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Shell Pakistan celebrates 5 years of Shell V-Power in Pakistan

Shell V-Power is the premium fuel offered by Shell Pakistan, it comes with technology that reduces engine dirt and friction. With over 100 years of experience in fuels research and development, Shell’s scientists are behind the creation of Shell V-Power with Dynaflex Technology.

Shell V-Power has a formulation that has powerful cleaning agents to prevent engine dirt. The fuel is especially designed to help reduce wasted energy through its friction reducing molecules.

The fuel was introduced in the Pakistani market in 2016, and this year marks its 5th anniversary in Pakistan. In the last 5 years, Shell has expanded its premium fuel network and as of now, 198 Shell Retail stations across Pakistan have Shell V-Power available for customers.

Power tariff hike added pressure on masses, business community, 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 Monday dubbed continued power tariff hike as a mini-budget which is unacceptable.

Power tariff hike by Rs. 1.95 per unit will be translated into over Rs. 4 per unit after adding taxes etc. which will result in added pressure on the masses and the business community, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the decision will hit production, exports, employment and result in inflation which will reverse the recent gains on the economic front which was result of initiatives of the Prime Minister.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that power tariff hike will promote theft while masses will have to face a burden of Rs. 200 billion.

He said that now the government is not sparing lifeline customers who will pay Rs. 3.95 instead of Rs. 2 per unit. Those consuming up to 100 units will now pay Rs. 7.74 instead of 5.79 while the people consuming up to 200 units will pay Rs. 10.06 as compared to Rs. 8.11.

The consumers consuming up to 300 units will pay Rs. 12.05 per unit against the earlier price of Rs. 10.20, those consuming up to 700 units will have to pay Rs. 19.55 while they were paying Rs. 17.60 earlier while those using more than 700 units will pay Rs. 22.70.

He said that the IMF has also planned to burden masses with another Rs. 200 billion with another power tariff hike which will take place shortly.

Masses are facing the double whammy of petroleum price hike and power tariff hike, therefore, the business community reject any decision which avoids controlling line losses and theft of Rs. 400 billion to put all the burden on honest consumers. He noted that around forty-six thousand cases of power theft have been registered but not a single offender has been punished which indicate the interest of the government in providing relief to the masses.

Virtual workshops with fashion maestros presents educational training sessions

Virtual TEXPO 2021 conducted Virtual Workshops with fashion giants of Pakistan to deliver a learning experience that has been integral to the prestigious platform. Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) inaugurated the 1st International Virtual Exhibition, TEXPO 2021 on the 1st of February, held via a digital portal and was live 24/7 for 5 days.

In previous editions of TEXPO, TDAP has offered a wholesome experience of Pakistan’s fashion and textile industries with live sessions and panel discussions. TDAP adapted its learning experience into elaborate training sessions aimed at educating the audience about the labor behind bringing textile and fabric arts to life. Virtual Workshops with Maestros was conceptualized and executed by Take II PR.

Tamgha-e-Imtiaz winner Rizwan Beyg took the platform to speak about Embroidery and Embellishments, capturing past, present and the future of these handcrafts. The maestro expands on the subject with the evolution of fashion, the invention of its many tools and the practice of handcrafts.

Jewelry and Fashion designer Asim Jofa shared from his wealth of knowledge about Pakistan’s favorite textile commodity, Lawn. Jofa talks about the versatility of lawn and how this breezy summer fabric rose to unprecedented heights and transformed into luxury collections that are now catered to the world over.

Fashion designers Adnan Pardesy and Shamaeel Ansari offer a profound learning experience for budding designers who intend to explore opportunities in the international markets. The designers share what it takes to penetrate the foreign markets, insights of what kinds of products do well in exports and how local crafts can be adapted to cater to non-Pakistani markets.

Fashion designers Farida Qureshi and Wardah Saleem share their expertise of block and screen printing. Saleem discusses the extensive and elaborate process of block printing by reflecting on its history and how the practice has evolved. Saleem also divulges into Ajrak printing and its process with a peek at how the traditional art is printed onto fabric.

Designer Farida Qureshi also expands on the subject of block and screen printing, offering a look at blocks with antique art, Mughal inspired prints and various other carvings that are used in her practice.

The designers also showcased their works with models and dissected the individual elements of their creations to expand on the nuances of fashion designing.

TDAP is proud to announce that 4,700 visitors were registered on the novel digital platform of which more than 3,000 were foreign buyers. A total of 57 local businesses and fashion houses participated in the first virtual edition of TEXPO showcasing locally developed and manufactured products ranging from high-end fashion apparel, ready-made garments, home textiles, fabrics and pandemic-relevant products including personal protective equipment (PPE) and face masks. Virtual TEXPO 2021 also featured Trend Galleries to its visitors.

TEXPO delivered on its mission of boosting trade and connections of its exhibitors by establishing networks in untapped markets in Eastern Europe, Far East and Central Asia. Visitors connected with exhibitors who displayed their products in virtual stalls and conversions progressed into virtual booths to conduct B2B meetings.

About Virtual Texpo

Virtual TEXPO was conceptualized as an initiative to boost Pakistan’s textile exports and open opportunities for local businesses to connect with the international business community and grow. It was the first largest product-specific exhibition to be held. In May 2020, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan announced Virtual TEXPO 2021, an adaptation to a digital format to counter restrictions arising due to the pandemic.

A.P. Moller-Maersk will operate the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel by 2023 – seven years ahead of schedule

Fast-tracked by advances in technology and increasing customer demand for sustainable supply chains, A.P. Moller-Maersk accelerates the efforts to decarbonise marine operations with the launch of the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel in 2023 — seven years ahead of the initial 2030 ambition. All future Maersk owned newbuildings will have dual fuel technology installed, enabling either carbon neutral operations or operation on standard very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).

