Jazzcash and KASB securities join hands to promote retail investment
JazzCash, Pakistan’s leading digital payments platform, and KASB Securities, the country’s leading brokerage firm, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote retail investment by easing access to investment products and stock market trading. The MoU was signed by Erwan Gelebart, CEO, JazzCash and Ali Farid Khwaja, Chairman, KASB Securities during a ceremony at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), last week.
As per the MoU, KASB Securities will assist JazzCash in offering its customers investment access to stocks, exchange traded funds, gold, government bonds and mutual funds. JazzCash will also work towards integrating KASB Securities’ popular investment application, KTrade, and KASB Varsity, a financial education platform. These new services will be available to JazzCash customers through its app in the second quarter of this year.
This unique collaboration aims to increase financial inclusion and the retail investor base, as currently less than 0.1% of the population has invested in stocks and mutual funds with very limited access to investment products and financial education.
Speaking about the initiative, Erwan Gelebart, CEO, JazzCash said, “With more than 12 million monthly active users, JazzCash has played a pivotal role in providing safe, reliable and convenient financial services to the masses. By leveraging our technology and a customer-centric approach coupled with KASB Securities’ market expertise, now we are aiming to enable millions of people to start trading to help foster a culture of investment in Pakistan.”
According to Ali Farid Khwaja, Chairman, KASB Securities, “At KASB, our mission is to bring the best investment products, market access and information to the citizens. Until now this access has been limited to only large institutions and high net worth investors. We think our partnership with JazzCash will deepen financial penetration and help Pakistanis make better financial decisions. We believe this is a major milestone for the country’s capital markets’ development.”
Exports, remittances and revenue should be increased to reduce borrowing: 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 a slight reduction in government borrowing has been noticed.
The government has borrowed Rs899 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal pushing debt to s24.11 billion while its favourite tool remained Pakistan Investment Bonds, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the current government on average borrowed Rs397.60 billion during the last 28 months but now its reliance on borrowing has reduced to some extent.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that dependence on the loans can only be reduced if production, exports and remittances are boosted while tax net is expanded.
He noted that the FBR revenue target was set at Rs4.9 trillion for the current fiscal. During the first six months, FBR was able to collect Rs2.2 trillion while it has to collect Rs2.7 trillion during the next six months which seems ambitious.
The government should reduce the tax target by Rs400 billion otherwise FBR will be compelled to pressurise the existing taxpayers and block refunds which will hit economic activities.
He said that the revenue shortfall should not be bridged with another mini-budget as masses are not prepared for it.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that FBR paid refunds worth Rs53 billion in the first six months of the last fiscal which has been increased to Rs102 billion during the ongoing year.
This momentum should not be disturbed at any cost, he demanded.
Dawlance pledges one million rupee grant for Habib university’s student fund
The No.1 home-appliances brand of Pakistan – Dawlance has now pledged One million Rupees to the ‘Post-Covid Student Support Fund’ at Habib University. This contribution is a part of the ‘Dawlance for Humanity’ initiative, which is currently providing post-Covid relief for deserving students and other affected communities, all over the country.
A graceful ceremony was recently held at the Habib University, where the grant of One million Rupees was presented to Habib University’s Chief Executive Officer – Mr. Parvez Ghias. At the ceremony, Dawlance’s leadership also shared their vision and also informed the audience about the initiative of ‘Dawlance for Humanity’ under which Dawlance has been pledging support to the community and playing its role in society. Dawlance as a responsible brand was also rewarded with the ‘Trusted Work Place’ certification by based on safety standards of products, work-environment, and services of Dawlance.
The Chief Executive Officer of Dawlance — Umar Ahsan Khan stated that: “Over the years, Dawlance has launched several resourceful initiatives that reflect our strong commitment towards social-development. This progressive enterprise is elevating the quality of life and the standards of health and education for the masses. It is also nurturing revolutionary technologies that promise conservation of energy, for environmental sustainability, along with compliance to the global best-practices. Dawlance believes that the corporate sector must create awareness and contribute towards saving the world from global challenges like Covid-19.”
