Press Releases

XClub joined hands with sos children’s village to celebrate eid

Social community and content platform App XClub joined hands with SOS Village Lahore to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha. The social community and content platform App XClub carried out this small scale activity with the orphan children to make them smile on this Eid. Through this collaboration XClub aimed to spread happiness among the children of SOS Village.

This latest collaboration with SOS Village is an example to spread smiles among the children’s. XClub team spent some valuable time with the kids to make their Eid memorable.

The Team distributed Eid goodie bags among the children to give a positive message in a bid to share happiness with the orphan children. Through this initiative XClub Pakistan team urge everyone to share your contributions to the people who deserve it the most. Show your responsibility this Eid and share your food/zakat/fitrana/donations to the needy people.

Challenges increasing for the economy: 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 challenges to the battered economy are increasing.

Problems are increasing as compared to facilities which have raised concerns among the business community as some sectors are showing signs of decay, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that according to government’s statistics, Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) has gone down by 20 percent from January to May while the private sector has reported a fall of 33 percent.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the incentives given to LSM ended in the month of December resulting in a fall of production and now it is at the same spot where it was in September.

He said that facilities provided to the auto sector can improve LSM growth as it has a good share in this sector.

The business leader noted that current account deficit was 8.56 billion dollars in 2019 which jumped to $245 million surplus in 2020 but started its journey in deficit in 2021.

The deficit was $274 million in first three months of 2021, it was $188 million in April and $632 million in July meaning that the total current account deficit up to the month of May was over one billion dollars.

From July to May, the trade deficit has jumped by 26 percent which will increase and may touch the mark of 40 to 45 billion dollars in the new fiscal.

The industrial improved on the back of relaxations but it has not resolved the issue as the buying power of the masses has been damaged due to the prices of flour, sugar, and petroleum prices.

He warned that the price of petrol may jump by Rs30 while power tariff seeing a hike of Rs5 per unit in the days to come which will be a doomsday scenario.

Growth through artificial steps can increase trade deficit to an extent where the country will have to borrow to save forex reserves which will further complicate the situation, he warned.

UNSL- BlueEX and Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance to provide interest free microfinance loans to women

Universal Network Systems Limited (UNSL-BlueEX) and Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance (AIM) have joined hands to provide interest free microfinance loans to women in support of the Women Economic Empowerments Initiative. Under this initiative, both companies shall provide microfinancing to deserving women in order to allow them to purchase Motorcycles and gain employment with BlueEX as courier riders to earn a respectable and sustainable livelihood.

Winner of the “Brands of the Year” award for 2 consecutive years through 2019 and 2020, BlueEX, is a forward-looking and innovative logistics company that provides efficient, technologically savvy and pioneering solutions to its customers. Being a trendsetter in tech enabled logistics in the country, BlueEX has established a credible and efficient cash-on-delivery network across Pakistan.

The Chief Executive Officer of UNSL (BlueEX) – Mr. Imran Baxamoosa said that “BlueEX & AIM share a common goal of promoting the economic development of the people of Pakistan. He also stated that poverty is not gender-neutral; women have less access to microfinance credit, modern technology, and far fewer opportunities in the skilled work force, and therefore, to help increase gender diversity in the workplace and to promote women empowerment, BlueEX’s focus is to become an equal opportunity employer for women as well as an employer of choice. This microcredit business model not only expands access to employment opportunities but is also Shariah Compliant and has zero markup on the facility”.

The CEO of Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance (AIM), Dr. Kamran Shams stated that “AIM has created a model of microfinance along with BlueEX that will distribute small loans to deserving candidates for employment of BlueEX thus enabling them to generate a decent income and manage their economic wellbeing. This joint effort of BlueEX and AIM would address poverty as well as promote entrepreneurship, and social and economic development in marginalized communities”.

Global modest fashion forum will be organized on July 15th

*The Forum will be organized by AlHuda Centre of Modest Fashion – UAE

The Modest Fashion Industry is growing rapidly and gaining popularity globally. It has reached an impressive annual volume of US $322 billion. The consumer market for this industry is the 1.8 billion Muslims residing across the globe. Recently, the Non-Muslim community has begun to appreciate and adorn modest fashion apparel as well.