“A.P. Moller-Maersk’s ambition is to lead the way in decarbonising global logistics. Our customers expect us to help them decarbonise their global supply chains, and we are embracing the challenge, working on solving the practical, technical and safety challenges inherent in the carbon neutral fuels we need in the future. Our ambition to have a carbon neutral fleet by 2050 was a moonshot when we announced in 2018. Today we see it as a challenging, yet achievable target to reach,” says Søren Skou, CEO, A.P. Moller-Maersk.

Around half of Maersk’s 200 largest customers have set – or are in the process of setting – ambitious science-based or zero carbon targets for their supply chains, and the figure is on the rise.

Maersk’s methanol feeder vessel will have a capacity of around 2000 TEU and be deployed in one of its intra-regional networks. While the vessel will be able to operate on standard VLSFO, the plan is to operate the vessel on carbon neutral e-methanol or sustainable bio-methanol from day one.

“It will be a significant challenge to source an adequate supply of carbon neutral methanol within our timeline to pioneer this technology. Our success relies on customers embracing this groundbreaking product and strengthened collaboration with fuel manufacturers, technology partners and developers to ramp up production fast enough. We believe our aspiration to put the world’s first carbon neutral liner vessel in operation by 2023 is the best way to kick start the rapid scaling of carbon neutral fuels we will need,” says Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, CEO of Fleet & Strategic Brands, A.P. Moller – Maersk.

Both the methanol-fueled feeder vessel and the decision to install dual fuel engines on future newbuildings are part of Maersk’s ongoing fleet replacement. CAPEX implications will be manageable and are included in current guidance.

Strengthened collaboration to solve the challenges

A carbon neutral future for shipping requires innovation, test and collaboration across multiple industry partners. Maersk continues to explore several carbon neutral fuel pathways and expects multiple fuel solutions to exist alongside each other in the future. Methanol (e-methanol and bio-methanol), alcohol-lignin blends and ammonia remain the primary fuel candidates for the future.

A key collaboration partner is the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, an independent, non-profit research and development center, that works across sectors, organisations, research areas and regulators to accelerate the development and implementation of new energy systems and technologies.

UBL to offer up to 20pc off at 200 Shaukat Khanum hospital facilities

Mr. Zia Ijaz, Group Executive Branch Banking & International UBL (left) and Dr. Muhammed Aasim Yusuf, CEO (Acting) Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (right) signing an agreement within the two institutions through which UBL Debit & Credit Card holders will be able to avail up to 20% discount at 200 SKMCH&RC facilities nationwide.

UBL recently signed an agreement with Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) through which UBL Debit and Credit Card holders can avail up to 20% off at 200 SKMCH&RC facilities nationwide. The agreement was signed in Lahore, by Mr. Zia Ijaz, Group Executive Branch Banking & International UBL and Dr. Muhammed Aasim Yusuf, CEO (Acting) Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC).

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Muhammed Aasim Yusuf said “It is a matter of great encouragement for Shaukat Khanum that such leading institutes collaborate with us to contribute towards community’s healthcare needs. With such an alliance, we hope to extend the reach of quality outpatient and diagnostic services. This offer shall be available for everyone choosing to pay through UBL cards and at all Shaukat Khanum hospitals, diagnostic centres and lab collection centres across Pakistan”. He also apprised that revenue generated from all these services is spent on the treatment of deserving cancer patients.

Mr. Zia Ijaz said “UBL, as a good Corporate Citizen, ensures that it partners with leading brands in the areas of healthcare and education so as to provide maximum benefits to its customers. With this alliance, we continue in our pursuit to provide the best services to our customers.”

Gas crisis breaks back of the industrial sector: 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 gas crisis has broken the back of general industry and export sector.

The industrial sector should be provided gas without delay so that they can resume production and complete export orders within the deadline to save their reputation, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that economy cannot develop unless the industrial sector start getting a consistent supply of gas so that investors stop running after gas and electricity and waste their time in protests.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that billions of dollars have been spent on infrastructure and import of LNG but if failed to improve situation by reducing gas crisis in winter which is a question mark on the efficiency of gas bureaucracy.

He said that the gas demand is increasing since decades but the discoveries have remained unsatisfactory which call for incentives for exploration companies.

The weaknesses in the LNG supply chain should be fixed, import of gas from Turkmenistan should be expedited and working of gas distribution companies should be improved, he said.

He congratulated Imran Maniar on his appointment as Managing Director of Sui Southern Gas Company Limited and hoped that he will utilise best of his abilities to improve the working of the utility.

“Maniar has 30 years of experience and he has served in the US, South America and the Middle East and the business community hope that he will bring a change in the system to provide relief to masses and the business community. The business community will fully cooperate with Mr Imran Maniar so that overall situation could be improved,” he said.

Sehat Kahani’s launches the first ever telemedicine clinic in Loralai

Sehat Kahani is a telemedicine organization that connects female doctors from their homes to patients in underserved segments of the country using a telemedicine-based solution of e-health clinics and a mobile application that serves masses. Sehat Kahani has served 340,000 patients till date through the network of its 33 e-health clinics across Pakistan, and the mobile application.

Sehat Kahani has launched its 34th e-health clinic in Loralai, Balochistan in collaboration with World Health Organization. The occasion was graced by the presence of Honourable Divisional Director Health Department Zhob Division, Dr. Shah Jahan Panezai.

Dr. Babar Alam (Head of Sub Office Balochistan – World Health Organization), Dr. Isfandyar Shirani (The National Population Officer), Dr. Shabir (DHO Loralai), Syed Atif Ali (Lead Sales & Technical – Sehat Kahani), and Mr. Amir Ahmed (Regional Manager Clinical Operations – Sehat Kahani) were amongst the other key participants of the event.

