Virus to hit global GDP by $12 trillion, says Mian Zahid Hussain
Chairman of National Business Group of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said global GDP will take a hit of $12 trillion due to the pandemic during 2020-21.
Developed economies will be able to absorb the shock but poor countries are unable to face it as their income has been compromised by the coronavirus, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the response of developed nations to the problem is unsatisfactory while that of private creditors is highly unsympathetic.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that rich nations have extended the duration of repayments but private creditors are unmoved which can fan poverty and conflicts while destabilising the global economic system.
He said that developed nations have extended repayment of $31 billion of loans but the private creditors of rich nations are not ready to waive loans or extend repayment deadlines.
He informed that the major part of the debt of the developing nations has been borrowed from the private sector of the western economies which is not payable in these circumstances.
Poor nations cannot ask the private creditors to reschedule loans as it will hit their credit rating which will result in more problems, he added.
The business leader said that the IMF has 2814 metric tonnes of gold worth $175 billion while it has made a profit of 38 billion dollars on the gold due to rising prices.
IMF can consider selling ten percent of the gold stock to provide relief to 73 distressed poor nations which are in the bad need of help, he said.
Gerry’s dnata has formed a multiyear partnership with Virgin Atlantic Airways in Pakistan
Gerry’s dnata, a joint venture of Ground Handling Services between dnata Dubai and Gerry’s Group Pakistan, announces its partnership with Virgin Atlantic Airways by becoming the airline’s preferred Ground Services Provider (GSP) for Lahore-London and Islamabad-London/Manchester flight operations in Pakistan.
Virgin Atlantic Airways is scheduled to operate this week from Lahore and Islamabad with direct flights to London. In its extended plans, Manchester route will be opened for direct flights from Islamabad. Whereas, Virgin Atlantic Cargo had stepped into Pakistani territory on 8th December 2020.
Haris Raza, CEO, Gerry’s dnata said “We have a firm commitment to delivering high-quality and safe ground-handling services in Pakistan which is fundamental to our success in this market. We have proudly played an integral part in keeping the global supply chain going during 2020 and are thrilled to welcome Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Atlantic Cargo to the Gerry’s dnata family in Pakistan with our full suite of ground handling and cargo services.”
At the onset of COVID-19, several airlines with well-established operations in Pakistan made a strategically benefitting decision to switch to Gerry’s dnata services. These airlines include Etihad Airways which previously worked with a small local player, Azerbaijan Airlines which resumed operations through charter services after a strategic move out of Pakistani market and Pegasus Airline, the second carrier operating out of Turkey.
Gerry’s dnata’s trajectory over the last seven years tells a compelling story of transformation, making it an uncontested leader in the ground handling services market of Pakistan. With a clientele base of 13 scheduled passenger airlines, 10 cargo airlines and more than 30 charter operators as partners, the ground handling services landscape is dominantly secured by Gerry’s dnata. Currently, it provides its services to 07 stations across Pakistan and holds the accolade of being the only transformational market player with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning backed cargo warehouse operation system.
Jazz World becomes Pakistan’s largest local app with 7 million monthly active users
Jazz World, the self-care platform of Pakistan’s number one 4G operator and the largest internet and broadband service provider, has crossed seven million monthly active users. This milestone cements Jazz World as the largest local app in Pakistan.
Jazz World is an online customer engagement platform that allows subscribers to check prepaid balance and postpaid bill, recharge their mobile balance, pay phone bills, and access usage history along with information on the best packages. The platform also allows users to submit complaints, buy SIMs, stream games, and receive information on seasonal content and discounts. Innovative new features include the ability to let users create their own preferred bundles, share balance with friends and family and save their credit/debit cards for ease of payments.
This is a translation of Jazz’s customer-centricity ambitions into a consistent, digital experience that allows subscribers timely and effective assistance with most of their account requirements. Jazz World’s popularity has played a critical role in maintaining the connection with, and confidence in, the Jazz brand, which today serves more than 64 million subscribers.