Responding to a question, the CEO of Habib University — Mr. Parvez Ghias said: “I would like to express my gratitude for this generous contribution and financial support from Dawlance. It will enable higher education for many more students, who have the intelligence, but not the resources to earn a university degree. It is a noble gesture to provide more educational opportunities for the deprived segments, as we must nurture a more qualified generation of professionals, for the future.”
Dawlance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the 2nd largest manufacturer in Europe – Arcelik, Turkey. Its parent-company also supports social-development, education, health, empowerment and poverty-alleviation, on a global scale. During the COVID-19 threat, all its subsidiaries are being inspired and supported to enforce safe-practices to prevent the spread of this pandemic.
K-Electric BQPS-III first turbine commissioning on fast track
K-Electric’s flagship 900 MW power plant, BQPS-III is progressing on fast track and the Gas Turbine, Generator and Heat Recovery Boiler for the first unit of 450MW have arrived at the power utility’s Bin Qasim Power Complex. Steam Turbine and Transformers for the first unit are on the way to the site. All relevant civil works are progressing swiftly for the installation with the target of ensuring that the first unit is ready to be commissioned by the summer of 2021, and the second unit of 450 MW by the end of the year.
The RLNG-based power plant will go a long way in meeting Karachi’s power demand and ensuring the city and its industries stay energized to play their due role in the national economy.
The addition of the 900MW RLNG Power Plant will increase the power utility’s generation capacity, efficiency, and reliability. The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has also recently approved the modification in the generation license of K-Electric, with the addition of the 900 MW RLNG powered BQPS-III to the power utility’s generation capacity. The power plant is being built as per the power utility’s business plan, approved under the Multi Year Tariff for the control period 2017-2023.
Moonis Alvi, CEO K-Electric said the project is a major private sector investment in the country’s power sector. “In addition to bridging the demand for electricity, this plant will also enable us to gradually phase out some units of the aging and less efficient BQPS I plant, which have been in service for more than 30 years. The BQPS-III would result in lower import costs for the government, affordable power for consumers and a much smaller carbon footprint as compared to furnace oil power plants, and K-Electric is committed to commissioning the project as per planned timelines. I am confident that we will continue to have the support of the government and other stakeholders since there is no doubt that the upcoming 900MW RLNG power plant is very crucial for Karachi.”
While the approval of the 900 MW plant is a vital element towards meeting Karachi’s growing power demands, other commitments also need to be fulfilled in a timely manner for this reality to be realized. Heads of Agreement with Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) for supply of 150 mmcfd of gas for BQPS-III has already been signed, subsequently negotiations on the Gas Sale Agreement (GSA) have reached to the advance stage and any potential hurdles need to be resolved as per past commitments by the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE).
The power utility appreciates the decision of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to approve K-Electric’s application for a license to construct and operate a gas pipeline, that will supply Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) for the upcoming RLNG-based 900 MW BQPS-III power plant and supplementing fuel requirement of the power plants located at its Bin Qasim Power Complex. This is a very positive development for KE as the grant of the license by OGRA is a key step in ensuring that the upcoming BQPS III power plant receives the right amount of gas, at the right pressure. This milestone will go a long way in helping bridge the supply-demand gap in Karachi in the years to come.
The 900 MW RLNG based plant and its timely completion is just one step towards keeping Karachi energized. Further, keeping in view surplus of power in national grid, KE would off-take additional supply of 1,400 MW from National Grid to mitigate demand supply gap in future. In this regard, subsequent to CCOE decision in June 2020 for Approval of Supply of Additional Power to KE from National Grid, KE is engaged in negotiations with the CPPA for procurement of this additional 1,400 MW from the National Grid under a long-term Power Purchase Agency Agreement (PPAA). This will be in addition to the existing supply 650 MW from the National Grid. Additional Supply of 1,400 MW will be procured in phases and the first phase will include 450 MW starting from April 2021 after the completion of rehabilitation works on Jamshoro-KDA transmission lines and NKI cross tripping tests. Subsequently in the next phases (2022-2023), completion of Dhabeji and KKI Grid along with transmission lines (Interconnection Facilities) would also be required for complete evacuation of 1,400 MW from the National Grid. NTDC’s support for timely completion of Interconnection Facilities will be of immense importance.