Modest Fashion is a blooming avenue in the fashion world internationally. AlHuda Center of Modest Fashion (CMF) is a UAE-based think tank that is providing advisory, R&D, consultancy, capacity building, and related services for modest fashion for the promotion of modest fashion across the world. The Modest Fashion Forum being organized by AlHuda CMF is an effort by AlHuda CMF to highlight Modest Fashion and all its far-reaching socio-economic and religious aspects.

The Forum will feature Speakers from various parts of the world. The Chief Guest of the Forum is Mr. Ihsan Ovut, Secretary-General – The Standards and Metrology Institute for the Islamic Countries (SMIIC). The speakers are Aisha Nancy Novakovich, Chair – Roots TV and Founder of Modest Fashion Australia and will be speaking on the topic “Modest Fashion and its Global Growth”. Joean “Iman” Montayre, Modest Fashion Advocate and Director of MFDA who will be sharing her views on “Future of Fashion and why virtual fashion shows are relevant in our current times”, Dilyara Sadrieva, Co-Founder Modest Fashion Russia and Director of Modest Fashion Council Russia and CIS who will speak on “Modest Fashion Culture on Russia and CIS, Adeosun Rukayat, who will provide insight into the “Role of religion in consumer behavior”. She is the founder of Pearls by Ray. Roshan Isaacs, MD/Editor Style Africa, will be expressing her opinion on “The resurgence of Modest Fashion: Why Now”. Hajra Khan, Ethical Fashion Consultant at Torino Fashion Match also serving in the capacity of Journalist & Presenter at Islam Channel will be discussing “Sustainable Modest Fashion and its impact on the global Islamic Economy”. Farida Efendi, Director for Council of Modest Fashion Azerbaijan and the Creator and Founder of Hijab Queens brand and HQS Events will be imparting valuable knowledge on “Modest Fashion- Confident and comfortable. Muhammad Zubair Mughal, CEO AlHuda Center of Modest Fashion will also address the Forum and highlight the role CMF aims to play in promoting Modesty. Ozlem Sahin Ertas, Managing Partner – Modest Fashion Weeks and Co-Founder of Modestcatwalk.com will be sharing from her rich industry experience on “Beyond the Limits, Global & Digital Thinking on Modest Fashion”. Meenu Prasad, Fashion Educationist Principal-Instituto di Moda Burgo Qatar shall address be addressing the topic “Realizing Modest Fashion Trends 2021 (spring-summer or summer)”. Modest Fashion trends and apparel are winning public opinion and are being adopted by both Muslims and non-Muslims on a global scale, said Muhammad Zubair Mughal, CEO – AlHuda CMF. He went on to further enunciate that dress codes in Islam and many other religions align in objective and rulings over them. Islamic Finance, Halal Research, and other allied components have been developed dedicatedly, but Modest Fashion is a missing component that has not been the focus of most enterprises and AlHuda CMF shall endeavor to fill this gap, awakening this sleeping attribute and breathing new life into this industry, he stated expounding the rhetoric behind AlHuda Centre of Modest Fashion.

The event will aim dedicatedly to raise awareness among and promote this industry in professional and industrial circles and bring together individuals of diverse backgrounds and careers together to highlight this avenue. The Forum will be held virtually on the 15th of July 2021 at 03:00pm UAE time and is expected to see a large attendance worldwide.

Imtiaz stores expands to 6 cities across Pakistan as a complete shopping destination for all

Imtiaz Stores, one of the most renowned retail business in Pakistan, serving a huge customer base daily from when they first opened their doors as a small corner store in 1955 have expanded across 6 cities and 18 stores countrywide in Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Sialkot.

Known for offering the best prices and an amazing value for money, Imtiaz Stores has become a household name over the years with its continued excellent customer service, a vast product range and an ever-growing number of stores.

To commemorate the landmark occasion and showcase their journey, the company has released a new commercial, which showcases how their team has put in an immense amount of hard work and dedication to get Imtiaz Stores to where it is today.