Honorable Dr. Shah Jahan Panezai expressed “The government of Balochistan appreciates the effort of Sehat Kahani in bringing this much needed innovation to our region; this will help many patients from underserved areas to be able to access quality healthcare. We extend our full support to Sehat Kahani and World Health Organization (WHO) and all their future endeavors”.

Dr. Babar Alam said, “WHO is very excited for this opportunity of providing access to quality healthcare in the province of Balochistan”.

Dr. Isfandyar Shirani said, “For a province like Balochistan where healthcare has vast areas of improvement; the ability to be able to connect to an online doctor anytime anywhere would be a game changer.”

Dr. Shabir said; “We are happy that Sehat Kahani has chosen Loralai for the launch of its first clinic in Balochistan and we are optimistic that this shall greatly help in improving the healthcare scenario of the area”.

Mr. Atif Ali said, we are ecstatic to have had the opportunity to launch first of our many to come e-health clinics in Balochistan and we will make sure that this brings about a very positive change in the overall healthcare scenario of the province.

Sehat Kahani and World Health Organization have partnered to expand the use of telemedicine services for essential sexual and reproductive (SRH) healthcare during and after COVID-19 situation in Pakistan.

Alhuda CIBE inked mou with Ethiopian reinsurance
  • AlHuda CIBE will provide assistance for the development of Takaful & Re-Takaful industry

Takaful, the globally emerging phenomenon is not only restricted to the specific countries rather it has captivated its roots in African, Asian and European countries and in America as well. The built-in features of sustainability and best alternative financial solution make this phenomenon prominent and attracts the attention of professionals and researchers.

Keeping in view the importance, AlHuda CIBE and Ethiopia Reinsurance have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last week in the headquarters of Ethiopian Reinsurance, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, signed by Mr. M. Zubair Mughal, CEO of AlHuda CIBE and Mr. Fikru Tsegaye, CEO of Ethiopian Reinsurance. The purpose of the MoU is to promote Takaful and Re-Takaful industry in East African and Ethiopian insurance market.

Mr. M. Zubair Mughal said that Islamic finance is not only the interest of Muslim population rather non-Muslims are taking keen interest to learn and implement it. There are various non-Muslim countries where Islamic Finance is providing their customers state-of-the-art services above all religious differences. He added that according to this MoU, both organizations will work together to strengthen the Takaful and Re-Takaful industry in the region. Moreover, the annual conference will also be held under the MoU to promote Takaful industry. AlHuda CIBE will offer its technical and Shariah advisory, trainings and other services to the Takaful industry. AlHuda CIBE and Ethiopian Reinsurance will work together to promote the captive Takaful industry.

He also added that, we will pool our expertise and resources to achieve the optimum goal of promotion of Takaful and Re-Takaful industry in East African countries. Mr. Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda CIBE, stated that more than 400 Takaful companies and 35 plus Re-Takaful companies are working globally. Takaful industry will help to manage the risk under ultimate Shariah rulings and important for the promotion of Islamic finance industry overall. Islamic finance industry is in need to avail Shariah compliant risk management techniques, which is only possible under Takaful concept. This will strengthen the Islamic finance industry overall.

Mr. Fikru Tsegaye, CEO of Ethiopian Reinsurance said that they are dedicated to develop Re-Takaful market in the region for the development of Takaful industry. This initiative will also strengthen the local Takaful industry in Ethiopia. Furthermore, other regional markets would also be benefited by the initiative taken by the Ethiopian Reinsurance, he added.

About AlHuda CIBE:

AlHuda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) is a well-recognized name in Islamic banking and finance industry for research and provide state-of-the-art Advisory Consultancy and Education through various well-recognized modes viz. Islamic Financial Product Development, Shariah Advisory, Trainings Workshops, and Islamic Microfinance and Takaful Consultancies etc. side by side through our distinguished, generally acceptable and known Publications in Islamic Banking and Finance.

We are dedicated to serving the community as a unique institution, advisory and capacity building for the last twelve years. The prime goal has always been to remain stick to the commitments providing Services not only in UAE/Pakistan but all over the world. We have so far served in more than 35 countries for the development of Islamic Banking and Finance industry. For further details about AlHuda CIBE, please visit: www.alhudacibe.com

MCB Bank posts highest ever profit before tax of Rs48.25 billion and 200pc cash dividend for the year 2020

The Board of Directors of MCB Bank Limited (MCB)met under the Chairmanship of Mian Mohammad Mansha, on February 10, 2021 to review the performance of the Bank and approve the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020. The Board of Directors has declared final cash dividend of Rs. 15.0 per share i.e. 150% bringing the total cash dividend for the year ended 2020 to 200%.

During the year 2020, MCB achieved significant financial growth by focusing on its operational resilience and continuity planning to successfully navigate through the downside risks posed to operating and economic outlook by the COVID-19 outbreak while concurrently playing a central role in supporting Governments’ key pandemic responses for credit extension and provision of essential banking services to the general public.

With strong build up in core earnings, MCB’s Profit After Tax (PAT) for the year ended December 31, 2020, posted a growth of 21% to reach Rs. 29.04 billion; translating into an Earnings Per Share (EPS) of Rs. 24.5 against an EPS of Rs. 20.23 posted last year 2019.

Sizeable growth in current deposits, timely shift in maturity profiling of investments and favorable re-pricing lag enabled the Bank to increase its net interest income by 20% to Rs. 71.3 billion.

Fee income for the year 2020 was reported less by 3% over last year, primarily due to lower transaction volumes and business activities induced by the lockdowns. However, with their lifting, fee income is normalizing. Amidst evolving yield curve expectations, proactive duration management of the investments portfolio resulted in capital gains of Rs. 3.3 billion during the year under review. Hence, the total non-markup income posted growth of 9% to reach Rs. 18.14 billion.

