Press Releases

Kuwait finance house spearheads regtech in the GCC with expanded partnership with codebase technologies

Codebase Technologies (CBT), a global API banking solutions provider, has been selected by Kuwait Finance House Bahrain (KFHB), a pioneer in the global Shariah banking space, to expand the bank’s digital market leadership with a streamlined regulatory reporting platform to enhance transparency and automate backend compliance operations.

As banking and financial technologies have evolved in parallel with central bank regulations, internal processes and protocols within these institutions have struggled to keep pace. Leveraging the technological advancements achieved through its partnership with CBT, KFH sought the banking solutions provider’s expertise in establishing an automated, flexible platform for regulatory reporting.

KFH’s new regulatory reporting capabilities are enabled by Digibanc™ RegReporting, a fully automated, end-to-end regulatory reporting platform that seamlessly integrates with multiple data sources and streamlines backend processing. The implementation will enable KFH to flexibly and rapidly respond to an ever-evolving regulatory environment while ensuring compliance and consistent, precise reporting.

Yousif Alhammadi, Executive Manager, Head of Financial Control & Administration at Kuwait Finance House Bahrain, said: “Technology’s expanding role in banking and finance will only continue to push institutions to widen their technological footprint. Partnering with the right technology enabler is where the advantage lies for institutions. Codebase Technologies consistently helps us evolve ahead of the market, empowering us with solutions and innovations that optimize our operations, and keep customers coming back.

Raheel Iqbal, Managing Partner & Global Product Head at Codebase Technologies, said: “The efficacy of what Codebase Technologies is capable of is clearly exemplified in how KFH Bahrain has defined itself as a leader in GCC digital banking landscape. We’re proud to be Kuwait Finance House Bahrain’s technology partner of choice to help it achieve its digital ambitions because they enable us to deliver on our mission of demystifying digital financial services, and reshaping the possibilities for the industry.”

Bilal Lakhani becomes first Pakistani to win PR 40 under 40 award

Bilal Lakhani, a PR industry veteran, who started his Communications career in Karachi, Pakistan has won the PR 40 Under 40 Award by PRWeek, one of the highest honors in the industry globally. PR 40 Under 40 recognizes individuals who are redefining the role of communications, PR and marketing.

Bilal is the first and only Pakistani to win a PR 40 Under 40 Award. For over a decade, Bilal has played key roles in designing and executing communication strategies for Procter & Gamble, as a top talent in Cincinnati, Geneva and Karachi. He’s currently leading communications for two-billion-dollar P&G brands in North America as well as directing P&G’s global Influencer Center of Excellence.

In addition to this, Bilal is an award-winning journalist and influencer, with over 300,000 followers on his social platforms. He’s a columnist for the Pakistan’s biggest language English newspaper and has delivered blockbuster interviews with the President and Finance Minister of Pakistan. He also directed a series of mini-documentaries on Extraordinary Pakistanis, which have over 20 million life time views.

“The 40 Under 40 alumni from the past decade represent a who’s who of communications and many honorees have gone on to senior positions in the industry,” said Steve Barrett, VP, editorial director of PRWeek. As PR forges new paths and breaks new ground in communications and marketing, PRWeek celebrates the influencers and innovators guiding the industry forward with the 2021 40 Under 40 class. The experiences of the 40 PR pros hold up a mirror to an industry that is evolving quickly in the areas of integration and social, digital and content, while at the same time maintaining the traditional skills of senior counsel and trusted advice to the C-suite.

“What I’m most grateful for,’ shares Bilal Lakhani. ‘Is that I started my Communications career in Karachi, Pakistan and won this honor in New York City today. This shows that Pakistani talent can thrive and win with the best talent globally.”

ASUS enters Pakistan market with the certified channel partner Tech Sirat

ASUS, the worldwide Top 3 consumer NB brand, is expanding their market into Pakistan through local authorized partner Tech Sirat, a move that will further meet the demand in the world’s fifth most populated country.

The rapid growth of Pakistan’s technology ecosystem makes ASUS set their foot in the market. As a country of 225 million people, Pakistan has always had a high growth potential and rapidly emerged as one of the most vibrant technology markets in the world.

“We see great opportunity in the future and aim to offer quality products and service to Pakistan customers,” said Jeff Lo, ASUS Regional Head.

The partnership between ASUS and Tech Sirat symbolizes a breakthrough in the local market. Tech Sirat is the group company of Muller & Phipps Pakistan, which is a leading distribution company in IT industry. “Tech Sirat is the perfect partner with wide distribution coverage and remarkable after sales service,” Jeff Lo said.

The customers can now be benefited from the reliable resource and the advantages it brings, such as comprehensive after sale support, official year years international warranty and ASUS leading technology. ASUS provides the world’s latest advancement in laptops and high-end gaming PCs under Republic of Gamers.

Kamran Nishat, CEO & MD, Tech Sirat, commented that the unshakable ASUS product quality establishes the solid basis for the partnership. “Through their innovative and avant-garde product lineups and our comprehensive market coverage, we are looking forward to the journey ahead.’’

ASUS’s relentless quest for perfection is now brought to Pakistan and will lead the market with world-class hardware and service to contribute to the technological advancements in Pakistan.

Mobilink Microfinance Bank posts 98pc yoy growth in revenues to reinforce market position

Pakistan’s largest Digital Bank, Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL) announced its financial results for the first half of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. The Bank reinforced its market standing as the leading Digital Bank by posting a 98 percent growth in total revenue with the Profit before Tax (PBT) growing by Rs14,601 compared to the first half of 2020. The Bank successfully continued its growth momentum from the corresponding year across all verticals, while acknowledging uncertainties related to COVID-19 on customer portfolio, behavior, and recovery trends.

Contrary to the industry average of PKR 50,000, MMBL’s average loan ticket stood at PKR 168,000 during the first half of the year and continues to grow further. The Bank’s core banking revenue grew by 80 percent while branchless banking revenues witnessed a growth of 27 percent during the period. Similarly, the Profit Before Tax of core and branchless banking increased by 467 percent and 285 percent respectively.

Sharing his thoughts on the bank’s performance, Mr. Ghazanfar Azzam, President & CEO MMBL said: “We are glad to register impressive growth records across all verticals due to our strong commercial performance and commitment to maintaining the highest standards in services delivery. However, what truly fuels our efforts is our customers’ unflinching trust and loyalty in this bank. We are fortunate that the MMBL family is constantly growing nationwide to further strengthen the bank’s market standing. I would also acknowledge the hard work, commitment, and excellence of the entire MMBL team that propelled the bank to the highest pedestal amongst other digital banks.”