The commercial not only showcases the team’s efforts but also shows that the brand’s success today would not have been possible with the generations of loyal customers who have trusted Imtiaz Stores for decades and without whom this would not have been possible.

ACCA REPORT
Staying ahead of risks – the rise of the accountant as the ‘guardian of information’

– ‘More collaboration, more collective action needed to tackle the risks ahead’

An unmissable era is dawning for the accountancy profession and its role in effective risk management as a result of the global pandemic, environmental sustainability and economic turbulence, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).In its new report Rethinking risk for the future, ACCA asserts that as guardians of information, accountants can help organizations not only detect and better understand the emerging risks and opportunities facing them, but also cultivate the mindsets needed to think more long-term.

Capturing the views of its global members, including members in Pakistan, the report also showcases their vital roles in building operational resilience through Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), financial reporting, and predictive data analysis.

The report explains that while COVID-19 is the biggest crisis in a generation, business and society also face huge risks from rapid climate change – perhaps the biggest risk of all. Risk management has therefore been forced to center stage like never before. Accountants now have an unmissable opportunity to reassess how they can add more value in a post-Covid world where a myriad of pressing environmental, social and economic risks are prevalent.

For the report, Pakistan respondents were asked about what they believed to be the biggest risks to their organizations over the next two years, with 24% saying industry disruption and 22% international trade. They were also asked what risk activity their organization would most likely upgrade in 2021, with 51% saying risk culture for new working conditions, followed by 20% for operational resilience.

Rachael Johnson, report author and ACCA’s head of risk management and corporate governance says: ‘What’s clear from our engagement with ACCA members is the need for accountancy professionals to truly understand the strategic and business risks that their organizations face in the short, medium and long-term. In this way, through providing better informed decision making, they can help organizations maintain operational resilience and become more sustainable in today’s fast-changing, interconnected environment.’

Helen Brand, ACCA’s chief executive adds: ‘Because of COVID-19, we have all learned new and vital lessons about effective risk management over the last year, so that disruption preparedness is now top of organizations’ priorities. The challenge is about how this readiness is sustained. Professional accountants are central to all this – that’s why now’s the time for the profession to show in real ways how it helps organizations change behavior, rethink risk, and how accountants can help set the tone from the very top.’

Rethinking risk for the future concludes that risk can no longer be managed in isolation, with Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan ending: ‘Accountants, given their skills and professional duties, are in a privileged position to optimize their storytelling skills in new ways by creating more dynamic metrics and reporting methodologies. Accountants should be taking on a more advisory role in explaining the facts and possibilities behind the numbers, breaking them down and putting them into context for their organizations.

‘This is an unmissable opportunity for accountancy to encourage more collaboration and collective action on environmental, social and governance matters by working with public policymakers and partnering with leaders to help grasp how digitalization and new technologies can help avoid harm to people and the planet.’

The report includes expert insights from several ACCA members in Pakistan including:

· Rizwan Ikram, chief risk officer at Mobilink Microfinance Bank, who just recently moved to Telenor Microfinance Bank Ltd, Pakistan in Islamabad in the same role as CRO

· Owais Ali, operational and liquidity risk analyst at Al Baraka Bank Pakistan Ltd., Karachi

Standard Chartered celebrates five years of the goal programme in Pakistan
Highlights:

· Since its launch, it has reached over 16,000 school going girls

· Have partnered with 47 government secondary schools in Karachi and Islamabad

· More than 48,000 people have been impacted indirectly

· Lives of over 1000 children have been transformed through sports activities such a football

· More than 3700 lives have been benefited through initiatives taken in response to the Covid 19 emergency

Pakistan – 13 July 2021: Standard Chartered Bank announced the completion of five successful years of its flagship Goal Programme in Pakistan.

Goal is the Bank’s award-winning, sport-for-development programme that provides financial education and life-skills training to girls aged between 10 and 24. The objective of the Goal programme is to empower young women as economic leaders.

