel Ahmed, and Mr. Shahid Raza, and Mr. Nauman – senior consultants also attended the meeting.

UBL profits grow by 19pc to rs 11.4 billion

United Bank Limited (UBL) recorded a year on year growth of 19% in Profits After Tax (PAT) for the half year ended June 30, 2020. With strong build up in core earnings, revenues were recorded at Rs. 48.0 billion for H1’20, up 14% over H1’19. Despite inflationary pressures, the cost base remained flat versus last year at Rs. 19.2 billion, with the cost to income ratio improving from 45.8% in H1’19 to 39.9% in H1’20. This performance translates to earnings per share (EPS) of Rs. 9.31 for H1’20 (H1’19: Rs. 7.80). The bank maintained its very sound capital position with a Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 21.1% at Jun’20, well above the minimum regulatory requirement of 12.5%.

UBL is one of the largest private sector banks in Pakistan with a footprint of 1,361 branches and 1,482 ATMs located all across the country, with over 5 million branch banking customers. The bank remains fully committed to its very loyal and growing customer base, while striving to meet expectations across all delivery channels. Following the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, UBL has taken all necessary steps to ensure continued and uninterrupted services to our customers in a safe environment. Despite the challenges that the pandemic posed, over 95% of branches remained open for business in this difficult period. This was made possible by the unwavering dedication of our most valuable asset, our staff.

During the second quarter of 2020, UBL crossed a landmark deposit level of Rs. 1.5 trillion. Domestic deposits closed at Rs. 1.3 trillion, growing by 10% over Dec’19, a net increase of Rs. 128 billion. This enabled the bank to grow its deposits market share to well over 8%. Islamic Banking continues to gain momentum with a footprint of 100 branches as well as 162 Islamic banking windows. UBL’s portfolio of Islamic deposits now stands at Rs. 98 billion, with 20% growth over Dec’19. The bank maintained its strategic relationship across the world as the preferred bank for overseas Pakistanis, bringing in home remittances of over USD 6 billion in the last one year, with a market share of over 25%.

UBL remains at the forefront of providing innovative and unique solutions, aimed at making banking easier and accessible for everyone. Building on our digital strategy, we aim to transform our products and processes, with an end state of developing a wider payment ecosystem for the country. Our UBL Digital app. has been gaining a very positive response, with over 1 million customers acquired over the last one year. Furthermore, our branchless banking proposition, UBL Omni, is playing a prominent role in promoting greater financial inclusion in the country, and continues to be a market leader in providing basic banking services to the large unbanked population. The Omni ‘Dukaan’ network extends to around 35,000 agents spanning over 1,400 cities and towns.

UBL’s net advances stood at Rs. 585 billion as at Jun’20 (Dec’19: Rs. 636 billion). The bank’s loan book is driven by the domestic Corporate Banking Group, maintaining a quality portfolio across diverse industries, which includes fertilizers, chemicals, engineering, telecom and pharmaceuticals. Led by autos financing, the domestic consumer loan portfolio stood at Rs. 16 billion. The bank is also an active player in the SME and agri-lending space, with approximately half of our branches dedicated to rural areas. The bank also remains a key partner to large corporate and public sector organizations in meeting their cash management needs.

As the bank announced strong results for the half year ended June 30, 2020, UBL’s new President and CEO Mr. Shazad Dada said, “It is indeed an honor to be given the responsibility of leading such a premier institution like UBL. I thank the Chairman and the entire Board for placing their trust in me to lead their organization. It is the hard work and dedication of the UBL team which has enabled the bank to grow into a very strong franchise over the years. As we explore the next phase of growth, our future strategy would be driven by the needs of our customers, aspiration to build the highest level of service standards, while leading the digital transformation of financial services in Pakistan. We believe that there is a huge opportunity to grow across all core segments driven by our drive for innovation and leadership position in digital banking.”

Mian Zahid suggests reforming in some sectors can help save Rs 3 trillion annually

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel Sr. Vice Chairman, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said the government can save Rs3 billion annually by paying little attention to some sectors.

Paying attention to reforms in the bleeding power sector, state-run sick units, international trade, FBR and expenditures can help the government break the begging bowl and put the country on the path to progress, he said.