On the operating expenses side (excluding pension fund reversal), despite sustained inflationary pressures, expansion in branch outreach and continued investment in technological infrastructure together with regular performance and merit adjustments for the Human Capital, the Bank’s strategic focus of balancing short term tactical cost reductions with long term cost initiatives has assisted in containing growth in administrative expenses; in turn registering a decline of Rs. 129 million during the year 2020. Thus the cost to income ratio of the Bank significantly improved to 36.87% from 43.4% reported last year.

In anticipation that customers affected by the pandemic might require provisioning once SBP’s relaxations and waivers expire in 2021, the management has exercised prudence and booked a general provision of Rs. 4.0 billion during the year under review, hence providing insulation and loss absorption capacity against any risks to asset quality.

On the financial position side, the total asset base of the Bank on an unconsolidated basis was reported at Rs. 1.76 trillion depicting an increase of 16% over December 2019. Analysis of the asset mix highlights that net investments increased by Rs. 267 billion (36%) whereas due to subdued domestic demand gross advances decreased by Rs. 26.5 billion (-5%) over December 2019. However, gross advances increased by Rs 19.9 billion in last quarter of 2020.

The Non-performing loan (NPLs) base of the Bank recorded an increase of Rs. 1.77billion and was reported at Rs. 51.19 billion. The increase was primarily on account of subjective classification by the Bank on prudent basis. The Bank has not taken FSV benefit in calculation of specific provision and has increased its un-encumbered general provision reserve to Rs. 4.57 billion. The coverage and infection ratios of the Bank were reported at 98.87% and 9.97% respectively.

On the liabilities side, the deposit base of the Bank registered an unprecedented increase of Rs. 144.74 billion (+13%) over December 2019, with 15% growth contributed by current accounts, improving the current account mix to 38% and CASA ratio to 92.96%.

Return on Assets and Return on Equity was reported at 1.77% and 18.88% respectively, whereas book value per share was reported at Rs. 137.02.

While complying with the regulatory capital requirements, the Bank’s total Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) is 20.98% against the requirement of 11.50% (including capital conservation buffer of 1.50% as reduced under the BPRD Circular Letter No. 12 of 2020). Quality of the capital is evident from Bank’s Common Equity Tier-1 (CET1) to total risk weighted assets ratio which comes to 17.03% against the requirement of 6.00%. Bank’s capitalization also resulted in a Leverage Ratio of 7.03% which is well above the regulatory limit of 3.0%. The Bank reported Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) of 237.72% and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) of 174.86% against requirement of 100%.

MCB has been declared the Overall Most Outstanding Company in Pakistan-2020 and Most Outstanding Company – Financials Sector in Pakistan-2020 by Asiamoney, an associate of Euromoney. The Annual report of MCB Bank has also been adjudged 1st by ICAP/ICMAP in the financial sector category. MCB has won this award 10 times in last 11 years with 8 consecutive wins.

The Bank enjoys highest local credit ratings of AAA / A1+ categories for long term and short term respectively, based on PACRA notification dated June 26, 2020.

About MCB Bank:

MCB Bank is one of the largest & most innovative banks in Pakistan. The Bank operates a strong and vast network of over 1,400 Branches and over 1,400 ATMs in Pakistan and 11 branches overseas. With a customer base of over 7 million, MCB leads the banking & financial services sector in Pakistan and customers across the globe have 24/7 access to MCB Bank via our World Class Internet Banking.

The Bank on a consolidated basis is operating the 2nd largest network of more than 1,600 branches in Pakistan. The Bank remains one of the prime stocks traded in the Pakistani equity market with highest market capitalization in the industry.

Bookme.pk appointed ticketing partners for HBL PSL 6

Pakistan’s leading e-ticketing platform with over 4.6 million customers in the transportation and entertainment industries, Bookme.pk has been appointed ticketing partners for the HBL Pakistan Super League 6 which commences at the National Stadium Karachi from Saturday, 20 February.

Bookme.pk is completely cashless and is already integrated with major payment platforms in Pakistan including JazzCash and Easypaisa to ensure a seamless checkout experience for end-users.

With a socially distant seating plan cricket fans can now be a part of the game again as both HBL PSL 6 venues Karachi and Lahore will have 20 percent of the total seating capacity of the stadiums available for the spectators.

As announced by the PCB last week, around 7,500 ticketed spectators will be allowed access inside the National Stadium per match day, while around 5,500 will be able to attend each match day at the Gaddafi Stadium. The

PCB will strictly follow government Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures, including social distancing.

More details about tickets pricing and availability will be shared soon.

Director Commercial PCB Babar Hamid said: “We are delighted to partner with Bookme.pk in the HBL Pakistan Super League 6. We are confident that as ticketing partners Bookme.pk will deliver top-quality services that they are renowned for to our fans who look forward all year to the HBL PSL. “We are very happy to bring the fans back to the stadiums, despite the small number, we totally look forward to welcoming them at the two venues as they will create an incredible atmosphere which will surely motivate the players to give their absolute best. The fans will be provided the best possible arrangements amid the prevailing Covid-19 related challenges and they should turn-up at the venues with full confidence while practicing social distancing protocols.”

CEO, Bookme.pk, Faizan Aslam said: “We are grateful to Pakistan Cricket Board for awarding us the opportunity to serve the most beloved game of our nation. Bookme is geared up to ensure contactless and secure digital services for Pakistani cricket fans so that they don’t need to stand in queues and can easily access tickets from the comfort of home with a digital one-click solution.”

Naheed.pk welcomes Wasim Akram as its brand ambassador

Naheed.pk, the commerce initiative of Naheed Supermarket, a leading name in retail shopping in Pakistan, announced its association with the cricket legend Wasim Akram and welcomed him as their official Brand Ambassador. The agreement was signed in Karachi, at a simple but impressive ceremony.