Goal was launched in Pakistan in 2016 and since its launch, we have impacted more than 16,000 adolescent girls’ lives in Pakistan. It is present in 47 schools across Karachi and Islamabad and more than 3700 girls have been benefitted just through the COVID-19 initiatives.

Along with our implementing partner Right To Play International, the Goal programme has implemented sports and life skills training to empower and equip young girls with the confidence, knowledge and skills they need to be integral economic leaders in their families, communities and societies.

Commenting on this occasion, Ms. Khadija Hashimi, Head, Corporate Affairs and Brand & Marketing, Africa and Middle East & Country Head, Pakistan, Standard Chartered Bank said: “It is a proud moment for us at Standard Chartered to announce the successful completion of five years of Goal in Pakistan. Since the launch we have impacted more than 16,000 girls across the country. We feel there is massive untapped potential waiting to be unlocked for girls in Pakistan. Through this initiative we will continue to provide them with the right tools and knowledge to make informed choices as they move into adulthood, and to empower them to be more active economic participants in their communities.

Educating girls and giving them the tools to shape their own future has an incredible multiplier effect on economic growth. It leads to increased prosperity not just for individuals but for their communities and the society at large.”

Commenting on the launch Mr. Ali Khayam, Country Representative, Right To Play International said “We have seen incredible results of Goal programme over the last 5 years. The confidence, agency and financial literacy that they acquire, enables these young girls to plan their education and careers, and to dream big. The programme prepares them to address the many challenges of life and become financial contributors to their families.”

What makes Goal unique is it’s play rather than classroom-based methodology to get the curriculum messages across. It is also, leveraging sports as a dynamic and healthy platform. The physical activities generate fun and help girls remember what they have learnt while giving them a break from the stresses of home life.

Goal’s training curriculum is based on five modules: ‘Be Money Savvy’ focuses on financial education (how to save, invest and open a bank account); ‘Be Yourself’ imparts effective communication skills; ‘Be Healthy’ builds knowledge on health and hygiene; ‘Be Empowered’ teaches girls how to be confident, authentic and stand up for their rights; and ‘Be Independent’ focuses on providing vocational training to girls to enable them to be financially empowered.

Water paucity to transform Pakistan into a desert, 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 said the country is facing a serious water crisis which can transform Pakistan into a desert.

If the issue was not resolved the country may face absolute scarcity within years hitting masses and damaging agricultural as well as industrial production, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that per capita availability has eroded by over 400 percent since independence which has put the future of the country at stake.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that per capita water availability was 5600 cubic meters in 1947 which is now 1000 cubic meters which is threatening world’s fifth most populous country in the world.

Water scarcity is reducing agriculture output damaging food security and burdening resources as Pakistan has become a net food importer.

He said that Pakistan is included in top ten countries where a large portion of the population lack access to clean drinking water which is the reason behind rising infant mortality and other disease.

Pakistan is third among countries facing water dearth because of wastage, theft, skewed distribution, old infrastructure, and wastage of 20 million acre-feet of water worth 20 billion dollars per annum.

Crops that need too much water should be discouraged while rural population should be educated as wastage of water is rampant in rural areas as compared to urban centers.

The business leader noted that almost half of the required water is extracted from the ground resulting in a threat to water and food security.

Groundwater table continues to go down leaving behind many tube wells dry as there is no system of monitoring and controlling the extraction of groundwater and there is no information about it.

Minister of state for climate change starts plantation drive at BRT Peshawar

Minister of State for Climate Change Ms. Zartaj Gul visited BRT Peshawar and commenced plantation drive. On the occasion Provincial Minister Transport Mr. Shah Muhammad Wazir, Chief Executive Officer TransPeshawar Mr. Fayyaz Khan also accompanied the state minister.

During the visit, a brief presentation on BRT Operational structure, features, and services was given by CEO TransPeshawar followed by the visit to the BRT Control room center. Later sapling was planted by the Honorable State and Provincial Minister.

Ms. Zartaj Gul stated that till now more than 2000 plants have been planted in BRT Peshawar following the vision of Prime Minister Pakistan and to promote Clean & Green and Green Urban Transport. She added that BRT Peshawar is a state-of-the-art project purely aimed to facilitate the public from all walks of life and its reach is almost to every nook and corner of the city.