Talking to the business community, Mian Zahid Hussain said that these sectors are inflicting losses to the tune of trillions of rupees while the gap is filled through loans and some of the burden is transferred to masses, which is unsustainable.

The former minister noted reforms will strengthen local currency, boost production and exports and the central bank will be able to offer low interest rates triggering productivity and jobs.

He said that the government and IMF agreed on spending Rs503 billion to keep sick enterprises running but the government ended up spending double amount. This tantamount to keep many corrupt and incompetent in jobs on the cost of masses which is intolerable.

He said that power sector is wasting trillions but the government is ignoring reforms and increasing tariff strangulating the economy.

Similarly, billion have been spent on reforming FBR but to no avail and this department always prefer to burden masses while ignoring expansion in the tax net.

The government seems less interested in reviving sick units and boost tax income by netting untaxed and more interested in finding shortcuts to the existing problems, he said.

Business and tax experts examine Punjab’s budget 20-21, share future-focused recommendations
  • Tax harmonisation issue likely to be resolved within the Q1 of FY20-21, says Finance Secretary Punjab

Leading representatives from the business community, professional bodies and government sat together at a high-level virtual post-budget seminar themed ‘Economic Impact, Harmonisation and Future Orientation’ to examine the Punjab’s provincial Budget 2020-21 and identified economic opportunities and shared forward-thinking recommendations.

The online seminar was organised by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) with representatives from Lahore Tax Bar Association (LTBA), Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA), Institute of Cost Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMA Pakistan), and Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI).

Secretary Finance Punjab, Muhammad Abdullah Khan Sumbal, was the Chief Guest at the event who shared the government’s perspective and answered the concerns shared by the business community and tax professionals during a one-on-one question and answer session.

The seminar also included a highly interactive, future-focused panel conversation moderated by the Member of ACCA’s Global Tax Forum, and the Chair ACCA MNP & Tax Committee, Omer Zaheer Meer FCCA, featuring contributions from following senior Conversation Leaders: Javed Ahmed, Tax Economist, Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA), Kashif Anwar, Chairman – Standing Committee on Taxation, Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), Khurram Shahbaz Butt, President, Lahore Tax Bar Association (LTBA), Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan, and Zia-Ul-Mustafa, President, ICMA Pakistan.

Emphasising on the need for the harmonisation of federal, provincial taxes, ACCA’s head of Pakistan, Sajjeed Aslam stressed, “To make it easy for the services sector to keep creating job opportunities for the country’s youth and attract foreign direct investment, there’s an urgent need for policy makers to truly understand the real needs of this sector and provinces need to introduce a mechanism to facilitate the adjustment of tax refunds and bring harmonisation in tax rates across all provinces.”

In his address, Muhammad Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Secretary Finance Punjab, shared, “Despite the fact that working in the IMF regime remains challenging that requires significant revenue generation and expenditure management, the Punjab’s budget 2020-21 is business-friendly and forward-thinking and contains inputs from all major stakeholders. The provincial government is determined to support the private sector to enable them to create new jobs, and consistent with federal government’s efforts, we’re heavily facilitating the construction sector. Considerable efforts are being made to ensure ease of doing business in Punjab. We’re the first province to give zero rating to Public Private Partnerships showing our desire to support the private sector. We’re working towards broadening of sales tax base and actively engaging with federal and provincial counterparts to ensure harmonisation and cooperation.”

The Finance Secretary also shared that the government feels Human Development (HD) is a more effective indicator compared to Economic Growth (EG), therefore social development projects to remain its priority with major investments in education and health.

He also shared his hope that the tax harmonisation issue will be resolved within the first quarter of the current FY and we can expect reaching some level of consensus between federation and provinces to devise a workable framework accommodating different views.

Javed Ahmed shared that PRA is moving with pace toward digitisation to facilitate taxpayers and is committedly working to remove impediments.

The President of LTBA, Khurram Shahbaz questioned the introduction of regressive measures like attaching credit facilities and encouraged government to actively engage with professionals to ensure progressive legislations.

Representing the business community, Kashif Anwar shared the difficulties that businesses are facing and recommended business-friendly initiatives with focus on providing more value to taxpayers.