Chief Finance & Digital Officer, MMBL, Sardar Mohammad Abubakr said: “The current financial results are a testament to our revamped focus on strategic value creation through agile business models and differentiated customer-centric offerings. This has been instrumental given the uncertainties linked to COVID-19, the impacts of which the industry as a whole will need to navigate with out-of-the-box solutions, in coming days and months.”

To further augment its customers’ digital experience, the Bank recently launched its complete digital banking application, ‘Dost- Powered by MMBL’ to provide convenient and hassle-free access to its expansive digital and financial ecosystem round the clock, from anywhere in the country.

MMBL is committed to promoting financial inclusion for all through its wide array of digital and financial services, made accessible through its expansive branch and branchless network spread across Pakistan, including far-flung areas. The Bank places a prime focus on the underserved segments of the population, particularly women, and SMEs through customized products and services that facilitate efficient and convenient business operations and allow greater control over financial choices to foster the socio-economic wellbeing of the masses.

Al Karam Textile Mills partners with U-Bank to digitize salary disbursement

In a move to streamline salary disbursement of its workers from cash to digital branchless banking solution, Al Karam Textile Mills Pvt Ltd (AKTM) has partnered with U-Microfinance Bank Limited (U-Bank) to provide factory workers a fast, safe and convenient channel to receive remuneration.

Speaking about this initiative, Mr. Zaid Kaliya, Chief Financial Officer, Al Karam Textile Mills stated: “This partnership with U-Bank is a significant step towards bringing convenience to our employees, especially the blue collar workers and daily wagers who previously had to wait hours in a queue to receive their wages in cash. With this facility of salary disbursements 1,500+ employees benefited from this service by receiving their salary in a swift and timely manner.”

Ms. Ambreen Malik, Chief Business and Digital Officer U Microfinance Bank Limited added, “U Microfinance Bank aims to promote digital and branchless banking solutions to ensure our customers are able to benefit from a cashless and seamless banking experience. This partnership with Al Karam is another important step forward in furthering this mission.”

Rafi Group holds open house event of green palms Gwadar project in Multan

Pakistan’s renowned Land Developer Rafi Group is holding a three-day Open House Event of Green Palms Housing Project Gwadar at Arena Hotel Event Complex in DHA Multan from July 30 till August 1, 2021.

The aim of the event is to give the people of Multan an opportunity to invest in Gwadar and to update them on the progress of CPEC Projects and development status of Green Palms Housing Project Gwadar. The team of experts from Rafi Group will also brief the public on investment opportunities in its flagship housing scheme Green Palms Housing Project Gwadar. Event attendees will be given the opportunity to book a plot on the spot in Gwadar.

It is important to mention here that Rafi Group is the pioneer land developer to set up Green Palms Housing Project in Gwadar with a vision to meet the housing needs of the Coastal City. Green Palms is the largest private housing project in Gwadar with an approved NOC from Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) for 1065 acres of land. The housing project is being developed at a rapid pace and provides rich prospects for investment in Chinese backed Smart Port City Gwadar.

Gerry’s Dnata recognised for safety excellence in Pakistan

Gerry’s dnata, Pakistan’s largest ground services provider, has won a prestigious award for achieving the highest safety standards. The company has been recognised for its industry leading health & safety risk assessment and control procedures at the 7th International Environment, Health & Safety Awards.

Syed Haris Raza, vice president of Gerry’s dnata, said: “Safety is a fundamental, uncompromising tenet of our business, and one of our six corporate values. We’ve integrated safety in all aspects of our operations and engage our people at all levels of the organisation in continuous improvement.

“This award is a testament to our team’s hard work and industry-leading achievements. I am immensely proud of my colleagues and thank them for their relentless commitment to ensuring the highest level of safety for our customers and their passengers, every day.”

The International Environment, Health & Safety Awards are organised by the Professionals Network with the aim of honouring leadership and best practices across various industries in Pakistan. The awards are supported by the Pakistan Safety Council (PSC).

A trusted partner of over 20 international airlines, Gerry’s dnata provides quality and safe ground handling and cargo services at seven airports in Pakistan. The company has been recently awarded the Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certification for the safe and reliable pharmaceutical handling services at the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Karachi.

Gerry’s dnata also achieved IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) Registration in Pakistan, and obtained ISAGO Station Accreditation at Karachi International Airport following successful completion of ISAGO audits. ISAGO is an industry global standard for the oversight and audit of ground service providers.

MCB Bank enters into alliance with Alchemative for internet gateway payment services

MCB Bank Limited, one of Pakistan’s leading Banks, has entered into an alliance with Alchemative, an innovative and customer-centric technology company, for providing progressive financial and digital services to ecommerce companies. This strategic partnership is aimed at providing a one stop solution to eCommerce businesses for all of their online retail business needs.

Under this agreement, MCB Bank and Alchemative will grant each other Preferred Partner status and will provide a host of financial and digital services to eCommerce merchants, including Internet Payment Gateway services, Tokenization services, Real Time Fraud Filtering, Application development, eCommerce website design and development services, website management and other technical support services all through one unified platform.

The agreement was signed between Mr. Salman Nisar Ahmed, Business Head, Digital Banking, MCB Bank and Mr. Omer Farooq, CEO, Alchemative at MCB House, Lahore. Mr. Shahzad Ishaq, Group Head, Consumer & Digital Banking, MCB Bank, Mr. Jasim Ahmed Waheed, Department Head Acceptance, Digital Banking, MCB Bank, Mr. Umer Qasim, Product Manager eCommerce, Digital Banking, MCB Bank, Mr. Muhammad Tayyab, Director Technology, Alchemative and Mr. Ali Abbas, Director Ecommerce, Alchemative were also present at the ceremony.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Shahzad Ishaqsaid “MCB Bank’s pioneering MCB eGate financial solution is a preferred Internet Payment Gateway of choice for most of eCommerce merchants nationwide. Through MCB eGate, merchants can accept digital payments online through their websites and mobile apps conveniently and comfortably from wherever they may be. With our partnership with Alchemative, we look forward to providing merchants further value addition through a host of additional services at exclusive discounted rates!”

Mr. Omer Farooq also added “The very idea of digitalization and empowerment of society by utilizing technology is at the heart of Alchemative. MCB Bank’s initiative of enabling merchants to set up the financial aspects of their businesses and digital payments with ease is the central idea behind this partnership. Alchemative can support the development of e-store and back-end operations while MCB Bank enabling the merchant to setup banking and payment processes for the business, resulting in the creation of a one-stop solution. With the help of this partnership, we expect a smooth transition to the digitalized world for companies and startups.”

Samba Bank modernizes to the latest Temenos core banking platform with Ndc Tech

Samba Bank Pakistan, a fully owned subsidiary of the largest bank in the Middle East (Saudi National Bank) has signed an agreement with NdcTechto modernize to the latest Temenos Core Banking Platform. This will allow the Bank to rapidly launch new innovative products, streamline its banking operations, drive homeownership through growth in Naya Pakistan, foster SME development and lending, and seek to be the foremost trusted partner for top-tier corporates and institutions.