BRT Peshawar is Pakistan’s first-ever environment-friendly public transport system which is not just limited to serve with the best public transport system but comes as a great resolve to the old obsolete and orthodox mode of transport. With hybrid buses and Zu-bicycle sharing system, this project is one of its kind.

Talking on the occasion State Minister also stated that any political party criticizing this project must come and visit the system as BRT Peshawar is incomparable with any of the existing rapid transit systems in Pakistan. Later State Minister also took a ride in BRT.

Ms. Zartaj Gul also stated that TransPeshawar has made exemplary arrangements during Covid-19 and engaging the public positively to adopt SOP`s. She shared that by BRT more than 3000 direct job opportunities were created in which females are encouraged to work and even in all departments the presence of females is visible.

She added that the key component of this project which is directly related to the environment is the use of hybrid buses, Zu bicycles, and the reduction of greenhouse gases up to 31000 tons annually is remarkable. She pledged the public to use BRT instead of their private vehicles and get vaccinated on priority in order to timely and effectively combat pandemic.

QisstPay reveals its game-changing ‘buy now pay later’ initiative

In a bid to facilitate both consumers and merchants, QisstPay, an upcoming mobile phone app, is entering the world of Fintech and e-commerce with a novel service being introduced in Pakistan – the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) initiative. With its BNPL service, QisstPay aims to expedite the growth of e-commerce in the country, providing interest-free payment solutions to online buyers, merchants, and business partners.

The name ‘QisstPay’ has been derived from two words: Qisst (installment in Urdu) and pay, and it allows QisstPay users to buy products from their platform, ranging between PKR 1,500 to PKR 35,000 on easy installments. These products include clothing, shoes, fashion accessories and electronics, among other items. What makes this BNPL platform truly unique is that these installments are entirely interest-free and do not require extra payment during a transaction.

QisstPay will offer masses the freedom to enjoy buying their favorite items at quarter of the price and pay in installments over four months. The app has the potential to promote the businesses of merchants by 60 percent, by bringing in more traffic and potential business leads.

According to CEO QisstPay, Jordan Olivas, the BNPL initiative is going to transform the Fintech and e-commerce landscape in Pakistan. He acknowledges the challenge that lies ahead in introducing a new and unique payment method in the country but is hopeful that if executed perfectly, BNPL could replace traditional credit cards in the future.

“BNPL lets users buy more things against the same amount, since with QisstPay, they are not obliged to pay for all things purchased at once. It does not charge them any interest fee either. In fact, everyone is free to buy everything, without having to pay any fee to the service. What could be better than that?” commented Jordan Olivas at a recently held corporate event held for QisstPay in Islamabad.

How many flights does it take to transport 247 horses from liege to Tokyo?

As the eyes of sporting enthusiasts around the world turn to Tokyo, a group of very special champions are making their way to the Japanese capital on special flights operated by Emirates.

Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates is operating eight charter flights to fly 247 horses from Liege to Tokyo. The first flight with 36 dressage horses has already landed at Haneda airport, Tokyo. Emirates will be operating an additional eight flights for the return journey from Tokyo to Liege. The carrier is working with Peden Bloodstock, a leading international horse transportation specialist for this charter.

During the flights, the horses will be comfortably settled inside specially designed horse stalls. Emirates SkyCargo will be flying 131 horse stalls to transport the 247 horses. In addition, 59 grooms will also be flying with the horses on the eight flights to ensure that the horses are well cared for, fed and watered during the journey from Liege to Haneda via a brief stopover in Dubai. Emirates will be transporting 20 tonnes of inflight food and drink for the horses along with 100 tonnes of special equipment for the onward journey from Liege.

Emirates has decades of experience in transporting horses across six continents for international sporting events. Emirates is also the title sponsor of a number of prestigious global horse racing tournaments and is a sponsor of Godolphin, the world’s leading horse racing team.