“Jazz World is a testament to our commitment of developing best-in-class digital products to facilitate our customers. 7 million monthly active users is a big milestone and we would like to thank all our users for placing their trust in us. Jazz remains committed to providing best-in-class customer experience to our loyal users,” said Jazz Chief Digital & Strategy Officer, Aamer Ejaz.
The consistent increase in engagement comes on the back of new user feedback led, scroll-based User Interface with an intuitive design. The new-look of Jazz World is in-sync with the objective to transition from a basic customer app to a digital lifestyle partner.
The 3-day Karachi Conference 2020 online dialogues commences at IBA Karachi
The Karachi Conference 2020 Online Dialogues, in collaboration with the IBA Karachi, held its first dialogue live from the IBA-CEJ studio on Monday, December 8, 2020 on “Devotional Music and Sufi Traditions in Sindh”.
The session kicked off with an introduction by the Karachi Conference Foundation Vice-President, Dr. Hasan Ali Khan, who outlined the Karachi Conference vision and themes and briefly described the history of the conference since the last eight years.
Three eminent scholars from their respective fields presented their views on how Sufi and devotional music in Sindh can be understood and appreciated in different ways. M. Rizwanullah Khan from Karachi University provided his perspective on “Sema in the Khaneqah Nizam: Myth and Misconceptions.” Dr. Stefan Williamson Fa joined from the University of Birmingham in the UK to give a fascinating presentation on Aziz Balouch and the search for Flamenco’s sufi origins. Akhtar Dargahi, as a practicing musical maestro, explained the six different genres of Sindhi devotional music and demonstrated these through short live performances during the session. The panel discussion was chaired by Dr. Abdul Haque Chang, Assistant Professor, Social Sciences and Liberal Arts Department, IBA Karachi.
Day 2 of the dialogues revolved around “The Lesser-known Communities of Karachi” which was introduced by the Karachi Conference Foundation’s Joint secretary Aliya Iqbal Naqvi. This session was chaired and moderated Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi from LUMS university, well known for his publications on minorities.
Renowned scholars participated in this session, commencing with Professor Charles Amjad Ali from Chicago. In his talk, he openly outlined the history of minorities from the early era of Islam, wherein they were actually considered a part of the Ummah, as opposed to being outcasts, and the central role they played in the formation of early Islam.
Rumana Husain touched upon the Hindu sub-caste of the Vaghdis and regarded them as outcasts due to both heir untouchability and their religion. Also, as part of the discussion, Jurgen Schafflecher’s film, ‘Mother Calling: Kali in Karachi’ also dealt with the Vaghdis in Karachi, focusing on their ability to practice their religion in relative harmony.
The final presentation was delivered by Rumina Kermani, who spoke about the role the Parsi community played in the evolution of Karachi. She explained the great spirit of philanthropy that the community practiced, which helped the city flourish.
The three-day conference will culminate with a key note address by Mr. Arif Hasan and share his insights on urban planning of Karachi on December 10, 2020.
Collective moral and human obligation to empower women in today’s fast-paced digital age: Aamir Ibrahim
The business case for integrating women into the workforce is not as important as the human case for it. It is the collective moral and human responsibility of society to empower women. These views were shared by Aamir Ibrahim, CEO, Jazz while speaking at a webinar organized by UN Women on violence against women and the role of private sector companies.
Emphasizing the role of private sector organizations in providing opportunities to women, he said that the numbers in Pakistan need to be more encouraging when compared to other countries, and this is where the private sector can do more. By providing opportunities to women in leadership positions, more women will be encouraged and inspired to follow suit.
Discussing his aspirations for Jazz, Aamir mentioned that he is working with his team to ensure that the company becomes a role-model for instilling gender parity across each department. “In the last few years, Jazz has made gender parity a mainstream priority with a focus to create an open and equitable culture that provides greater female representation. Some of the initiatives include a hiring process that encourages women to apply, access to extended maternity leaves, and a zero-tolerance towards inappropriate conduct,” he stated.
Speaking about the professional balance that women bring to the workplace, Aamir stated, “Women influence purchase decisions irrespective of their financial pedigree. To be able to have a workforce who understands the psyche of your potential consumers makes a lot of business sense. And in my experience, companies can benefit greatly by increasing employment and leadership opportunities for women in their workforce. At Jazz, three out of the eight members of the executive leadership team are women, and some of the most talented individuals in our future leadership team are women.”