Samba Banks envisions to hyper-scale its presence through digitization rather than traditional channels. This Upgrade will modernize the Bank’s Digital Core, making products and services accessible to its customers via existing and new digital channels.

NdcTech’s expertise in Pakistan Model Bank approach delivers pre-configured, localized functionality and best practices, reducing the need for customization and decreasing timescales for delivery, enabling the Bank to comply with local regulatory requirements and best practices. This partnership will also enableSamba Bank to establish a modern banking architecture.

At the event, Mr. Shahid Sattar, CEO & President Samba Bank said: “Temenos Transact provides the most extensive and richest set of banking functionalities across Retail, Corporate, Commercial, SME, Agriculture, Payments and Regulatory Compliance. We believe this commitment with our long-term partner NdcTech to modernize the Core will provide the leap forward we need to enhance our market share and deliver better services and products through multiple channels.”

Ms. Ammara Masood, CEO & President, NdcTech commented: “We are proud to build on our long-standing relationship with Samba Bank across Pakistan and regionally to support their aggressive growth plans in the coming years. Through this agreement, we will be providing the Upgrade expertise and local regulatory layer that will prepare the Bank for the future. We want to continue expanding our proven track record and enable digital transformation for Banks.”

UBL successfully subscribes to privately placed term finance certificate of PMRCL

United Bank Limited (UBL) has successfully subscribed to a secured, unlisted Privately Placed Term Finance Certificate (PPTFC) of PKR 2.5 Billion issued by Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company Limited (PMRCL) for a tenor of 3 years. Mohsin Tayebaly & Co. acted as the transaction legal counsel.

The subscription will contribute in building the housing and construction loan portfolios, as part of the strategy by Government of Pakistan and State Bank of Pakistan for extending mortgage loans and financing to developers and builders.

The facility is aimed at improving the quality of living conditions for the people of Pakistan through construction of affordable housing. Its linkage to dozens of allied industries, offers substantial potential for boosting economic activities in the country. The facility has been successfully disbursed and the proceeds will be used for mortgage refinance.

A signing ceremony in this regard, was recently held at UBL Head Office, Karachi. UBL was represented by Mr. Shazad G Dada, President & CEO, Mr. Farooq A. Khan, Group Head – Corporate, Investment Banking & Financial Institutions, Mr. Muhammad Tayyab Khurshid,

Unit Head Financial Institutions and other senior executives of the Bank. From PMRCL, Mr. Muddasir H. Khan, CEO, Mr. Farrukh Zaheer, Head of Treasury & FIs, Mr. Muhammad Shahzad Khan, Head of Business along with other senior team members, attended the ceremony.

Cheap electricity central to improve standard of living of masses: 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 Monday said cheap electricity is very important to improve standard of living of masses.

Affordable electricity boost industrial and agricultural production and make services cheap which helps masses improve their lives, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that small power houses should be preferred over big ones as practiced in the developed world which can help resolve the power sector issues.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that small power houses and focus on solar and wind power can help overcome losses worth trillions of rupees.

He said that according to a report of World Bank, twenty percent of electricity is wasted to theft and weak infrastructure while efficiency and transmission issues are resulting in losses worth $4.5 billion.

Fifty million people have no access to electricity while ninety million face load shedding resulting in monetary and social problems, he informed.

He said country imports fossil fuel worth billions squeezing resources and adding to the pollution. Pakistan is producing 64 percent of electricity through imported fuel and it will increase as economy takes off.

Efforts to improve transmission system and introduce renewable energy are half-hearted which should be given a boost while energy policy should be altered to make it according to the ground realities, he demanded.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that whole energy system should be revived and revisited so that masses could get affordable electricity which will also boost industrial and agricultural production and boost exports which are imperative for national development.

5th Pakistan digital awards spotlights digital success

Following the successful Pakistan Digital Awards (PDA) held in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, PDA has surfaced once again this time to recognize the very best in digital platforms and talent across the country for 2021. Like last year, this time again, PDA had to be confined to a non-audience based and open air show at Andalusian Lawn DHA, keeping in mind the SOPS for Covid-19. The venue selection was perfect in the beautiful weather of Karachi.

The awards were hosted by Abdul Sami Qahar, CEO at Stimulus Production Worldwide and Sahar Tahir Khan, director Business Development at Digital Headquarter.

The jury of Pakistan Digital Awards included Zeeshan Hasib Baig, CEO & Country GM at Careem, Subul Naqvi, Head of Corporate Communications Telenor Microfinance Bank, EasyPaisa, Fatima Mazhar, Ex GM Pakistan at KeepTruckin, Asad Bukhari, General Manager Digital Systems at Pakistan International Airlines, Ali Imran Memon, Head of Media and Digital Acceleration at Nestle Production, Sarah Sohail, GM Digital Sales & Marketing at IMM Digital-Jang Group of Companies, Faizan Lakhani, CEO at Entertainer Asia – Vouch 365, and Madiha Alvi, Regional Marketing and Communications Head and International Marketing Coordinator at The City School Official.

Among the guest of honors were Ikhtiar Baig Chairman Baig Group, Rehan Hyder CEO INSOURCE Technologies, Shariq Vohra President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Partners for the event were Vouch 365, StIarlinks PR, Ideation, Stylerio Beauty Salon, Pakola, TCS Sentiments, Jubilee Life Insurance, Tapal and Oktopus Group, whereas the streaming partner was M Junoon.tv.

Young emerging singer Ali Naveed along with his team performed at the event.

While Jahan Ara bagged the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Digital industry, other award categories and recipients were:

Best Banking Tech of the Year

Engro Fertilzers Limited

Best Discount Deals Application

Daraz

Best Emerging Technology

United Bank Limited

Best Digital API

EFU Life Assurance Limited

Best E Commerce App

Daraz

Best Life Style Application

Bank Alfalah

Best Innovated Mobile App

Careem Pakistan

Best Insurance Tech of the Year

EFU Life Assurance Limited

Best Mobile App

United Bank Limited

App & web enabled market awards

Arhamsoft Pvt Ltd.