While, K-Electric is fully committed to its future planned investments, sustainable resolution of the government receivables issue which have reached to an unsustainable position and timely approvals by NEPRA for quarterly tariff adjustments and mid-term petition, remain critical to the execution of these planned investments to ensure smooth supply of power to Karachi. K-Electric is confident that all concerned stakeholders will continue to lend support so that KE achieves its vision of bringing Karachi to a power surplus situation by the year 2022.
Cybercrimes becoming a national security threat, warns 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 Monday said different gangs of cybercriminals have become a national security threat.
These criminals are attacking banks, financial institutions and online business hitting confidence of masses and the business community while the institution supposed to deal with them is not very efficient.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that cybercrimes are jeopardising the future of e-commerce and branchless banking as they are easily required information from Nadra, telecom companies, banks, voter lists and union councils etc.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that black sheep in different government and private entities are selling data of masses to the criminals while it has become difficult to bring them to the book.
He noted that there is a general lack of awareness and expertise in government, semi-government and private companies including banks which is making masses an easy prey.
Many banks have been attacked by hackers but most of such cases are not reported for the sake of business and keeping the confidence of accountholders intact, he observed.
The increasing threat warrants establishment of an autonomous institution that can deal with this issue as existing infrastructure is inadequate and lacks resources as well as skills while laws are not as they should be.
He said that a report suggests that cybercrimes resulted in a loss of three trillion dollars in 2015 which will jump to 10.5 trillion dollars by 2025 making it most profitable business and more damaging than natural disasters.
Nepra unveils its csr drive ‘power with prosperity’
In a bid to introduce an inclusive development model in the power sector of Pakistan, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has envisioned developing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) culture with its CSR drive of “Power with Prosperity”. In this regard, a webinar cum seminar was hosted at NEPRA Tower on January (Monday), attended by a number of senior representatives from power industry, public and private sector entities as well as members of the Authority, Mr. Rehmatullah Baloch and Engr. Bahadur Shah.
Chairman NEPRA, Mr. Tauseef H. Farooqi in his keynote address told that the Authority is proactively working on an inclusive development model in consultation with the industry stakeholders and to learn from the already executed successful models. Unpacking the vision behind the initiative, Mr. Farooqi further elaborated that with the proactive CSR approach, NEPRA envisioned to transform the socio-economic landscape of Pakistan by bringing about the most efficient and fair business practices to ensure affordable, reliable, and sustainable power services with the active engagement and development of local communities. He expressed the intend to create buy-in and broad-based acceptance of NEPRA’s CSR strategy by providing a platform to the licensees to execute inclusive and participatory development models so that the power becomes means to bring prosperity. He further said that Engro Energy Limited (EEL) is the CSR champion and a trendsetter in the power sector of Pakistan and now is the right time to learn from its experience and share further with the CSR intenders of the power industry.
Detailing upon the philosophy behind Engro’s inclusive development model, Engro Energy Limited (EEL) Chief Executive Officer, Ahsan Zafar Syed said that the recipe for a successful CSR model is a combination of partnering with stakeholders and bringing on board the social sector experts and not mere arrangements of funds. “As a responsible corporate citizen we strive to deploy inclusive business in all communities that we operate. I believe it is important that the public and private sector form alliances to ensure that together we are able to achieve common goals of uplifting communities and benefitting the underprivileged. However, the most challenging part of executing a successful model is to ensure the sustainability of the development efforts through innovation and adoption of an institutional approach to CSR,” he added.
NEPRA CSR Consultant, Huma Zafar shared CSR strategy that provides a roadmap for all licensees on how to ensure that electric power brings prosperity in Pakistan at the community level. She further added that their CSR stands on pillars of Compliance and Proactive Approach so that the licensees are facilitated to opt minimum standards of inclusive development model. She quoted the Power Policy, 2015’s section 12(xi) and 12 (xiv) which binds the power sector stakeholders including generation companies and provinces to undertake CSR activities within their project areas. She further elaborated that undertaking CSR activities manifest the social responsiveness of the companies, however, the phenomenon spans over a time period of 100 years starting as a way of doing charity to making companies rethink business ethics and aligning their strategy to the triple bottom line (People, Planet, and Profit). While sharing CSR trends, she elaborated that currently all CSR activities are being undertaken at self-discretion and without any dedicated facilitating arm of the federal and provincial agencies, and the approach towards CSR is normally seen to be reactive and primitive. However, being a socially responsive power sector regulator, NEPRA is ready to play the role of enabler for the execution of meaningful CSR through its licensees to achieve the objective of inclusive development aligning CSR goals with United Nations-Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) 2030. Last but not the least, she shared the proactive response received from the key players in the power sector as well as local and global development organizations to join hands with NEPRA for impactful CSR programs creating difference at the national level to improve Pakistan’s rank at human development index.
