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Dawlance signs MoU with WWF Pakistan to contribute towards environmental sustainability

Having a vision to combine its technology leadership with preservation of nature, Dawlance has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pak) to contribute towards environmental sustainability. This collaboration is a part of the organization’s “Dawlance for Humanity” initiative that propagates environmental and economic sustainability, along with a better quality of life, education and healthcare for the nation.

Dawlance has entered into this exclusive long-term association with WWF to bring the holistic sustainability agenda of its global parent company – Arcelik into Pakistan that has remarkably touched upon social, environmental and economic spheres in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Under this partnership, Dawlance will initiate a plantation drive in Karachi, followed by a series of community development initiatives in which multiple stakeholders will be engaged in activities like mangroves plantation, corporate engagement, and several other social development initiatives.

A virtual MoU signing ceremony was held recently, attended by the Chief Executive Officer of Dawlance – Umar Ahsan Khan, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Dawlance – Syed Hasan Jameel, along with the Regional Director of WWF – Dr. Tahir Rasheed. Other attendees at this event included: the Senior Manager Climate & Energy Program at WWF – Nazifa Butt, Director Operations of Dawlance – Ameen Ahmed and the Director Human Resources of Dawlance – Muhammad Ahmed Khan along with Group Marketing Manager of Dawlance – Raheel Hashmi.

The CMO of Dawlance – Hasan Jameel stated that: “We are glad to become members of WWF and thankful to the WWF for collaborating with us for multiple sustainability programmes. Our brand is well renowned for providing unmatched convenience, reliability, and ecofriendly products, while we also undertake large-scale social development initiatives. Being a resourceful organization, we are generously sharing our success with the common man, with a commitment to give back to the society, with our humble contributions for a progressive, healthier and greener Pakistan.”

The Regional Director of WWF Pakistan – Tahir Rasheed stated that: “It is a great opportunity for WWF, to work with the number one consumer electronics brand of Pakistan, Dawlance who are pioneers in their industry. Together we will pursue many earth-friendly initiatives that promise tremendous advantages for humanity, by going well beyond the conventional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices. These efforts will be conducted in line with the global agenda of WWF, which is also generously supported by Arcelik – the global parent-company of Dawlance.

Dawlance being a wholly-owned subsidiary of the 2nd largest manufacturer in Europe – Arcelik, Turkey, shall continue playing its role in giving back to society at every level, Leading to a greener cleaner world for our future generations.

Jazzcash launches all-new business app for business owners

Aimed at further developing the digital payments ecosystem, Pakistan’s leading fintech, JazzCash, has launched a Business App for its rapidly growing merchant base. Featuring state-of-the-art tools for efficient financial and business management, this app adds to the ease of doing business as small and medium business owners can kick start digital payment acceptance, without the cumbersome bank account registration process.

This all-new platform has been developed to cater to the SME sector, which is yet to realize the full benefits of a digital payments ecosystem, while some amongst them, are not even part of the formal economy. There are millions of SMEs in Pakistan, and only a few thousand accept digital payments making it a predominately cash-based sector.

The JazzCash Business app becomes the command center for these merchants, providing visibility on business performance and automating day-to-day activities. Users can receive payments through QR, reconcile transactions, disburse salaries and make payments for stock procurement. They can also generate a QR code in real-time and send customizable digital invoices to customers. Going forward, more features will be added to this app, including the option to request a business loan, playing an essential role in driving economic growth.

According to Erwan Gelebart, CEO, JazzCash, “JazzCash aims to cultivate a cashless economy and is committed to introducing innovative products and services that offer faster, more transparent, and secure payment solutions. We identified a need for a one-stop digital solution in the SME sector, which still lacks the tools and resources to adopt digital transformation, and created this business app to manage all their financial requirements. By taking advantage of secure, real-time payments, these businesses will witness higher efficiencies and benefit from a thriving digital ecosystem.”

Business owners can self-onboard from anywhere conveniently by registering themselves on the Business App in a few simple steps by providing basic personal and business information, uploading a copy of their CNIC and photograph.

Pakistan sixth in the list of countries attracting home remittances: Mian Zahid Hussain

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said remittances are increasing due to positive policies of the government and timely initiatives of the central bank.

Pakistan has climbed to the sixth position in the list of countries receiving remittances providing budgetary support to the government while it will become the fifth country receiving the highest volume of remittances by the end of the year due to the initiatives of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that coronavirus has damaged the economies of all the countries but Pakistan is receiving higher amount of remittances beating forecasts of local and foreign experts.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that remittances have increased by 29 percent from July to April from the corresponding period to reach 24.2 billion dollars while the remittances during the month of April remained 2.8 billion dollars, an increase of 56 percent over the last year.