Expressing his joy on the association, the legendary Cricketer Wasim Akram said, “I am very happy to be associated with Naheed.pk, which is backed by over 40 years of trust of Naheed Supermarket, the leading supermarket from Karachi.” He further shared his personal experience of online shopping with Naheed.pk, “In these testing COVID times, for me and my family, Naheed.pk has been the most convenient and trust worthy option. You can expect original products with timely delivery from them”.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Munsub Abrar, CEO of Naheed Supermarket, said: “Naheed.pk is proudly associated with Wasim Akram since long time, and now we formally welcome Wasim Akram as our Ambassador. It shows his trust on our brand, our products, and our delivery methods, which he has experienced himself extensively over the last year.”

Wasim Akram also visited the Naheed Supermarket, and Naheed.pk warehouses to see the while back-end process and met with the teams behind it.

About Naheed.pk

Naheed.pk is the commerce initiative of Naheed Supermarket, one of the oldest store in Karachi that pioneered the concept of retail shopping in Pakistan. Started in 1973, as the corner grocery shop, and has since grown to offer the unique shopping experience at its impressive multi-storey store, and also online at <www.naheed.pk>.

Askari bank and regal automobiles sign mou to launch joint sales promotion for auto finance

Askari Bank has signed an MoU with M/s Regal Automobiles Industries Limited, which will allow customers to purchase PRINCE-DFSK vehicles through Askari Bank on discounted mark-up rate, 50% waiver on processing fee, discounted insurance rate @ 2% per annum with free Tracker and Accidental Life Insurance upto Rs.1 Million.

The MoU was signed by Syed Taha Afzal, Head of Consumer Banking, Askari Bank and Mr. Adeel Usman, Managing Director, Regal Automobiles Industries Limited. Mr. Rashid Nawaz Tipu, Group Head Branch Banking, Askari Bank and other senior officials of both the organizations were also present at the occasion.

Codebase technologies and Union Of Arab Banks (UAB) partnership spurs digitalization in MENA

Codebase Technologies (CBT), a leading Global Open API Banking Solution provider, and UABdigital, the Ecosystem Digital Transformation arm of the Union of Arab Banks (UAB), headquartered in Lebanon, have entered into a strategic alliance to accelerate UAB member banks’ digital transformation journeys using CBT’s award-winning Digibanc™ suite.

Banks and financial institutions in the Middle East and North Africa are hindered by outdated legacy systems that inhibit their ability to evolve their products and services. This results in limited customer access to banking and financial services across geographies, outdated value chains, and widespread financial illiteracy.

The strategic partnership will drive economies of scale for UAB member banks and financial institutions in MENA through its cutting-edge banking-grade technologies and solutions, such as Digital Banking as a Service, frictionless customer onboarding and KYC, automated regulatory reporting, engaging user experiences, and completely digital core systems.

Codebase Technologies’ Managing Partner, Raheel Iqbal, applauded the alliance, stating that “this partnership will enable UAB member banks and financial institutions to benefit from digital-first banking in the MENA region through Codebase Technologies mission to further demystify digital financial services.”

UAB Secretary General Mr. Wissam Fattouh said: “Codebase Technologies is recognized as a leading Global Open API Banking solution provider and has a remarkable team developing and deploying cutting-edge software for financial institutions with commitment to the Arab region, this makes the company an ideal addition to the UAB partners ecosystem, and joining forces will enable us to offer the broadest portfolio of solutions to the benefit of our member banks with the guidance and direction of UABdigital. We look forward to working closely with CBT to develop value propositions that are both cost and time effective in order to support our members in their open banking mandates.”

UAB’s Head of UABdigital, Suleiman Barada, welcomed CBT to UABdigital’s partners ecosystem stating that “the partnership with CBT aims at facilitating the access of our members to CBT’s offerings thereby accelerating the adoption and the deployment of Digital Banks in the Arab region with the underpinning of modularity and speed to ensure sustainability and growth of our member banks in the Digital Era.”

About Codebase Technologies:

Codebase Technologies is a leading Global Open API Banking solution provider, at the forefront of enabling banks and financial institutions (both Conventional and Islamic), as well as, the emerging Fintech ecosystem to Demystify Digital Financial Services. We help organizations create and deliver Innovative and Intuitive experiences across customer lifecycle.

With presence and customers across 5 continents, Codebase Technologies with its award-winning suite of products, including the innovative Digibanc™, a comprehensive one-stop ‘Bank in box’, helps its customers unlock the true potential of the next generation of the digital financial eco-system.

About the Union of Arab Banks (UAB):

The Union of Arab Banks (UAB) is a non-profit organization established in 1973 and headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon possessing Diplomatic status. The UAB consists of 360 member institutions from the Arab League member states, including Commercial and Investment Banks, Central banks, Local Banking Associations, and Financial & Investment Institutions, with its Board of Directors comprised of 20 high-level dignitaries, representing 20 Arab states. The UAB seeks to foster cooperation between its members and the international banking and financial communities. Through its efforts UAB have garnered significant international relations with financial and banking organizations and regulatory bodies, including European Central Bank, FATF, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, OECD, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, US Department of the Treasury, among others.

To learn more about the UAB, please visit:https://uabonline.org/www.uabonline.org

About UABdigital:

Established in April 2020 with the mandate to elevate the state of digital readiness of UAB members, UABdigital is the ecosystem digital transformation arm of the Union of Arab Banks, with an ecosystem of technology and consulting partners that believed in the vision and embarked on the mission of delivering best-in-class services and solutions to UAB members. UABdigital fulfils its mandate through capacity building programs, an online banking innovation marketplace, and the only demand-backed FinTech Hub in the Arab region.

To learn more about the UABdigital, please visit: www.uab.digital

HABIBMETRO Bank joins Roshan Digital Account
  • Non-Residents Pakistanis and Residents can now repatriate their funds freely and bank digitally anytime, anywhere

Habib Metropolitan Bank Limited (HABIBMETRO) has joined the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) initiative of the State Bank of Pakistan.