Aamir believes that with a stringent code of conduct in place and an anonymous reporting process, the company has moved beyond sexual harassment cases. “It is also imperative that leaders champion women’s rights and lead by example by setting goals and holding their top management accountable,” he added.
Aamir further emphasized the need of enforcing legal frameworks that mandate private organizations to contribute positively towards women empowerment and to have equitable gender inclusion policies at the workplace, especially when it comes to women being forced to exit on account of caregiving duties.
Discouraging private LNG imports resulting in heavy losses: Mian Zahid
Chairman of National Business Group of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said the government as well masses are facing heavy losses due to barriers in import of LNG by the private sector.
Private sector which has invested substantially is being discouraged systematically from importing LNG forcing consumers to rely on costly LNG which is taking a toll on the masses, industry and agricultural sector, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that LNG prices can come down if the private sector is allowed to import the fuel at competitive rates which will save billions while generating handsome income for the government in the shape of terminal charges.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that LNG supply chain has been made so complicated and costly which results in closure of thousands of businesses leaving millions unemployed during winter which also increases the oil import bill.
He said that the private sector can take critical decisions within hours for which the government departments take months in the process wasting billions of rupees.
The business leader noted that there is no all-encompassing LNG policy, things are unclear about extension in capacity of existing terminals and construction of a third terminal.
He said that 70 percent of the global supply is in the hands of eleven multinationals and these companies avoid countries famous for corruption therefore such countries rely on traders.
If Pakistan can attract multinationals it can result in cheap LNG for which transparency is necessary, he said.
Askari bank signs deal to offer mortgage finance facility to FGEHA
Askari Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Federal Government Employees Housing Authority (FGEHA) to provide mortgage finance facility to allottees of FGEHA.
The agreement was signed by Syed Taha Afzal — Head-Consumer Banking, Askari Bank and Mr. Tahir Naeem Akhtar — Director Finance, FGEHA.
Dr. Imran Zeb Khan — Federal Secretary for Ministry of Housing & Works, Mr. Abid Sattar — President & CEO, Askari Bank, Mr. Waseem Hayat Bajwa, DG FGEHA, Mr. Khurshid Zafar, Group Head — Corporate & Investment Banking, Askari Bank and other senior executives from both organizations were present at the occasion.
ACCA’s global survey
Contracts between public and private sectors operate with a ‘trust deficit’
Governments around the world have faced challenges with public procurement due to the COVID-19 crisis, testing their ability and capacity to react quickly and efficiently to deliver life-saving goods and services to the public, asserts a new research report from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Accountants) New Models of Public Procurement: A Tool For Sustainable Recovery.
Surveying finance professionals from both the public and private sector in over 90 markets including South Asia, ACCA’s research identifies a trust deficit between public sector buyers and private sector suppliers. Globally, only 41 per cent of private sector respondents believe the public sector can be trusted to uphold its side of the deal, compared with 60 per cent of public sector respondents stating they trust their private sector counterparts.
According to the 136 respondents across South Asia, including Pakistan, the top three challenges faced are bribery and corruption (81 per cent); underdeveloped e-Procurement systems (45 per cent) and poor payment practices by government (41 per cent). Findings also reveal that just 22 per cent of South Asia respondents said the quality of public services was good, compared with 77 per cent in the Middle East and 65 per cent of respondents in North America and Europe.
When asked about policy objectives for evaluating public procurement, fair dealing with all bidders and suppliers was viewed as important (63 per cent), followed by transparency to the public (62 per cent) and promoting ethical practices (57 per cent).
And to cope with the post COVID-19 recovery, 62 per cent said that governments should introduce procurement strategies that increase transparency in the bid selection process, with 61 per cent saying better digital solutions are needed for the whole procurement cycle and 54 per cent want to see more innovative approaches to public service delivery.
Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan, says: ‘Our report calls for procurement modernisation, with audits commonplace in all public procurement procedures, beginning as early as possible in the bid process to reduce the likelihood of corruption, while ensuring that the auditors remain independent during the process. Due to COVID-19 turbulence, another key recommendation is to use public procurement as an opportunity to keep businesses – in particular, SMEs – afloat by publishing contracts early on centralised, open databases that are accessible to all.’
Rachel Bleetman, ACCA’s Public Sector Policy and Research Manager, and co-author of the report says: ‘There’s a growing need to ensure that public spending during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic is not only made more efficient and cost-effective, but that it’s used as an opportunity to tackle some of the biggest challenges of our time – environmental catastrophe, rising social inequalities, ending corruption and meeting the needs for life-saving procurement.’
Alex Metcalfe, ACCA’s Head of Public Sector and report co-author adds: ‘Corruption costs the public sector significant sums of money every year and can create feelings of mistrust towards governments. So the role for finance professionals in helping to make, monitor and evaluate these changes is significant and, as this report demonstrates, the global finance profession is needed now more than ever to help transform how the public sector responds to the crisis.’
Rachel Bleetman concludes: ‘Across South Asia and on the global stage, there’s room for optimism here as the reforms we recommend around eliminating bribery and corruption, competition and the buyer–supplier relationship, modernisation and COVID-19 and the public procurement ‘need for speed’ will all make for stronger public procurement, which is an essential part of public sector spending that, until now, has received relatively little attention. Now’s the time for change, as history has long taught us that, out of crises, new opportunities can emerge.’
Roche diabetes care launches ‘surprisingly clever solution’ – an innovative blood glucose monitoring device accu-chek guide and mysugr app
– The Accu-Chek brand is dedicated to enabling people with diabetes live life as normally and actively as possible.
Roche Diabetes Care, the world’s pioneer in the development of blood glucose monitoring systems and a global leader for diabetes management systems, proudly launches the Accu-Chek Guide “Surprisingly Clever” blood glucose monitoring device and Pakistan’s first diabetes data management app mySugr.
The Accu-Chek portfolio never fails to offer people with diabetes and healthcare professionals with innovative products and impactful solutions for convenient, efficient, and effective diabetes management, ranging from blood glucose monitoring to da ta management.
The launch event was conducted by the famous Pakistani host Muzna Ebrahim. Pakistan’s former cricket captain and brand ambassador of Roche Diabetes Care Pakistan for over two decades, Wasim Akram was the Chief Guest at the event. The launch highlighted the effectiveness and importance of Accu-Chek Guide “Surprisingly Clever” blood glucose monitoring device and the patient-friendly MySugr App.
Accu-Chek Guide along with the MySugr App can be the best companions for diabetic patients to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle, which is highly recommended by Wasim Akram as well.
Wasim Akram who himself is also a diabetic patient, in his remarks said, “It’s an amazing product…. I am very pleased that Roche has taken such a great initiative to introduce Accu-Chek Guide in Pakistan. It is a user-friendly device to check blood glucose levels. It is surprisingly smart and clever as well.
“With its unique features, I can also use it in dark. I had an amazing personal experience using Accu-Chek Guide”, he added. Highlighting the features of the product, Wasim Akram further added, “It also has a smart pack feature that makes it spill –resistant and you can take out strips from any angle without spilling them out. Now I can conveniently apply blood sample anywhere on the yellow application area and get 10/10 accurate results.”
He further added that “Roche Diabetes Care has introduced Pakistan’s first diabetes data management app that smartly enables users to wirelessly send the readings from the Accu-Chek Guide meter to the mySugr App on their phone. This will enable me and other diabetic patients to keep track of their sugar level and make our lives hassle-free.”
Talking about the usage of App Wasim Akram said, “The App generates PDF reports that can be shared with doctors via WhatsApp or email, and it also gives 24 hours, monthly, quarterly views of the results along with your estimated HbA1c as well. Moreover, it is a motivator and reminder to keep a check on your diabetes. You can get MySugr PRO free if you pair it with Accu-Chek Guide (value of $27.99)”.
A live question & answer session with health experts followed along with an attractive visual presentation highlighting why t he Accu- Chek Guide is “Surprisingly Clever ” .