Innovative Fintech Data Solution Provider

Engro Fertilzers Limited

Best Mobile Bank application

Habib Bank Ltd

Best Animation of the year

Shangrila Foods (Pvt) Limited &Continental Biscuits Limited

Best Content Marketing Award

United Industry Limited (Kashmir Beats)

Best CSR Campaign

Daraz

Best Digital Marketing Communication (Videos)

Interwood Mobel & Amreli Steel

Best Global Reach

Shan Foods Pvt. Ltd & Verge Systems

Best High Impact Campaign

Shangrila Foods (Pvt) Limited

Best Integrated Media strategy

Nestle Pakistan Ltd

Best Meme Marketing Campaign

Meme Marketing

Social media Influencer Communications

Nestle Pakistan Ltd

Best SEO Campaign

PEL

Best Short form web Video

Suzuki Pakistan

Best Social Media Campaign (Facebook)

Al BARAKA Apparel & Jubilee Life Insurance

Best Social Media Campaign (Instagram)

Cheetay Logistics & Santex Pvt Ltd (Butterfly Napkins)

Best Social Media Campaign (LinkedIn)

Amreli Steels

Best Social Media Campaign (Snapchat)

Nestle Pakistan Ltd

Best Social Media Campaign (Twitter)

Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited

Best Social Media Campaign (TikTok)

Sarsabz (Fatima Fertilizers)

Best Omni-Channel Campaign

Dawlance Pvt Ltd

Best E Commerce Website

PEL

Best Online streaming

B Digital Pvt Ltd

Best Transport Service Online

Careem Pakistan

Best website of the Year

Habib Bank Ltd

Facebook community of the year

Soul Brothers Pakistan

Startup of the Year

Befiler (Pvt) Ltd

Web series of the year

Habib Bank Limited

Best Blogger of the year

Bilal Azam

Best Content Creator

Ideation

Best Digital Customer Service Team

Careem Pakistan

Best Digital Innovation

Pakistan MNP Database (Guarantee) Limited & Bank Alfalah

Best Digital Media Team

Daraz

Best Digital Payment Processor

Habib Bank Ltd

Best Digital Trading Team

Nestle Pakistan – Wavemaker

Best Digital videos creator

Golden Pearl Cosmetics

Best Payment Technology

Engro Fertilzers Limited

Best Use of Creativity/Innovation

Nestle Pakistan Ltd

Gamification Award

JAZZ

Youtuber of the year award

Sharumki sketch book

Young Digital Entrepreneur

Arhaam Imtiaz

TikToker of the Year

Jannat Mirza

PDA- Global Digital Awards

Shan Foods Pvt. Ltd

Best Digital Campaign

Bank Alfalah & JAZZ

Best Digital Campaign of the year (Small budget)

Jubilee Life Insurance & JS Bank

Best Digital Agency of the year

Wave Maker

Jury Awards for the best campaign

Amrelli Steel

The PR of the event was handled by STARLINKS PR and Events. For posting on social media kindly use the following hashtag: #pakistandigitalawards2021 #PDA2021

Overseas employment for Pakistanis plummets due to pandemic, 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 Monday said COVID-19 pandemic has delivered a hammer blow to overseas employment promoters and the people seeking jobs overseas.

It has also damaged the business of overseas employment promoters bankrupting majority of the promoters therefore government should announce a package for this critical sector, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that overseas employment promoters should be re-energized so that they can export manpower which will reduce unemployment and help the country earn foreign exchange.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the world is returning to normalization due to vaccination which will result in demand therefore the government should help employment promoters and give them the status of an industry.

He said that the current government has helped many sectors of the economy but ignored promoters as the majority of them are unable to pay office rent and staff salaries, therefore, they should be given interest-free loans.

Many people seeking employment in foreign countries are held back by pandemic, many could not return due to restrictions while a sizable number has lost jobs.

He noted that overseas Pakistanis remitted 29.4 billion dollars during the last fiscal which helped government overcome financial problems while the remittances could be increased substantially if an enabling environment is provided to employment promoters.

The business leader noted that it is the private sector which sends the majority of people abroad, which should be facilitated, adding that the efforts of State Bank in this regard are laudable.

The central bank should redouble efforts to increase remittances to fill the current account gap as foreign investment has always remained below expectations in the country, he said.

Shell Tameer Awards 2021 — empowering youth to establish sustainable enterprises

To promote and recognize Pakistan’s bright, young entrepreneurs, ‘Shell Tameer Awards 2021’ has been launched, opening the application process from now until August 8th. This initiative is part of Shell LiveWIRE – a global flagship programme, locally named Shell Tameer, for enterprise development, envisioned to strengthen local economies, by promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.

Start-ups and innovators in their prototype stage are eligible to participate under six categories. ‘Clean Energy Solutions’ (CES) category includes disruptive technologies for access to energy, off-grid solutions, energy-efficiency etc. ‘Empowering Women’ (EW) category invites innovative tech solutions that enable genderequality and new livelihood opportunities. ‘Technology Innovation’ (TI) category fosters e-commerce, FinTech & smart solutions for Health, Education & Business. Other categories include; ‘Circular Economy’ (CE), ‘Transportation & Mobility’ (T&M) and ‘Bright Ideas Award’ (BIA).

The functional benefits provided by Shell-Tameer include access to financing and capital, mentoring, investor pitches, Shell global support platforms, media exposure, and high-value networking.

Since its launch in 2003, Shell Tameer has successfully worked with more than 1000 startups and expansions, training 13,000 people through workshops, while engaging 800,000 youngsters. Till date, 26 entrepreneurs have already received Shell Global Awards, grants and trade opportunities, while nine participants have won the global ‘Shell LiveWire’ – Top Ten Innovators Awards, since 2015.

The Chief Executive Officer of Shell Pakistan Limited, Haroon Rashid stated, “We are eager to support diligent and talented youth of our society, in realizing their progressive dreams for a prosperous future. Shell Tameer is geared to help them transform brilliant ideas into sustainable enterprises. Shell Tameer is proud of the great performance of its alumni, as we continue to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit, showcase their achievements and explore the nation’s potential.”

Promoting an entrepreneurial culture, Shell Tameer is nurturing creative ideas through universities and incubation-centers. Shell is making diverse social investments, based on insights, in a digital era which has already enabled many young minds to structure global businesses worth billions of dollars. For more details, please visit the website: Shell Tameer Awards 2021 | Shell

Pakistan and Korean firms collaborate to expand EV charging infrastructure in Pakistan

Zi Solar Pvt Ltd, a leading renewable energy solution provider in Pakistan, has entered into an exclusive partnership with Aeonus Co. Ltd., a Korean global leader in renewable energy.

This partnership will pave the way for the deployment of state-of-the-art Korean-manufactured Electric Vehicles (EV) charging and storage equipment in Pakistan. The two companies will also collaborate in research and development to promote electric charging infrastructure and facilities in Pakistan.

The collaboration is in line with the government’s objective to promote electric vehicles in Pakistan to improve the environment and to reduce the oil import bill. The collaboration also complements the Pakistan Electric Vehicles Policy 2020-2025 that targets a robust electric vehicle market having a 30% and 90% share in passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks by 2030 and 2040 respectively.