Chief Executive Officer of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC), Syed Abul Fazal Rizvi who is also heading the Thar Foundation said, CSR has now evolved to engender stakeholder capitalism and not shareholder capitalism. “The real stakeholders of the development of our project are people of Thar who must achieve the economic gains of the development taking place in the area,” he said. “Thar Foundation has set up a target to make Islamkot Taulka, our primary beneficiary area, Pakistan’s first UN-SDG compliant area by 2024,” Rizvi added.
Representative of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Dr. Sara also highlighted their contributions towards the socio-economic uplift of the local community in Mianwali and Karachi districts. She added that their CSR commitments include employment for the local communities, mitigating social and environmental impacts, and contributions in the health and education sector making a huge difference in the lives of local communities.
IHIG Pakistan to go for public listing, IPO in 2022
International Hospitality Investment Group (IHIG) Pakistan, a subsidiary of IHIG UK, is all set to be the first hospitality and fractional investment company aiming to go Public Listed in Pakistan, and with plans to launch its IPO in 2022.
IHIG is Pakistan’s first Vacation/Fractional Ownership company headquartered in London, and is primarily involved in development and marketing of shared ownership properties in highly desired locations in Pakistan. Being the only Vacation/Fractional Ownership company of the country, IHIG provides exclusive services of international standards to its customers with a strong commitment to its values of reliability, trust and customer satisfaction.
After great success in Vacation Ownership, IHIG has brought the concept of Fractional Ownership to meet the new consumer demand for generating recurring passive income, and extended its investment portfolio in the property sector in Pakistan with its mall project offering. This project is marketed and managed by its Fractional Ownership division of IHIG.
Briefing about their plans, Mr. Noorul Asif, CEO IHIG Pakistan, said; “IHIG has received a tremendous response for the Fractional Ownership program. An IPO will only add more credibility and transparency that will allow the concept to grow faster.”
It is noteworthy that IHIG is now growing this unique concept of Fractional Ownership in Pakistani market at a fast pace. Families are getting aware about the product and are showing keen interest by becoming part of IHIG Family to secure their future.
In future the company plans to expand its portfolio along with increasing its business size. IHIG will spread out to the main cities of Pakistan, i.e. Lahore and Islamabad.
Careem partners with UNDP
Careem has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to raise awareness on gender sensitization, traffic rules and civic sense through a series of animated videos. The videos are going to be used for engagement of youth on social issues as well as being incorporated in the onboarding process for training Careem’s Captains at time of registration.
The animated videos were developed in close collaboration with the objective of educating the society and raising awareness of the issues which commonly exist but are tabooed.
Commenting on the collaboration, Mohsin Zaka, General Manager Ride Hailing, Careem Pakistan said: “Our efforts for ensuring safety at Careem never stops. We are constantly working to enhance the overall experience for our customers. That being said, Captains are an integral part of the Careem family and we will continue to work on their capacity building by continuously educating them. This partnership will act as a catalyst in providing such training to our deserving Captains.”
Laura Sheridan, Programme Specialist, Youth Empowerment Programme, UNDP said: “Part of UNDP Youth Empowerment Programme’s mandate is to engage youth in positive discourse and develop content for promoting positive social messaging. UNDP would hence like to thank Careem for helping develop these educational videos for dissemination among its Captains. In particular, we are pleased to know that the gender sensitization awareness video has already been included as a permanent part of daily Captain training at Careem.”
Careem has always been at the forefront of coming up with initiatives aimed at providing the utmost safety for not just its customers but also its captains. Careem also hosts a number of in-app safety features including call masking, live-tracking and sharing of rides, a safety button and a 24/7 care centre.