He noted that credit of increased remittances go to the policies of the government, initiatives of the SBP, increased use of banking channels, reduced dependence on informal channels, and travel restrictions.

The business leader said that remittances are the most important source of forex earnings which help keep balance in payments, reduce the deficit, and strengthen reserves.

He said that remittances have also helped push the current account to a surplus of almost one billion dollars providing relief to the government.

Saudi Arabia remained the highest source of remittances followed by UAE, UK, EU, and USA, he said, adding that government should also focus on exports and foreign investment.

FBR should reduce the number of notices, energy prices should be reduced and industrial expansion should be preferred to bring an end to the heavy borrowing, he demanded.

UK and IRC helped over 47,000 vulnerable families meet their food and basic needs

The UK in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) delivered cash assistance to 47,891 of the most poor and vulnerable families impacted by recurrent and recent disasters. The pandemic, loss of livelihoods and further devastation due to heavy floods and locust invasion in the targeted districts harmed the ability and capacity of vulnerable populations to access basic services.

Cash assistance was provided to vulnerable families in Jhal Magsi, and Chaghai Districts of Balochistan, and Peshawar, Swat, and D. I. Khan Districts of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, in close coordination with the Government’s Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), National Socio-Economic Registry (NSER) and Ehsaas Program. Primary focus of the assistance were marginalized communities, 80% of whom were women, who received a total of PKR 877 million. These beneficiaries were not receiving support from any other government or private social protection and safety net programs.

A digital payment transfer mechanism with biometric verification was used for the disbursements to ensure safer, more transparent, cost-effective, and swift transfers of bulk payments. While delivering the cash assistance, IRC ensured the safety and protection of the target beneficiaries by following the safeguarding and do no harm principles across the project cycle.

“Cash transfer is one of the best ways to serve those in need. It gives the targeted beneficiaries the freedom and options of using the cash in a way they best feel suitable, some use the cash to start or sustain a small business, others use it to feed their families, pay school fees or meet other unique needs they have,” a community leader from Swat district said summarizing the effectiveness of the program.

A survey conducted by an external team noted the effects of these cash grants on increased food consumption and reduced negative coping strategies. The evaluation illustrates that more than two-third (77%) of the beneficiary’s households did not use negative coping strategy to buy food during the assistance period. Vast majority (93%) of the households used the cash grant on purchasing food while a small proportion of the grant was spent either on returning a loan or health of a household member.

A number of government authorities at the provincial and district level, elected representatives and civil society members appreciated the relevance, timeliness and appropriate assistance offered through ‘Delivering Cash Assistance to Highly Vulnerable Population in Pakistan’ (DCAP) project to the most deserving households. They also requested IRC and the donors to continue the program and extend cash support in the areas which have not been covered thus far.

“The DCAP project affirms our commitment to promptly respond to the needs of the most vulnerable communities by delivering humanitarian assistance in the form of cash. We believe these grants will help our clients better manage their needs and vulnerabilities, and get back on their feet soon,” said Adnan Junaid, IRC’s Country Director.

SBP move to support neglected sectors commended, says Mian Zahid

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday lauded the move of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to support neglected sector of SME by providing collateral-free loans worth sixty billion for a period of three years.

Governor of the central bank Dr. Reza Baqir has accepted our longstanding demand to support the SME sector having 40 percent share in GDP, 25 percent share in exports, and providing jobs to millions, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that under the initiative SMEs will get the loan at nine percent interest which should be reduced to five percent while partner banks should be asked to get maximum profit of two percent so that the initiative can become successful.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the country lacks a proper system for SME lending, government lacks information about this critical sector and the majority of the SMEs prefer to remain undocumented which will deprive them of the benefit of the move.

The government and central bank should plan to support SMEs which are not ready to become part of the documented economy, he demanded.

He said that government must strike a balance between income and expenses, salvage economy and masses from mafia and expand the tax net with the help of tough decisions.

He said that Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin wants to reduce dependence on borrowing and work with the opposition as well as establishment therefore all the stakeholders should cooperate with him.