The signing ceremony took place at the office of Korea Trade Investment Cooperation Agency in Karachi. The document was signed by M. Bilal Zaigham, Director of Business from Zi Solar, Mohammad Farooq CEO of Zi Solar, Daniel from Aeonus, and EunHeo, CEO of Aeonus. Zaigham Hassan, Director of Zi Solar and Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, Founding Chairman of Zi Solar also joined the occasion virtually from Qatar and United States respectively. The CEOs of Zi Solar and Aeonus also thanked KOTRA and Pakistan Embassy in Seoul for helping both the companies in connecting with each other.

Commenting on the partnership, M Bilal Zaigham, Director, Business Development, Zi Solar, said that electric vehicles are rapidly gaining ground in Pakistan. To make this trend sustainable, there is a need for reliable and efficient charging solutions and equipment. Our partnership with Aeonus Co. Ltd. would prove to be a milestone in enhancing the growth of electric vehicles in Pakistan. He said that in a very short period since its inception in 2015, Zi Solar has achieved a significant position in providing renewable energy-related solutions and technologies and we are committed to providing high-quality solar systems and equipment in Pakistan through partnerships with global technology companies and equipment manufacturers.

EunHeo, CEO of Aeonus, welcomed the partnership and said, “We are proud to select Zi Solar as our exclusive partner in Pakistan to provide renewable energy solutions in Pakistan. Aeonus is empowering communities to build a safer and better society by providing innovative technology solutions to tackle the effects of global climate change. The Provision of modern electric vehicle charging equipment and solutions based on Korean technology to Pakistan also reflect our commitments.”

Under this MoU, Zi Solar Pvt. Ltd. will facilitate the establishment of EV charging infrastructure and Smart Mobility Charging Outlets along with distributing all 3 levels of fast EV chargers including over 50kWDC (level 3 chargers) and over 7kW AC (level 2 chargers). Moreover, Zi Solar will also be providing the Electric Energy Storage System (EESS) with Solar Panel for EV Charging System.

Standard Chartered global focus q3 2021: navigating a vulnerable recovery

Standard Chartered expects global growth to rebound to 5.8% in 2021 from -3.3% in 2020 as economies reopen and vaccination rollouts gain momentum.

According to the latest Global Focus – containing the Bank’s economic forecasts for Q3 – it sees two key downside risks to the outlook: (1) a more extensive resurgence of pandemic cases resulting from new variants, which could force the extension or re-imposition of restrictions; and (2) a more sustained surge in inflation that damages consumer confidence and forces a swifter tightening of monetary policy.

The two risks are linked, as current supply-chain pressures (and related costs) could worsen if a COVID resurgence disrupts global production again. Eighteen months on from the first COVID-19 cases, some parts of the world are emerging from the pandemic, while others remain in the midst of a crisis. Global case numbers so far this year are higher than for all of 2020, and many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are experiencing renewed surges with still-low vaccination rates. In most major developed economies, by contrast, advanced vaccination programmes are containing the pandemic and allowing restrictions to be eased.

Global GDP and trade volumes are recovering faster now than after the global financial crisis Thanks to successful pandemic containment, China’s GDP has returned to trend (the level reached if growth had continued at the average pace seen before the pre-pandemic peak); the Bank continues to expect growth of 8% this year.

Activity elsewhere in Asia has turned lower again with a resurgence in COVID cases. India, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic GDP levels until Q3-2021. Since the previous Global Focus in early April, Standard Chartered has downgraded its 2021 GDP growth forecasts for these economies, with the exception of Singapore, where activity has been resilient despite restrictions.

Of the developed economies that were hardest hit by the pandemic, the Bank expects the US to return to trend GDP by late 2021 thanks to substantial fiscal support; it maintains the 2021 GDP growth forecast of 6.5%. Although the euro area may not fully regain output lost during the pandemic after having suffered a double-dip recession, the Bank raises its 2021 growth forecast to 4.5% given good vaccination progress, with over half of the population having received at least one dose.

Global export volumes are now 3.9% higher than before the pandemic. Booming goods trade has particularly benefited small export-oriented economies (such as Taiwan and Vietnam) and commodity producers (such as Chile). Standard Chartered expects this dynamic to continue, helped by pent-up consumer demand, as unemployment falls and savings are deployed amid economic reopening.

In developed economies, the build-up of savings during the pandemic has raised the prospect of a spending surge once economies normalise and restrictions are fully lifted. However, several factors may limit the full deployment of savings for higher spending on goods and services. And precautionary savings may stay high, particularly as households anticipate higher taxation to reduce government debt levels. The Bank expects a gradual rather than an abrupt return to ‘normal’ savings rates over the next couple of years.

Sarah Hewin, Head of Research, Europe and Americas, Standard Chartered Bank, said: “The pandemic continues to pose downside risks to the outlook. The more recent emergence of the ‘Delta plus’ variant, which is potentially even more transmissible, highlights that new variants will continue to pose a significant threat until cases are brought down sufficiently on a global scale. Achieving herd immunity against the Delta variant could require as much as 90% of the population to be vaccinated. While China and the EU are on track to approach such levels by September or October, the recent slowdown in the US vaccination pace suggests that the 90% level may not be reached until February 2022.”

DEMO and KPITB delivered the first SheMeansBusiness training workshop for women entrepreneurs in Durshal Peshawar

DEMO and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) are pleased to share that they have launched SheMeansBusiness training workshops in Durshals, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The first 3-day digital marketing and financial management workshop was conducted in Durshal Peshawar.

Launched in 2016, the SheMeansBusiness programme by Facebook supports women-owned enterprises to enter the digital economy through skills training and business inspiration. Global research reinforces the importance of women entrepreneurship as a building block in leading the economic progress of a country. To carry this mission forward, DEMO, along with KPITB, partnered to conduct a series of 3-day capacity building training workshops across the seven Durshal community spaces. Durshals are community spaces based in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which aim to provide youth with an opportunity to collaborate, innovate, access training, and launch new businesses.

The training was attended by women entrepreneurs belonging to various industries; from hospitality and recreation, to healthcare and education. Through presentations and practical demonstrations, they were taught skills related to the use of social media tools, content creation, online marketing, and financial management.

Muhammad Bin Masood, CEO at DEMO, while speaking at the workshop commented: “I am very pleased to see the response and motivation of our participants. The launch of SheMeansBusiness program will help women from KPK to learn from a world class curriculum and apply digital and financial literacy tools to improve their businesses. I believe digital skills are the skills of the present and the future and it pleases me to be able to play a part in imparting knowledge to a talented pool of women entrepreneurs. I am very excited and looking forward to the response we receive in the upcoming workshops at the rest of the Durshals.”