The Country Head of Roche Diabetes Care in Pakistan said, “Accu-Chek Guide Surprisingly Clever that can smartly monitor blood glucose levels is highly recommended by health experts. The MySugr App is used by over 2 million people across the globe, is available in Pakistan with excellence in health care”.
UBL declared ‘Bank of the Year 2020–Pakistan’ by the banker
UBL has been recognized as the “Bank of the Year 2020-Pakistan” at the Banker Awards. The virtual awards ceremony was held on 2nd December 2020 in London.
The Banker, an affiliate of the Financial Times UK, is the world’s leading financial publication for the last 94 years. The most prestigious title in the global banking industry, the Banker Awards recognize excellence in performance, adding customer value, innovation and leadership in society. UBL has won the award, for the fourth time within a decade, on the back of its contribution, during extraordinary times owing to the pandemic, in expanding the scope of financial services in Pakistan and spearheading innovation in the local banking industry.
UBL has re-defined the way banking is done in Pakistan with several pioneering initiatives. In 2016, UBL embarked upon a futuristic digital strategy by establishing the first of its kind Digital Lab to roll out gen-next banking products and technologies. Today UBL is the fastest growing Digital Bank of Pakistan and its strides in the digitalization of banking services in Pakistan have been validated through international accolades.
From the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, UBL ensured seamless operational efficiency through its branches while giving paramount importance to customer and employee safety. Not just that, the Bank aggressively promoted its Digital Vision to further maximize customer safety and well-being. Multiple financial relief packages were offered by UBL to customers affected by the pandemic and the resultant lockdowns. As a socially responsible corporate the Bank reached out to the communities it operates in and assisted through well-planned sustainability projects.
Mr. Shazad G. Dada, President & CEO UBL, said on the occasion “Being declared the “Bank of the Year” by The Banker, the world’s leading financial publication, for the fourth time in a decade is indeed a great accomplishment. While the year has been tough and challenging given COVID-19, it has also given us ample opportunities to serve our customers more efficiently using our unparalleled digital solutions and geographical reach. I would like to thank all our stakeholders including State Bank and Government of Pakistan who have firmly supported us during these unprecedented times.”
Outdated construction methods keeping sector underdeveloped
– Govt should promote prefabricated houses: Mian Zahid Hussain
Chairman of National Business Group of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said the old-fashioned construction process is keeping this industry from development.
The industry cannot benefit from a Rs100 billion construction package unless modern methods are adopted to save time and money, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that a project which can take five to seven years in Pakistan hardly takes a few months in other countries due to the latest technology and prefabricated material including pillars and beams.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that Pakistan is facing shortage of housing units due to its cost and risks associated with it as there is no way a person can recover his money lost to mafia.
Government should promote prefabricated houses which become liveable within a few days at a very reasonable cost.
Majority of people in Pakistan use their lifetime savings to purchase a plot or house but many end up losing their money to unscrupulous builders, he said, adding that this sector can attract investment to the tune of billions giving a boost to dozens of industries and providing employment opportunities to millions.
He said that the deadline of construction package must be extended but other issues including improving rules and regulations should not be put on the backburner.
Jazz collaborates with CDA and Activemedia to bring drive-in cinema experience to Pakistan
Jazz, Pakistan’s number one 4G operator, and the largest internet and broadband service provider is bringing the drive-in cinema experience to Pakistan in collaboration with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Activemedia, Pakistan’s top experiential marketing agency. The Jazz Drive-In Cinema will be launched in Islamabad on 18th December 2020 at the Parade Ground adjacent to Islamabad Highway. Starting as a one-month pilot in the capital, the Jazz Drive-In Cinema will also be introduced to Karachi and Lahore.
JazzCash will be the official digital payment partner for the Jazz Drive-In Cinema with all food stalls and ticket counters offering mobile payment solutions. Furthermore, JazzCash will also offer 50% cashback on tickets and food at the venue for a limited time to promote digital payments. Movies will be screened in the evenings from Friday to Sunday and will follow a week-wise theme ranging from classics to action, science fiction, fantasy, and animations – a movie for each member of the family.