Mr. Tarin also wants to expand PSDP and support weak segments of the society according to the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan organizes CFO Conference 2021

The Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP) organized CFO Conference 2021 “CFO in the world 2.0 – 3600 perspective” on May 24, 2021 virtually through state-of-the-art online events platform. This year the CFO conference was held virtually with high-profile experts and corporate leaders from across the globe to discuss the pertinent topics related to global, economic and technological dimensions of the world post Covid 19. The virtual event provided an opportunity to thousands of ICAP Members and business and finance leaders from all over the world to attend the much anticipated CFO conference.

Mr. Iftikhar Taj, President ICAP welcomed all the international and national delegates. He said that ICAP is the premier body of Pakistan, recognized throughout the world. The CFO conference provides a platform to learn about the solutions of the challenges faced by finance experts in the new normal. The digital economy is rapidly developing worldwide and it is one of the most important drivers of innovation, competitiveness and growth. The advancement and adoption of digital technologies and business models will enable companies to achieve greater scale, penetrate new markets more swiftly, and understand their customers better.

Mr. Alan Johnson, President, International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) speaking on the Global Dimension – Anticipation and preparation for the Next uncertainty said that finance leaders should plan for the world where both globalization and anti-globalization pressures remain enduring features of the business environment. In this new decade, technological advancements have the capability to redefine economic activities and government services. The developments in technology have impacted employment, creating alternative job opportunities. Daily life and businesses are increasingly becoming digital and the pandemic has greatly accelerated this trend. IFAC and ICAP working relation is of more than 40 years based on integrity and trust. He added that ICAP members have made commendable contribution in various IFAC boards and committees.

Dr. Reza Baqir, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, speaking on the occasion congratulated ICAP for organizing CFO Conference 2021 and also appreciated ICAP contribution towards the Pakistan economy. He said that the challenges for the developing countries in the new normal are unprecedented, causing economic, social and sustainable development concerns. The pandemic has pressed the reboot button of economies globally with long lasting impacts including lower investment, erosion of human capital to lower productivity, limited income growth and structural transformation in countries across the world. Efforts need to be made to grow Pakistan’s GDP in next 5 years and we have all the capabilities to achieve this target. We have been able to increase our gross and net reserves. We need to diversify our exports base as other nations have done, he further added.

Mr. Khalilullah Shaikh, Council Member ICAP & Chairman, Professional Accountants in Business Committee, shared the Conference objectives and the Institute’s contribution towards the economic development of Pakistan. CFO conference is the flagship event of the Institute. This Conference provides an opportunity to finance professionals to discuss and share the latest trends impacting the finance professionals. He also highlighted various initiatives like National Finance Olympiad, Mentorship program, Industry Specific Guidelines, Ethics Dilemma App, CA Toastmaster Club, Finance Transformation Series, Professional Excellence Award and Corporate Advisory Forum taken for the benefit of members of ICAP.

The lineup of speakers for the conference included Joerg Steinhaeuser (Executive Vice President Finance at Siemens Gas & Power GmbH & Co KG), Tania Aidrus (Former Special Assistant to PM Digital Pakistan),Mr. Ashfaq Yousuf Tola FCA, Vice President ICAP, Jehan Ara (Startup Ecosystem Expert, Member of the PM’s Taskforce on IT & Telecom), Ali Khizar (Head of Research at Business Recorder), Dr. Amjad Waheed (CEO NBP Fund Management Ltd), Salim Ghauri (Founder & CEO Netsol Technologies), Mazhar Hasnani FCA (CFO Engro Corp), Imran Batada (Founding Director Center for Information & Communication Technology IBA), Samiullah Siddiqui FCA (Finance Director Oxford University Press), Sumair Sayani FCA (Founder, Pathos AI), Dr. Shahid Qureshi (Associate Professor & Program Director-CED, IBA) and Muhammad Faisal FCA (COO, KIA Motors) who shared their expect views with the audience.

Adding a fresh motivational touch to the conference there was an inspirational session organized, titled Winning with Wasim Akram by the Sultan of Swing himself and a light hearted session – Rekhta with the Legend by Mr. Zia Mohyeddin. The conference provided a platform to leading industry experts and business professionals to discuss, debate and seek pragmatic solutions of emerging business and finance issues.

Overall economic situation improving LSM growing: 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 economy is improving due to steps taken by the government.

Improvement in the industrial is limited to Large Scale Manufacturers (LSM) therefore steps should be taken to boost medium and small industries, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that better economic situation has also increased imports which should be kept under control to keep the deficit in acceptable limits.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that LSM has shown a growth of 22.4 percent from July to March that includes construction, automotive, textile, pharmaceutical and food sector.