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Sahibzada Ali Mahmud, Managing Director KPITB remarked, “The launch of this program has created an exciting opportunity for the entrepreneurs who want to equip themselves with the required expertise to be successful in this digital age, especially women-led businesses. Seeing the response, I am very hopeful that this initiative will help in advancing the scope of digital skills of KPK’s women entrepreneurs and bring a significant change in our economy.”

The next workshops will be conducted in the upcoming months in Durshals at Abbottabad, Swat, Swabi, Bannu and Mardan.

Farah Naz appointed as Falcon-i first female MD

Farah Naz has joined Falcon-i, Pakistan’s leading IoT fleet management company, as the first female Managing Director since the company’s inception. An alumna of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Ms. Naz joins Falcon-i from the energy sector and is looking to take the company to new heights.

Ms. Naz’s illustrious experience spans over 28 years in various key business functions including consumer financing, corporate communication, corporate social responsibility, service quality, and customer relationship management. She has been associated with some of the most iconic brands across the banking and energy sectors where she has led large teams and cultivated relationships with key clients – all while significantly contributing to company goals and objectives.

As Falcon-i continues its mission of providing the best tracking services in Pakistan, Ms. Naz, using her experience, will direct and control all of Falcon-i’s business operations and provide strategic guidance and direction to the board to ensure that the company achieves its vision, mission and long term goals.

In 2015, Pakistan committed to various UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which UN SDG 5 aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030”.

There is a dearth of female MDs in the tracking industry, making Ms. Naz’s appointment at Falcon-i a significant one. Having female leadership at Falcon-i is a diversity and inclusion milestone for the organisation as well, resonating with the ‘Women in Leadership’ International Women’s Day (IWD) agenda for 2021 which focuses on achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.

Ms. Naz commented, “Harnessing the skills and abilities of Falcon-i’s employees will serve as a catalyst for achieving our goals and objectives. I look forward to working with my colleagues at Falcon-i towards creating greater value for our customers.”

Comsats University Islamabad hosted Marcel Grossmann meeting 2021 session

Every three years, the International Centre for Relativistic Astrophysics Network (ICRANet) holds the Marcel Grossmann Meetings on Advances in General Relativity and Relativistic Astrophysics. This year, the meeting was hosted in Pakistan by COMSATS University Islamabad.

It is relevant to note that the First Grossmann Meeting was directed by Prof. Remo Ruffini at ICTP in 1975.

In 2021, it was the Sixteenth Marcel Grossmann Meeting which continued for a week. Due to COVID-19 this year it is being held online with 1,200 participants from all over the World, stretching from New Zealand and Australia to Europe, America, Japan and China.

The inaugural day was started by the Director of ICRANet, Prof. Remo Ruffini, who discovered the first black hole in Pescara, Italy, with talks from speakers based in Russia, England, America, France, and a public lecture from Germany. The next session had two public lectures and was hosted by the COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Islamabad, Pakistan titled Ulugh Beg’s Universe.

It was dedicated to the medieval Muslim Astronomer, Ulugh Beg of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, grandson of the conqueror, Timur Lane and launched a series of conferences in the field of Relativistic Astrophysics, to be held in the Central Asian region, including Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The session consisted of two public lectures by Prof. Asghar Qadir, a Relativist from Pakistan, on the Development of Relativity, and Prof. Muhammad Bagheri,an Iranian historian of Astronomy who talked of Ulugh Beg’s Scientific School in Samarkand.

The convening of meeting is ongoing attempt for Pakistan to join ICRANet, with the ICRANet seat for Pakistan being hosted by CUI under the name “The Abdus Salam Centre for Relativistic Astrophysics”, which will be used by Pakistani relativity community developed over the past 50 years, with the help of The Abdus Salam International Centre for Relativistic Astrophysics (AS-ICTP). Meeting ended with vote of thanks by the Chair.

MCB Bank sponsored Hushe mountaineering expedition successfully ascends K2 summit

An MCB Bank sponsored team of 5 porters from the Hushe region, an under developed and poverty stricken area in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), successfully ascended the K2 Summit during a challenging first attempt, demonstrating their mountaineering acumen and ability. The 5 member team braved harsh weather and adverse climbing conditions to achieve the remarkable feat in just 20 days.

Enabled by MCB Bank, the successful Hushe Expedition was led by Muhammad Taqi along with climbing members Ali Durani, Mushtaq Ahmad, Yousaf Ali and Muhammad Hassan. The Exhibition demonstrated prowess in ascending K2, commonly known as The Savage Mountain, which is notorious for unpredictable weather, avalanches and for the challenging logistics of the main trek to its summit.

The successful exhibition will greatly enhance the visibility of local porters and mountaineering talent. It will also facilitate tourism and enable economic empowerment for the impoverished communities of Gilgit-Baltistan by encouraging foreign mountaineers to hire local porters as guides, instead of Nepalese Sherpas, for future expeditions to high altitude peaks in Pakistan.

MCB Bank’s initiative to support the Hushe team is in line with the Bank’s corporate social responsibility to support local talent, uplift marginalized communities and promote a softer image of Pakistan. The Bank wholeheartedly congratulates the entire Hushe team on their landmark achievement and is confident they’ll inspire future generations to take up mountaineering as a serious endeavor.

The Hushe mountaineering Expedition was made possible through the collaborative supportive efforts of MCB Bank and Jahandad Society of Community Development (JSCD), a credible non-governmental organization, in coordination with local experienced mountaineers and high altitude porters of the Hushey village, Tehsil Khaplu, District Ganche.

MCB Bank, a Bank for Life, strongly believes in its corporate social responsibility and has undertaken numerous other CSR initiatives in the areas of education, health, environment, sports and social awareness in the past. The Bank has made significant contributions to the welfare of charitable institutes and NGOs, including Edhi Foundation, SKMCH, Saleem Memorial Trust Hospital and Pink Ribbon amongst others.

Careem to connect its merchants and employees through Jazz’s communications solutions

Careem, the Super App for the greater Middle East and Pakistan has recently announced its partnership with Jazz, Pakistan’s number one 4G operator and the largest internet and broadband service provider. This partnership allows Careem access to Jazz’s campaign management tools and provide its colleagues and restaurant merchants with GSM cellular service.

Under this partnership, Jazz will provide tailored and affordable GSM voice and data services for Careem’s employees and restaurant merchants, enabling seamless connectivity across the country. The announcement was made following a signing ceremony that was held in Karachi under the presence of senior management from both companies.

Commenting on the partnership, Zeeshan Baig, Country General Manager and CEO, Careem said: “We are super delighted to partner with Jazz to provide our colleagues and merchants with seamless network solutions. This partnership is an embodiment of how companies can come together to provide their employees and other key stakeholders with solutions that create their day-to-day tasks hassle-free.”