Emirates has a fleet of modern Boeing 777 freighter aircraft and a well-trained team to ensure that horses have a comfortable and stress-free flight experience. Emirates SkyCargo complies with regulations set out by national and international authorities on live animal transport including IATA Live Animals regulations (LAR).

Mobilink Microfinance Bank launches digital app ‘Dost’ to facilitate banking on the go

Pakistan’s largest digital bank, Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL) has launched ‘Dost’, a mobile-based application that provides a complete digital banking ecosystem to its customers and gives them hassle-free access to financial services round the clock. The latest addition to the MMBL ecosystem reflects the bank’s relentless pursuit for innovation to foster digital banking and financial inclusion in the country.

The digital application was launched in Islamabad by President & CEO MMBL, Mr. Ghazanfar Azzam along with senior executives, while dignitaries from the banking and finance sectors, MMBL staff as well as customers, and media were also in attendance.

Designed for ease of use and agility, the Dost app will help customers experience an array of digital banking features and perform all sorts of transactions through their accounts such as funds transfer, bill payments, mobile top-ups, receive loan summaries, purchase movie, bus and airline tickets, view, and download e-statements, block & manage cheques and debit card and a lot more with only a few taps on their smartphones. In addition, users will stay connected with the MMBL customer support team through instant WhatsApp Chat right from the Dost homepage in case they need additional support.

In his keynote address, President & CEO MMBL, Mr. Ghazanfar Azzam said: “This latest innovation is driven by MMBL’s long-term commitment to deliver unparalleled access to top-notch banking and finance facilities to enable and empower our customers. Similar to a trusted friend, ‘Dost’ will always remain close and readily available to users in times of pressing need and further strengthen our connection with our valued customers. I believe this new addition to our digital ecosystem will also be instrumental in fostering financial inclusion in the country which is a key strategic priority for us. I congratulate the MMBL team for this remarkable success.”

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Chief Finance & Digital Officer MMBL, Sardar Mohammad Abubakr said: “MMBL is proud to launch Dost, a complete digital ecosystem designed to optimize and simplify digital banking operations for our valued customers. As the largest digital bank in the country, MMBL is always on the lookout to introduce innovative solutions to promote digital banking and digitize customer journeys end-to-end. The digital application will provide seamless delivery of services to our customers besides extending digital services to underserved areas lacking physical banking and finance infrastructure.”

The bill payment, mobile top-up, and loan request facilities are features specifically designed for the ease and quick financial facilitation of users. Dost offers its customers 1000+ billers through which they can make payments to utility companies, telecom services, government bodies like FBR, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Government of Pakistan, airlines, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), education institutes, and many more. Likewise, the ease of blocking lost signed cheques and debit cards right from the couch will save users a lot of inconvenience.

Dost is a fully secured digital solution and will also provide fingerprint and facial recognition user logins on supporting devices going forward. MMBL is offering some exciting offers such as cash backs on first transactions through the Dost app to both MMBL customers and independent use.

Shan Foods celebrates Eid with Akhuwat

Reputed food company, Shan Foods, has partnered with Akhuwat Foundation, a nonprofit organization,to share the festivities and blessings of Eid-ul-Adhawith the underprivileged community.

The collaboration is one of the many initiatives being executed under Shan Foods’ CSR umbrella.In observance of the true spirit of Eid as part of this initiative,Shan Foods distributed especially curated goody bagsamong the beneficiary families of Akhuwat Foundation living below the national poverty line. The goody bags were also handed out to the children of Akhuwat Foundation’s hostel to add to their celebration of Eid.

Speaking about the distribution, Maria Rashdi, Senior Manager Communications at Shan Foods, said, “We believe that this is an opportunity to give back to the community that we all are a part of. Shan Foods has always valued and promotedbetter nutrition and accessibility to safe food. We hope to continue our pursuit of a healthier and prosperous society with the trust and support of our consumers.”

Shan Foods has carried out various other activities to extend its support during the tough times of the pandemic. A vaccination drive was also conducted to ensure the continued health and safety of its employees. The Company is not only working for the people but is also continuing its efforts for the upgradation of the environment.

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