The economy is improving but it is not creating enough jobs therefore SME development should be focused, he said, adding that low-interest-rate environment and controlling pandemic is very important to ensure economic development.

Timely steps to combat the pandemic would have resulted in good numbers but it was delayed, he observed.

Mian Zahid Hussain noted that petroleum products are the top imports which can be reduced by local exploration and refineries so that import of finished products can be reduced.

Machinery is the second-highest import item but it is mainly focused on mobile imports while small-scale manufacturing is confined to assembling cell phones while the neighboring country is among six top cellphone makers in the world.

The third-largest import is that of food group, edible oil worth 1.8 billion dollars was imported from July to March and tea worth 393 million dollars was imported despite bright potential in Pakistan.

He noted that wheat, sugar and cotton has also become importable items on which billions of f dollars are being spent which call for radical changes in agriculture policies.

Faysal Bank issues its First Shariah Compliant Alternate To Conventional Credit Cards with IDEMIA

Faysal Bank Limited, the fastest growing Islamic bank of Pakistan, has teamed up with IDEMIA, the global leader in Augmented Identity, to launch its first Shariah-compliant alternate to conventional credit cards by the name of Faysal Islami NOOR.

The Republic’s Islamic banking industry has experienced double-digit growth year-on-year since 2015 . The meteoric rise in this type of banking has also brought about a corresponding demand for Shariah-compliant payment tools. Eager to support its customers, Faysal Bank turned to IDEMIA to deliver a unique payment experience that adheres to the religion’s principles.

This new EMV Card provides Faysal Bank’s customers with the benefits of a full fledge credit card, while ensuring that all payments and repayments are Shariah-compliant.

Faysal Bank’s footprint now spreads over more than 200 cities with a network of over 575 (including more than 500 Islamic) branches. Faysal Bank is a significant player in Pakistan’s banking industry and recognized as the Best Emerging Bank of the country.

“We are pleased to partner with IDEMIA, a global leader in card technology, to mark this milestone in our payment offering. The launch of Faysal Islami Noor card reaffirms our commitment to achieving leadership in providing Shariah-compliant financial and payment services to our customers. Noor Card is a unique solution that resonates with the Islamic beliefs of the masses and ensures that customers can use it with complete satisfaction and peace of mind,” said Mr. Yousaf Hussain (President & CEO) of Faysal Bank.

Delivering over 800 million payment products annually, IDEMIA has been a trusted partner to Pakistani financial institutions for over a decade. With a full service, state-of-the-art card personalization center in Karachi, IDEMIA works closely with banks in the Republic to ensure that bank cards are delivered securely and quickly to consumers, enabling them to fulfill everyday transaction needs.

“We are proud that Faysal Bank has chosen IDEMIA to deliver this lighthouse project,” said Julia Schoonenberg, Senior Vice President (Middle East and Africa), Financial Institutions, IDEMIA. “This highlights the trust the institution has in IDEMIA as its technology partner . We are committed to supporting our customers deliver the best-in-class products and services so that they achieve their business goals.”

Growth and prospects of Islamic Banking in Pakistan

EMV — which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa — is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. In the wake of numerous large-scale data breaches and increasing rates of counterfeit card fraud, U.S. card issuers have migrated to this new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud. https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/emv-faq-chip-cards-answers-1264/

Engro Fertilizers accelerates digitization through SAP Fiori gamification

– With the task of managing user adoption to technological change at hand, Engro Fertilizers’ gamification of SAP Fiori has revolutionized the concept of digitization

KARACHI, Pakistan – 18 May 2021 –Engro Fertilizers Limited, a premier Pakistani fertilizer manufacturing and marketing company and a subsidiary of Engro Corporation, has accelerated its digitization at an unprecedented pace through the gamification of the SAP Fiori software application. This innovative initiative helped the company overcome several internal corporate challenges, such as employee resistance to digital change and enhancing sales force performance by enabling them through technology.

Developed by SAP, a global leader in software, Fiori allows organizations to create customized applications depending on specific needs. The application’s adoption gave Engro Fertilizers’ sales force direct access to real time data like inventory, customer balances and customer accounts on their smart phones, empowering them to make data-centric decisions. However, the initial resistance to adopting a new technology resulted in restricted app usage with employees still dwelling on traditional inefficient practices.

To drive employee engagement and ensure maximum utilization of the app’s key offerings for better sales and customer servicing, the commercial excellence team at Engro Fertilizers integrated an innovative concept of gamification into S/4Hana Fiori where a game-like interactive interface was introduced, titled “The Pakistan Walk”.