Syed Ali Naseer, Chief Business Officer at Jazz, stated: “By enabling and empowering those who were previously immobile, Careem has truly revolutionized travel across the region. We’re happy to partner with such trail blazers and hope to collaborate in more so in the future. Such synergies are imperative to continue developing a more digital Pakistan.”

Careem which recently became a Super App has more than 800,000 Captains registered on its platform so far. Transforming into a Super App; Careem offers multiple opportunities as it expands its services from the 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.

SWVL, first $1.5bn unicorn from the Middle East to list on Nasdaq

Swvl Inc., a Dubai-based provider of transformative mass transit and shared mobility solutions, and Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital (Queen’s Gambit) (NASDAQ: GMBT),the first special purpose acquisition company led by women, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination that would result in Swvl becoming a publicly listed company. Upon completion of the proposed transaction, the combined public companywill be named Swvl Holdings Corp and is expected to be listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “SWVL”.

Swvl, co-founded by Mostafa Kandil in 2017 when he was just 24 years old, is transforming the $1 trillion global mass transit market. The Company’s proprietary mobility solutions, powered by cutting-edge technology, are helping to solve mass transit supply and demand challenges in unchartered, emerging markets – empowering massively underserved communities with transportation solutions that are reliable, convenient, safe, and affordable. In just four years, Swvl has become the industry leader in mass-transit across 10 cities in Pakistan, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kenya Featuring diversified transit offerings that,in just a few short years,have evolved from daily commuting to inter-city retail travel, to Transport as a Service (“TaaS”)offerings for businesses, schools, universities and other critical service organizations,Swvl is poised to take the next step in its evolution. With clear strategic direction, a proven management team and demonstrated business model, Swvl is ideally situated for existing and new market expansion.

Mostafa Kandil, Swvl Founder and CEO, said, “Mass transit systems in cities around the world are riddled with deficiencies, resulting in congestion, environmental concerns and reduced productivity.In certain emerging market cities, commuter round-trip wait times are often greater than 40 minutes and, in one major city, upwards of 80% of women reported that they have experienced harassment on public transport. Even in developed markets, the societal cost imposed by a lack of mass transit solutions can be staggering. To address these problems, we founded Swvl with a simple but ambitious goal – to empower all people to go where they want to, when they want to, and to feel comfortable doing it.”

Further, the Company empowers drivers in emerging markets – who frequently experience income uncertainty from existing mass transit operations – to earn approximately double that of other ride-sharing platforms. With its TaaS offerings, Swvl has already enabled more than 100 organizations around the world to reduce costs through dynamic routing, network planning, demand estimation, fleet optimization, and other leading transit services.

Mr. Kandil added, “We have succeeded in executing our business plan in some of the most challenging emerging markets and have now reached a critical inflection point where we are ready to share our expertise and technology with the rest of the world. Queen’s Gambit is an ideal partner, who shares our core values and is committed to helping accelerate Swvl’s long-term growth plans. With their partnership, as a public company, we will expand our daily commuting offerings and enterprise TaaS services that remove barriers to seamless mobility for the populations that need it most. In doing so, we will create even greater value for all stakeholders and continue innovating best-in-class technology solutions that improve the universal, daily struggle of mobility for so many.”

Faysal Islami Pays Tribute To Sajid Ali Sadpara On Independence Day

Karachi, : Faysal Islami celebrated Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day with great enthusiasm, in remembrance of the late legendary mountain climber and the national hero of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, during the flag hoisting ceremony held at Faysal House.

Mr. Yousaf Hussain, President & CEO Faysal Bank, and the senior management team were present at the ceremony who revered the contributions of the iconic mountaineer who lost his life, earlier this year during the K2 expedition. In recognition of his meritorious contribution to his field, the high-altitude mountaineer has also been conferred with the Presidential Pride of Performance.

Sajid Ali Sadpara, son of Ali Sadpara and the second youngest K2 summiteer, was present at the event as a special guest who took part in the felicitations and also appreciated Faysal Bank’s extra ordinary efforts towards its historic transformation journey into an Islamic Bank.

Expressing his sentiments on this occasion, President & CEO Faysal Bank, Mr. Yousaf Hussain said, “Faysal Islami is honoured to have Sajid Ali Sadpara with us today as we celebrate the independence of our country as an Islamic Republic and pay homage to the late Ali Sadpara for making Pakistan proud with his unmatchable achievements.”

Dr. Amineh book, ‘GEMS and JEWELS: The Religions of Pakistan’ sponsored by Murree Brewery launched

Dr. Amineh Hoti, a well-known author and researcher’s book “GEMS and JEWELS: The Religions of Pakistan” was launched today at the Christian Study Centre, Rawalpindi.

The Book was sponsored by Murree Brewery Company Limited, distinguished guest such as Dr. Qibla Ayaz the chairman of Islamic Council and Mr. Isphanyar Bhandara the Chief Executive of Murree Brewery Company Limited were present there along with the representatives of different religions in Pakistan.

The author of the book, Dr. Amineh Hoti said that the book and the launch event was sponsored by Murree Brewery Company Limited, she took this opportunity to thank the chief of Murree Brewery Company Limited Mr. Isphanyar Bhandara.

People perceive Pakistan as a Muslim nation only throughout the globe, though people from different religions reside in this country too and in this book Dr. Amineh Hoti has discussed these religions thoroughly. Furthermore, she added that she named the book “GEMS and JEWELS” because she believes people residing in Pakistan with different faiths are the real gems and jewels of Pakistan. Lastly, she thanked each and every one of the guests and people part of the launch ceremony.

At this occasion, the Chief Executive of Murree Brewery Company said, “People from different faiths residing in Pakistan are wishful of a prosperous and peaceful Pakistan, with patience, resilience and discipline he minorities of Pakistan are enjoying their lives with freedom in the country and this brotherhood amongst everyone in the country shall forever remain intact for the positive upbringing of the country.” While talking about the book, Mr. Bhandara added that this book along with the facts about different religions of Pakistan has also brought to light the notion of inter faith harmony and the historical facts about these religion and reading this book will most definitely help our young generation know more about the different people with different faiths in the country.

This book is showcasing the soft image of Pakistan where we tell the world the people of all faith living in Pakistan peacefully.

This is not just a book but it is a service to the motherland. This book will help building positive image of Pakistan amongst the global world and proves, Pakistan is a peace striving nation.

Shell, Uber and Muawin collaborate for innovative fuel management solutions

Shell Pakistan Limited collaborated with Uber and Muawin by Cashew Financial Services, to deliver a fuel management solution with unparalleled features to Uber partner drivers.