Roshan Digital Accounts provide innovative banking solutions to millions of Non-Resident Pakistanis (NRPs) and Resident Pakistanis (RPs) with declared offshore assets, who need a secure and convenient facility, to undertake banking-payments, fund-transfers and investment activities in Pakistan, remotely, from abroad. The RDA program is available for both Conventional and Islamic Banking customers around the world. NRPs can open the Roshan Digital Account, digitally, anytime and from anywhere, while RPs can visit a designated HABIBMETRO Bank near them.

The honorable Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Reza Baqir, lauded the swift efforts of HABIBMETRO in joining the group of banks who are offering the Roshan Digital Account and hoped that more banks would follow suit and become part of the fast evolving digital financial ecosystem of the country. Extolling the contribution of Overseas Pakistanis, he said that NRPs are continually increasing remittances through RDA. He went on to add that SBP, together with the Government of Pakistan, is working on innovative initiatives to provide attractive avenues of investment and saving for Overseas Pakistanis. He said RDA provides a full range of banking services and exciting investment opportunities to the Pakistani diaspora, including Naya Pakistan Certificates (NPCs) issued by the government, as well as the stock market and real estate.

The Governor SBP elaborated that initiatives of RDA and NPCs will help the country not only in attracting investment by NRPs but will also become a more consistent, reliable and long-term source of foreign exchange flows in the country. He disclosed that RDA has so far received more than USD 480 million from around 97 countries around the globe and over USD300 million have been invested in NPCs. Governor SBP said that the outcome of the RDA initiative so far has been very promising, with the number of accounts and amounts remitted and investment growing every day.

Speaking at the launch event, HABIBMETRO’s President & Chief Executive Officer Mr. Mohsin Ali Nathani stated: “HABIBMETRO and Habib Bank AG Zurich are committed to serving our customers regardless of where they are in the world. With the Roshan Digital Account, HABIBMETRO aims to facilitate Non-Resident Pakistanis, and Resident Pakistanis with declared assets abroad, in banking with us anytime and from anywhere in the world, conveniently and remotely. They can use the RDA program to invest in attractive opportunities while contributing to the progress and development of their homeland. We believe that the RDA will prove to be a game-changer for Pakistan, as it will give tremendous impetus to the national economy.”

HABIBMETRO has also engaged Mr. Jahangir Khan – the longest-reigning world-champion of Squash, as the ambassador for its RDA program who said that he decided to become one of the founding account-holders and ambassador of the HABIBMETRO Roshan Digital Account, simply because he thoroughly enjoyed his 40 years’ banking relationship with HABIBMETRO and Habib Bank AG Zurich.

The HABIBMETRO Roshan Digital Account offers digital account opening and banking to its customers, along with a wide range of investment opportunities with various tenors and attractive returns. NRPs and RPs can repatriate funds freely, while investing in Pakistan (in PKR & USD) through the Naya Pakistan/Islamic Naya Pakistan Investment Certificates and the Stock Exchange.

More details about the HABIBMETRO Roshan Digital Account are available on HABIBMETRO Bank’s website.

Emirates SkyCargo to work with UNICEF for covid-19 vaccine distribution
  • Under UNICEF’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative, Emirates will prioritize transport and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and related supplies
  • Initiative in support of COVAX facility for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines

Emirates SkyCargo has signed an agreement with UNICEF to prioritize the transport of COVID-19 vaccines, essential medicines, medical devices and other critical supplies to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement is the latest in a series of measures undertaken by the freight division of Emirates to support global communities in recovering from the devastating impact of COVID-19.

Watch a video announcing Emirates SkyCargo’s participation in UNICEF’s initiative.

The Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative spearheaded by UNICEF brings together a number of partners collectively capable of distributing essential supplies to more than 100 markets in support of the COVAX Facility, the global effort aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. UNICEF’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative will also act as a blueprint for collective global partnership in the face of future health and humanitarian crises.

“Every single day counts in the fight against COVID-19 and the sooner that communities can have access to COVID-19 vaccines, the sooner they can curb the spread of the virus and get back on their feet. As a global player flying to more than 130 destinations, Emirates SkyCargo has been committed to the fight against the pandemic from the very early stages and we have rolled out a number of initiatives to expedite the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines through Dubai, starting with our GDP certified dedicated airside hub. Through our partnership with UNICEF, we will be taking yet another step to prioritize and facilitate the rapid and secure movement of COVID-19 vaccines particularly to communities hard hit by the disease,” said Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo.

Emirates SkyCargo is an industry leader in the air cargo sector for the transport of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals including vaccines. The cargo carrier features a global network spanning six continents, a modern fleet of wide-body only aircraft as well as state of the art EU GDP certified infrastructure at its hub in Dubai for the secure transport of pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

In October 2020, Emirates SkyCargo announced that it was setting up the world’s largest EU GDP certified airside distribution hub dedicated for the storage and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. With over 15,000 sq metres of storage space available for vaccines, Emirates SkyCargo is able to store large quantities of the COVID-19 vaccine in Dubai, and fly in smaller quantities regularly to markets with limited cold chain infrastructure, reducing the need for large scale storage solutions.

In January 2021, under the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Emirates SkyCargo joined hands with three other Dubai-based entities- DP World, International Humanitarian City and Dubai Airports to form a COVID-19 vaccine alliance for rapid transport of COVID-19 vaccines to the developing world through Dubai.

Alhaj Automotive ropes in flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi AS brand ambassador for PROTON

PROTON – the renowned Malaysian manufacturer of innovative automobiles eye a dream start in Pakistan alongside the charismatic presence of Shahid Afridi

With a resolute vision set ahead to promote PROTON – the Malaysian automobile manufacturer in Pakistan, Alhaj Automotive Private Limited in a recently concluded ceremony roped in flamboyant all-rounder and former captain of the Pakistan cricket team, Shahid Khan Afridi, as its corporate brand ambassador.