Speaking about this exciting initiative, Asif Aziz, CCO – Jazz said, “Drive-in cinema is the only way to provide the big screen experience and entertainment safely with moviegoers in these changing times. We have to adapt to the new normal and as the leading technology company, Jazz is proud to bring the first of many drive-ins by deploying state-of-the-art technology to present a socially distanced cinematic experience to movie fans from the comfort and safety of their cars.”
On this occasion, spokesperson CDA said, “We applaud Jazz’s entrepreneurial spirit and support to create the ultimate drive-in experience for audiences. For many families, this is going to be the first proper outing in the last few months in a safe and comfortable environment with strict SOPs enforced given the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Being Pakistan’s top experiential marketing agency, we have always taken pride in creating something new for the consumers. With the Covid-19 outbreak followed by lockdowns, we wanted to do something in response to the temporary closure of cinemas, and in support of the government’s initiative to re-open parts of the economy safely. The new normal called for something new and this is our contribution to launch the Jazz Drive-in Cinema. We hope everyone in the family will benefit from this experience,” added Saad M. Khan, CEO – Activemedia.
K-Electric to upgrade transmission network in Balochistan service area
As part of its phase-wise plan to transform and improve its entire transmission and distribution network, K-Electric (KE) has planned the upgradation of its existing transmission network from Hub Chowki to Bela Grid. These plans will ensure greater availability and reliability of power through enhancement of transmission capacity from 66 kV to 132 kV of both the grids and transmission lines located in Bela, Uthal and Vinder.
The power utility, which is the sole electricity provider to Karachi and its surrounding areas, continuously invests in all business verticals and this phase-wise rehabilitation and upgrade will also fulfill future load-demand from the area as it continues to grow residentially, as well as industrially.
Secretary Energy, Balochistan Shehryar Taj met Moonis Alvi, CEO of KE, at the power utility’s Head Office to discuss the power utility’s phase-wise upgrade plans. The power utility and the Government Of Balochistan (GoB) also discussed the development of three solar power projects at 50 MW each, located at Bela, Uthal and Vinder. The three projects will be separately developed each as independent power producers (IPP).. KE is pursuing development of these solar projects by running a transparent process under the NEPRA Competitive Bidding Tariff Regulations 2017 whereby the tariff for these projects shall be discovered through a competitive process. The plants are expected to commence commercial operations by summer of 2023.
Moonis Alvi while reiterating KE’s commitment of improving service delivery to its customers, said, “We are committed to the provision of safe and reliable power supply, while also addressing our carbon footprint through induction of renewable and environment friendly sources of electricity. The three renewable energy power plants, once online, will generate affordable and environment-friendly electricity, which will help in the promotion of agriculture and industry, while ensuring a sustainable future. KE has already invested over PKR 330 Billion across the energy value chain since its privatization with plans to invest another over PKR 260 Billion over the next three years.” KE remains committed to its future planned investments spread across the entire power value-chain subject to required approvals. However, sustainable resolution of the government receivables issue and timely approvals by NEPRA remain critical to the execution of these planned investments.
Shehryar Taj spoke about the impact of the investment on the area and its residents; “This upgradation of power infrastructure will not only positively impact thousands of residents but is also expected to boost socioeconomic activities in and around Uthal, Bela and Vinder. The three 50 MW solar power projects are an indication of the tremendous solar power potential of Balochistan and we look forward to more such public-private partnerships in the future, which will go a long way in the socio-economic uplift of the province and its people.”
K-Electric expresses grief on the demise of Siraj Teli
KE expresses grief over Karachi’s loss of visionary and patriotic businessman, Mr. Siraj Teli. He has been an inspiration for all Karachiites. Through his work and achievements in business, Mr. Siraj Teli was among the individuals who contributed to Karachi’s position as Pakistan’s economic hub.
Expressing his deepest condolences at Mr. Teli’s passing, Moonis Alvi, CEO K-Electric said, “Mr. Siraj Teli has steadfastly advocated for an enabling ecosystem for Pakistan’s industrial hub and has been a pivotal stakeholder and business leader for Karachi in general and K-Electric specifically. We are grieved on this loss and express our deepest sympathies and support to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”