Careem which recently became a Super App, has more than 600,000 Captains registered on its platform so far. Transforming into a Super App; Careem offers multiple opportunities as it expands its services from mobility of people to adding mobility of things as well as mobility of money including food, daily essential deliveries, peer to peer credit transfer and mobile top-ups.
TPL Corp acquires additional stake in TPL properties
TPL Corp, Pakistan’s leading tech conglomerate, has acquired an additional stake in TPL Properties, the tech giant’s emerging real-estate property development arm. With a 51% stake post-acquisition, TPL Corp and its sponsors have become the majority shareholders in TPL Properties.
According to the notice on Pakistan Stock Exchange, TPL Corp acquired 17 million shares at a price of PKR 12 per share from the Alpha Beta Capital Markets (Private) Limited. The announcement comes four years after TPL Properties’ Initial Public Offering in June, 2016.
Founded in 2007, TPL Properties invests, purchases, develops, sells and leases real estate assets in the commercial and residential asset classes. The Company is penetrating aggressively into the market with multiple development projects in the pipeline. The sale of TPL Properties’ flagship project, Centrepoint, enabled distributable gain on the investment property and opened new avenues for investment. The Company’s ﬁrst high-end residential project, One Hoshang (LEED Gold Targeting project) is already underway. Sindh’s first Technology Park is also under development by the real estate planner and it will feature a high-end IT infrastructure, catering to world-class tech companies looking for an environment that fosters innovation and collaboration.
On the occasion, Ali Jameel, CEO TPL Corp commented, “This strategic acquisition shows our relentless support to the Group. It will strengthen TPL’s position as the region’s premier property developer and generate favorable returns for our shareholders and portfolio companies.”
NBP and Al-Ghazi tractors in deal to promote farm mechanization
11A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Al-Ghazi Tractors Ltd (Al-Ghazi) for collaboration between the two organizations for development and promotion of farm mechanization on a nationwide basis. The objectives of this MOU include increased possibility of disbursement of institutional credit for tractors, implements i.e. cultivators, disk harrows, rotavators, combine harvesters etc. to eligible farmers and service providers, improved capacity building of farmers for adoption of mechanized farming in Pakistan, improved financial literacy of farmers and entrepreneurs with a view to encourage them to avail credit from NBP.
Al-Ghazi is one of the largest tractor manufacturing companies in Pakistan and is listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange Ltd. Its history goes back to 1983. In 1991, Dubai’s Al-Futtaim Group took over management control.
NBP and Al-Ghazi will cooperate to identify and carry out joint marketing activities to support tractor purchases by farmers. Such activities may include joint sales calls to prospective customers and trade show / seminar support and participation.
NBP is Pakistan’s largest public sector commercial bank, providing a diverse range of products and services to the agriculture sector. The Bank is taking initiatives for increasing market penetration and growth in the priority sectors of the economy by developing and strengthening value chains between producers, processors, exporters and financial institutions. The Inclusive Development Group (IDG) within NBP is spearheading these initiatives and is engaged in focusing on financial inclusion of underserved sectors that have significant business potential.
The expected outcome of the collaboration between NBP and Al-Ghazi is to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders and contribute to the growth in Pakistan’s economy by enabling modernization of farming.
Economic situation improving due to reduced duties, says 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 a reduction in import duties on 152 items coupled with other positive steps are pushing economic activities.
More incentives are needed to spur growth otherwise the budget deficit will cross the target of seven percent to eight percent, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that economic activities are better as compared to the last year but a reduction in taxes and incentives are needed while the ritual of continued hike in energy prices should be abandoned.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that continued and dependable supply of gas and electricity should be ensured otherwise all the gains can be reversed.
Moody’s Investor Service has projected a growth of 1.5 percent against the World Banks projection of 0.5 percent. Central bank things growth would be somewhere between 1.5 to 2.5 percent while the government is confident for achieving growth of 2.1 percent.
He noted that even if the government achieves growth target it would be insufficient to provide relief to the masses and economy or make for virus losses.
He said that banks are also cautious in extending loans to the private sector as a threat of defaults is looming and repayment deadline in reaching closer.
The government should revisit all the important policies and undertake reforms in critical sectors so that economy could be stabilised on a sustainable basis, he demanded.