Shahid Afridi’s strong personality and passion for excellence are reflective of the core strengths of the PROTON family which represent an automotive brand which is suitable for all terrains and environment, no matter how difficult or rugged they may be; by virtue of this, the PROTON brand inspires its buyers to aim for greater heights and success and gain more recognition and honor.

With an aim to achieve a dream start for PROTON vehicles in Pakistan, Alhaj Automotive Private Limited aims to accelerate the proceedings, with its association with Shahid Afridi being the first step which will serve as a catalyst that will help PROTON to set itself apart from its competitors within the automobile sector of Pakistan.

Known for breaking various records on the field, Shahid Afridi is widely known as Boom Boom, a nickname which was given to him by a renowned former Indian cricketer, based on his big hitting skills and ability to strike with the ball just when it was required.

Even today when the flamboyant all-rounder has bidden farewell to international cricket, the record tables still have him evenly placed as one of the finest all-rounders to be to have graced the cricketing world. Being ranked second in the list of batsmen with most number of sixes across all-formats, Afridi also holds the achievement of being the first ever batsmen to score the fastest century in One Day Internationals, a record he held for 18 long years.

During the signing ceremony, Shahid Afridi, while thanking Alhaj Automotive Private Limited for the trust reposed on him, said: “When people ask me about my journey, the love and respect I have earned on and off the cricketing field, I always say, Respect is purely an outcome of all that I have done over the years in representing my Nation, and today it gives me great pleasure and delight representing Alhaj Automotive Private Limited in Pakistan as I feel this brand has much value to offer to the Pakistani nation at large .”

PROTON

is a brand which inspires people towards greater heights and Mr. Shahid Afridi’s endorsement is testament to the fact that PROTON is a brand which represents performance, class, style and a premium design.

PROTON has a vision to strive towards continuous improvement enabled by extensive R&D and continues to innovate thereby inspiring and building new connections with people that search for greater value. With innovative and cutting edge technology at the heart of its philosophy, PROTON will attain high rates of growth backed by its acceptance as a premium brand based on quality, reliability and efficiency.

The Chief Executive Officer of Alhaj Automotive Private Limited – Mr. Hilal Khan Afridi while gracing the occasion with his presence said, “We are privileged to have Shahid Afridi as our brand ambassador, who is not only an exemplary self-made cricketer, but is also extremely versatile and well respected by people across the globe. His successful career is an inspiration for our youth and resonates with PROTON’s tagline ‘Inspiring Connections’. We are confident that with this association, we will be able to connect with the large urban consumer base especially the youth, across the nook and corners of Pakistan”

PROTON’s expansion plans will spurn out new product offering across SUV and Sedan categories that will allow customer to choose from a range of different options, thereby establishing itself as a brand to which everyone can relate to.

This is not the end – it is just the beginning of much more to come.

About PROTON

PROTON is a leading Malaysian automotive company that started its journey in 1985, driven by Ex-Prime Minister Mr. Mahatir Muhammad’s Vision to develop a world class automotive brand. It rolled out its first car the PROTON SAGA, which is considered a national icon in Malaysia. Since then, PROTON has continued to invest in extensive R&D and world class manufacturing facilities that has enabled them to roll out several new models including a range of different SUV’s, MPV’s and SEDANS. With a fully integrated engineering service, PROTON has evolved into a full service manufacturer which now produces its own engines, bodies and parts.

PROTON entered the Pakistani market very recently in 2018 in collaboration with Alhaj Automotive Private Limited and has since then established its 3S Dealership network in Karachi, Lahore & Islamabad and more cities are in pipeline too.

It has successfully launched the PROTON X70, which is a high end intelligent SUV, which turned out to be a resounding success in Pakistan. Plans for further new car launches and localized production of CKD units are firmly in place as PROTON gears up for the next phase of its growth cycle in Pakistan.

Safety above all, always: emirates operates first flight serviced by fully vaccinated frontline teams across all customer touchpoints
  • EK215 to Los Angeles supported by over 70 vaccinated frontline team members across the operational spectrum
  • Close to 26,000 of Emirates Group’s frontline aviation workforce already vaccinated with two doses

Honouring its commitment to the health and safety of its employees and customers, Emirates on Monday (February 22, 2021) has become among the first airlines in the world to operate a flight with fully vaccinated frontline teams servicing customers at every touchpoint of the travel journey.

On Monday morning, the full airport and onboard customer experience for flight EK215, which departed Dubai at 0830hrs for Los Angeles, was safely supported by check-in, security, Business and First Class lounge and boarding gate employees, as well as engineers, pilots and cabin crew who made the choice to be fully vaccinated.

Also supporting the flight’s operations were fully vaccinated aircraft appearance, loading and special handling teams from dnata, as well as SkyCargo teams working on the cargo and logistics requirements for EK215.

The Emirates Group rolled out its vaccination drive at pace just over a month ago, and since then, close to 26,000, or 44%, of the Group’s UAE frontline aviation workforce have received both doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Sinopharm vaccines.

Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer, Emirates Airline said: “Our operational workforce are at the aviation frontline, helping people get to where they need to be, and moving essential goods to global communities. Protecting our people with vaccinations is important – for them, for our community, for the smooth running of our operations, and also for our customers as it introduces of an additional layer of protection when they travel with us. We’ve seen a very positive response with high demand and take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine from our colleagues at the operational frontline, and there’s continued momentum in the rate of vaccinations across the business. We would like to thank the UAE’s leadership for making three types of vaccines available in the country, and for their proactive commitment to championing an extensive National Vaccination Programme.”