Attendees appreciated the role of ACCA in super-connecting all the stakeholders and facilitating an action-oriented conversation to support policy makers to directly engage with the business community and create a conducive environment for commercial activity and corporate sector innovation.

Standard Chartered with sightsavers contributes more than $55,000 for covid-19 relief projects in Pakistan

Standard Chartered, in partnership with Sightsavers International, the Bank’s Seeing is Believing programme implementation partner, is supporting the Pakistani community during these challenging times by supporting various relief projects.

To minimise the risks of COVID-19 for health care professionals in Pakistan, funds allocated will support the safety of frontline health professionals dealing with patients in project locations in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, operating in ways that are consistent with WHO guidelines.

Commenting on this, Ms. Khadija Hashimi, Head of Corporate Affairs and Brand & Marketing, said: “We are proud of the impact Standard Chartered’s Seeing is Believing programme has had in Pakistan. From our outreach to remote areas to focusing on diabetic retinopathy, from sponsoring cataract surgeries and spreading awareness through training lady healthcare workers to screening 1.5 million children’s eyesight, we have had a long and meaningful partnership with Sightsavers International. For us, our focus has always been the maximum benefit that we can provide the Pakistani community. This recent pandemic has caused a shift in how we extend our support to the community as we have been working to provide relief to all those impacted. Partnering with SightSavers we have been able to support the delivery of rapid and effective emergency relief that aims to address some of the key challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Commenting on this, Ms. Munazza Gillani, Country Director Sightsavers said: “These PPE kits mainly includes gloves, medical masks, goggles, face shields, shoe covers, gowns and aprons and will be utilized for the most essential health care services in general and eye care services in particular for sight-threatening emergencies. The kits are procured through coordinated efforts with provincial health departments (consistent with international supply chain management standards) and with relevant provincial government coordination mechanisms. This generous support of Standard Chartered safeguarding the frontline medical staff is greatly appreciated by the provincial health department and implementing partner hospitals.”

The Seeing is Believing, journey in Pakistan is truly inspirational, impacting over 12 million beneficiaries. Through the various projects, the Seeing is Believing programme has helped eradicate upto 36% of avoidable blindness in Pakistan. Standard Chartered has impacted over 12 million beneficiaries across Pakistan. The Bank also employs 25 visually impaired employees who are a critical part of its workforce.

K-Electric successfully closes Rs25 billion largest-ever sukuk issue in Pakistan’s private sector

K-Electric (KE) is pleased to announce the successful closure of its PKR 25 billion Sukuk which is the largest Sukuk issue in the private sector of Pakistan. With oversubscription of IPO portion of Sukuk by almost 2.5 times, the power utility was able to close the Sukuk subscription on 3rd August 2020, more than two weeks ahead of schedule. This is testament to the continued investor confidence in K-Electric’s robust investment plan under which USD 2 billion will be spent across Karachi’s energy value chain over the next 3 years; including establishment of a 900 MW state-of-the-art RLNG-fired power plant and downstream transmission and distribution upgrades. Supported by timely regulatory and governmental approvals, these investments will shift Karachi into a power surplus position through the addition of close to 2100 MW additional power supply by 2023.

Out of the targeted PKR 25 billion, KE had earlier raised PKR 23.7 billion via a pre-IPO (Initial Public Offering). The remaining amount (PKR 1.3 billion) was offered through IPO to the general public, with a minimum subscription of PKR 5,000 per certificate. With a seven year tenor, inclusive of a two-year grace period and a AA+ accreditation from the VIS Credit Rating Company Limited, the issue offers a lucrative return to its investors. Listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange, the Sukuk will provide a trading platform for investors during the life of the instrument, with Arif Habib Limited acting as the Market Maker and Consultant to the Issue. The structure of the Sukuk has been approved by an independent Shariah Advisory Board. Habib Bank Limited and National Bank of Pakistan are the structuring agents for the Issue.

With this successful closure, KE management extends appreciation towards its valued investors for their continued confidence in the utility and its ability to provide continued returns to them and customers at large. This Sukuk issue will also contribute towards the increased use of Shariah compliant financial instruments in Pakistan’s capital markets. KE has previously launched four Sukuk issues. The last Sukuk issue of PKR 22 billion, issued in 2015, was also the largest issue in the private sector of Pakistan at the time.

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