Players – users -from all three levels of sales force including Zonal, Regional, and Territory sales managers had to race through seven different creative levels designed as seven different cities of Pakistan to achieve KPIs based on certain functions and reports of Fiori app. Other gamification elements like live dice roll activities, badges, scorecard, video teasers, and bonus rounds were also introduced to spike engagement. Within six weeks, significant behavioral change was observed with more than 10,000 times app usage for data and reports, average usage of 73 times per player, and enhancing engagement to 99%.

“Last year we rolled out SAP Fiori application to facilitate our sales teams to have access of live data, enabling them to serve the customer better and to strengthen the Engro brand. However, the lack of adoption due to the learning curve was a matter of concern,” said Nadir Qureshi, CEO Engro Fertilizers. “The Pakistan Walk, an innovative gamification initiative by the commercial excellence team proved revolutionary in this regard which not only increased the application’s usage but also improved the performance of our sales team.”

Commenting on this ingenious method of driving employee attitude and increasing app usage, Saquib Ahmed, Managing Director SAP Pakistan, commented, “SAP has always been committed to propelling innovation in businesses while keeping the element of ease of doing business at the center. The successful gamification of SAP Fioriby Engro Fertilizers is considered a global best practice and serves as a milestone in digital transformation journey, giving an excellent solution to user resistance to new change and technology.”

Premier Group set up endowment fund for IBA Karachi students

The Premier Group, Pakistan’s leading business conglomerate and the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi, have joined hands to financially support deserving students to pursue their higher education.

The Premier Group have allocated a special grant to setup a scholarship endowment fund at the Institute. The ‘Premier Group Endowment Scholarship’ fund will support deserving undergraduate students at the IBA in perpetuity.

The Executive Director, IBA Karachi, Dr. S. Akbar Zaidi and the Managing Director, PharmEvo (Pvt) Ltd., Mr. M. Haroon Qassim signed an MoU at the Main campus. The MoU has been signed for a period of ten (10) years.

On the occasion, Mr. Qassim said, “We believe in enabling and educating the promising talent in Pakistan. We feel proud to be partnering with one of the top institutes of Pakistan to set up this Scholarship Endowment Fund. This is our humble contribution for a cause very close to our heart. We look forward to a long-term relationship with the IBA.”

Dr. Zaidi appreciated the various CSR activities undertaken by the Group in the field of education and health. He expressed his hope that other companies would also fulfil their obligations towards the society.

The IBA, with the help of its donors and philanthropic organizations, manages a financial assistance program which aids approximately 30% of its student body every year. Since 2016, around 9,000 students have been granted financial assistance amounting to Rs. 1.2 billion.

UBL & Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance to offer exclusive low-cost Housing Finance Solutions

UBL has been one of the leading advocates of the government backed ‘Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar’ low-cost housing finance scheme since its inception. To further enhance the Bank’s promotion and extension of this facility, UBL signed an agreement with Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance (AIM) in order to offer exclusive Housing Finance Solutions to the customers of Akhuwat. Furthermore, UBL will provide Housing Finance solutions on Low Cost Housing variants under Islamic Financing mode and will offer exclusive arrangements to the customers of Akhuwat.

AIM, a not-for-profit organization, has in-depth expertise of serving the under-privileged through favourable financial schemes. Through this agreement, AIM will coordinate with UBL in identification of the individuals who desire to obtain facility under the scheme. Both parties will explore viable business opportunities under the scheme and work towards extending the facility to the maximum number of deserving candidates.

The online agreement signing ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. Mr. Shazad G Dada, President & CEO UBL, along with Mr. Zia Ijaz, Group Executive, Branch Banking & International, Mr. Tanveer Farhan Mahmood, Head Islamic Banking and other senior executives were present on behalf of UBL. AIM was represented by Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib, Executive Director along with other senior officials.

Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib, Executive Director, AIM, said “It is indeed heartening to see that large banks like UBL are working wholeheartedly to bring about a positive change in the society. We look forward to working with UBL on this noble project to bring affordable and convenient housing solutions for the deserving masses of Pakistan.”

“The ‘Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar’ low-cost housing finance scheme is an integral project with strong backing from the Government of Pakistan. With the extensive hands-on expertise of Akhuwat on our side, UBL will be further able to provide streamlined and more focused low-cost housing finance solutions to deserving candidates across the country”, said Mr. Shazad G Dada, President & CEO UBL at the occasion.

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