Nearly 5,000 Cabin and Flight Deck Crew have opted to receive both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. In addition, thousands more Emirates Group employees in other roles have taken their Covid-19 vaccine through the company’s clinics and vaccination centres, while others have opted to take their vaccine at one of the many vaccination centres across the UAE.

Al Redha added: “At the outset of the pandemic, Emirates implemented robust safety measures to protect and prioritise the safety of our customers and employees at all stages of the travel journey, and with the rapid progress of our own vaccination programme and high rates of take-up, more of our flights will soon be operating with fully vaccinated frontline employees. We are also confident that with more people being vaccinated, combined with strong safety measures in place, we can all look forward to the easing of border entry guidelines for many countries.”

The Emirates Group vaccination programme is the latest in its series of safeguards and protections to deliver on its health and safety promises to its customers, employees and the communities it serves around the world. The Group’s vaccination centres have been running 12 hours a day, every day of the week to prioritise and provide aviation frontliners with the vaccine.

The UAE currently has one of the world’s highest rate of vaccinations for its citizens and residents as it fights to curb the spread of Covid-19. So far, the UAE has administered over 5.4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, and Our World In Data, a research website based at Oxford University, recently reported that the country’s distribution rate stands at 55.27 doses per 100 people, ranking it the second highest in the world.

UBL recognized for highest number of Roshan Digital Accounts

United Bank Limited (UBL), Pakistan’s Best Digital Bank, was recognized for the highest number of Roshan Digital Accounts 9RDA) opened, at a special ceremony held in Islamabad to mark RDA crossing US$500 million in remittances.

Mr. Shazad G. Dada, President & CEO UBL received the acknowledgment memento on behalf of the Bank from Mr. Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan and Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank of Pakistan.

Careem to become a digital ad platform, offering additional incentives for captains

Careem, the Super App for the greater Middle East and Pakistan, has announced to become a Digital-Out-of-Home (DOOH) Ad platform by partnering with Lambda Marketing Solutions.

The partnership will pave a roadmap to offer additional sources for Captains interested in monetizing their vehicle. During the Initial phase, 5000 data-sim enabled tablets will be installed in vehicles which will deliver advertising and other content to customers, which will enable brands to measure and monitor their performance in real-time.

In its pilot phase of 30 days around 20 screens were installed which has resulted in 36,000 views in a short span of time. Careem plans to complete the installation of additional 5000 screens within the next phase of 3 months, which is expected to result in 3.5 million views, providing Captains and vehicle owners with additional earning opportunities.

Furthermore, the vehicles with screens will incentivize both captains and customers with free WiFi. The platform would further be utilized to display content benefiting the community at large such as better civic sense, adherence to traffic rules and functional safety features and so on. The ceremony was held at Careem’s office in Lahore, where senior officials from both the companies were present.

On the occasion, Zeeshan Hasib Baig, CEO & Country General Manager, Careem Pakistan stated: “This partnership aims to leverage high mobility, not only, offering additional incentives to Captains but also to become a digital Ad platform by working together with brands, offering them real-time measurement and monitoring for their advertising spent.”

Shoaib Sarwar, CEO Lambda Marketing stated:

“With this partnership, we are doing something extremely unprecedented, an innovative and additional means of advertising for brands which offers real-time monitoring. Careem’s 800,000 registered Captains and high mobility impact creates a win-win situation for all stakeholders”

Careem has more than 800,000 Captains registered on its platform so far and has invested up to 80 million dollars since its inception in Pakistan in 2016. 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.

Zia Ul Mustafa Awan re-elected as the president of ICMA Pakistan

Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMA Pakistan) is pleased to announce re-election of Zia ul Mustafa Awan, FCMA as the President for the period of 2021-2023.

Zia has extensive leadership experience of national and international professional accountancy organisations and forums as he remained the President of South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) for the year 2020. He is currently the Chairman of Governmental and Public Sector Accounting Enterprises Committee of South Asian Federation of Accountants and a member of Public Sector Financial Management Committee (PSFMC) of Confederation of Asia and Pacific Accountants. He has a clear vision about accountants’ role in the national economic growth. He has over 25 years of experience in the corporate sector and public sectors. He also has experience and exposure of being a Member of Board of Directors of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited, Ignite National Technology Fund and Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance. He is well known in the community for the initiatives taken for the betterment and growth of the accounting profession.

Under the leadership of Zia ul Mustafa, the Institute achieved sustainable growth, internationalization, developed and conducted Online Exams with remote access, enhanced legal benefits and recognition of its Members, up gradation of curriculum and examination systems in accordance with international education standards, compliance at highest level with IFAC SMOs, digital transformation of processes, better recognition with international professional accountancy organisations, enhanced employability of its Members and strengthened governance.

During his tenure ICMA Pakistan twice won FPCCI’s Excellence Award for outstanding services in Education, Training & Development. He believes that in the term 2021-2023, the progress shall continue and the Institute will achieve new heights of success.

The Institute is also pleased to announce the appointment of Shehzad Ahmed Malik as the Vice President, Shaham Ahmed as the Honorary Secretary and Ather Saleem as the Honorary Treasurer of the Institute. Other Members of the National Council for the years 2021-2023 include Anis-Ur-Rehman, FCMA, Khawaja Ehrar Ul Hassan, FCMA, Khalid Mehmood, FCMA and Awais Yasin, FCMA. In addition, the Government of Pakistan has nominated following on National Council for the years 2021-2023: Muhammad Anwar Shaikh, Additional Secretary Corporate Finance, Finance Division, Government of Pakistan, Jameel Ahmad, FCMA, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Sumaira K. Aslam, Chief Financial Analyst, Finance Division Government of Pakistan, Muhammad Kamran Shahzad, Deputy Chief Cost Accounts Officer, Finance Division Government of Pakistan.

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