Through this collaboration, Uber partner drivers will get access to fuel financing from Muawin by Cashew Financial Services, to fulfill their mobility needs at Shell. By means of tech-enabled financing and personalized Shell Fleet Cards, the Uber partner drivers can avail a wide range of convenient offers at Shell fuel stations. The offer is further enriched with fabulous discounts on lubricants and car washes, besides many opportunities to participate in other exciting promotions.

The Shell Fleet Card provides a one-stop solution to help manage fleet more efficiently and effectively by tapping into a wide range of expertise and tools. With the Shell Fleet Card as a trusted partner on the road and smarter information at fingertips, customers can optimize their fleet’s performance like never before.

Speaking at the ceremony of this collaboration between three resourceful entities, the Head of Shell Fleet Solutions in Pakistan – Mr. Talha Shabih stated that: “It is a pleasure to work cohesively with innovative enterprises like Uber and Muawin by Cashew Financial Services. Combining our diverse technological expertise and excellence, we have pledged to orchestrate revolutionary facilities to empower frontline service providers, adding value to the community at large.”

Shahid Khan, Country Head, Uber Pakistan commented, ‘Our partner drivers are an integral part of Uber’s operations and we believe this collaboration with Shell and Muawin by Cashew Financials will enable financial inclusion and convenience for them by introducing cashflow management solutions and supporting the independence and flexibility they experience through Uber’s platform.’

Syed Hashim Ali, Co-Founder at Muawin shared, “Muawin is proud to play its role in helping empower Uber’s enterprising partner drivers financially through easy access to financing services. Decreasing cash restraints would help enable them to sustainably focus on completing more rides and increase their income. We are very excited to see the positive impact our partnership with Shell and Uber will have on the community and look forward to scaling it across the country.”

Uber’s global ride hailing platform seamlessly connects commuters with partner drivers and eases mobility for all. The company prioritises well-being of the communities it operates in, and seeks to empower individuals with enhanced economic opportunities and movement through its technology services.

Helping improve the country’s financial inclusion rate is a core value at Muawin by Cashew Financial Services; connecting the community at large to a formal financial system will help them realize their economic potential. Through this partnership with Uber and Shell, Muawin by Cashew Financial Services looks forward to smartly provide easier and more sustainable access to finance Uber partner drivers while on the go.

NHA’s road maintenance schemes to be completed on priority: Murad Saeed

Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed has said that prime importance be attached for timely completion of maintenance schemes of national highways throughout the country and undertaking of concrete steps to this effect is dire need of present time.

He said “Present government is determined to provide safe and sound travelling to road users on national highways and motorways in the country.”

He was addressing a high level meeting regarding maintenance of roads all over the country participated by Federal Secretary Communications Zafar Hassan, Chairman National Highway Authority Capt. (retired) Muhammad Khurram Agha and Senior officers from Ministry of Communications and National Highway Authority.

Continuing Murad Saeed said, in near future about 70% of National Highway Authority network will be maintained and restored. He said, quality and timely completion of road building and maintenance schemes stand among our priorities and that to this effect all damaged roads will be maintained on priority basis. For the purpose, a comprehensive plan has been finalized, he added.

NHA’s General Managers Muhammad Naseem Khattak and Col (retired) Zulfiqar Ali Janjua gave detailed briefing regarding maintenance schemes of National Highway Authority in all the four provinces and in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan regions. In the briefing it was told that under Annual Maintenance Plan 2017-18, a total of 913 km roads segments were maintained in 2018-19.

According to details 456 Kms roads in Punjab province 98 Km roads in Punjab province, 98 km roads in Balochistan 211 km roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan and 132 km long roads in Sindh province were improved. Likewise, under 2018-19 Annual Maintenance Plan 108 km long road segments were improved in Punjab. While 91 km long road in Balochistan, 42 km roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan and 40 km long roads in Sindh province were improved. It was further told in the briefing that under Annual Maintenance Plan 2019-20, 83 schemes having total length of 749 km road segments will be improved throughout the country.

Likewise 132 schemes having total length of 1344 road segments will be improved under Annual Maintenance Plan 2020-21. It was further told in the briefing that by December this year, the construction work of 4540 km roads sections will be completed.

ACCA confers K-Electric highest status for approved employer plan

K-Electric has recently been awarded with the highest status (Platinum) for trainee development tream by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) for its globally recognized “Approved Employer Programme”.

This recognition by the global body for professional accountants is an acknowledgement that K-Electric maintains high standards of their staff’s training and development. It also reflects KE’s commitment towards nurturing new talent and creating enormous growth opportunities for the country’s youth. The platinum status also allows employers access to ACCA’s world-class thought leadership, global network of top professionals and future-focused talent development and retention resources.

The announcement was made at a high-level award ceremony attended by the senior leadership of both the organisations at KE’s head office in Karachi.

Speaking at the ceremony, K-Electric’s Chief Executive Officer, Syed Moonis Abdullah Alvi, said, “We truly value the contributions ACCA’s world-class talent is making as part of our team in supporting KE’s mission and helping us in powering the city of lights. For us, our diversified Finance Trainee Programme has always been a powerhouse of talent that fulfils our organisation’s unique talent needs”.

Present at the ceremony were: Syed Moonis Abdullah Alvi, CEO, KE; Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan; Muhammad Rizwan Dalia, Chief People Officer, KE; Muhammad Aamir Ghaziani, CFO, KE; Taimur Beiram Khan, Head of Business Development – South, ACCA; Mustafa Kamal, Director Finance and Head of Finance Trainee Program, KE; Ali Shan Ul Haque, Business Development Manager, ACCA; and TahaEdhy, AM Business Strategy, KE.

Congratulating KE on attaining the coveted Platinum status, ACCA’s head of Pakistan, Sajjeed Aslam, said: “The ACCA talent is trained to think strategically and solve complex problems through innovation and creativity. We are proud of our members for their contributions in keeping our partner employers ahead of the curve. Being one of the largest ACCA employers in the region, we also cherish our partnership with KE and are happy that the employer is providing an excellent environment for young ACCA talent in Pakistan to develop their competencies, add value to the organisation, and thrive in their careers”.

Ph.D. Scholar to Defend Her Dissertation on August 5, 2021

Ph. D. Public Defense of Ph.D. Scholar, Ms. Kanwal Nawaz, Registration No. 16402, Department of Business Administration, Iqra University, Islamabad Campus, Sector H-9, titled “Behavioral Factors and Asset Pricing in Pakistani Stock Market” is scheduled on Thursday, 5th August 2021 at 02:00 pm.

Ms. Kanwal Nawaz has completed her Ph.D. dissertation under supervision of Dr. Kashi urRehman.

Bonanza Satrangi signs up with Muzaffarabad tigers as their official partner in Kashmir Premier League

Kashmir Premier League is associated with the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, backed by the Pakistan Cricket Board conducting a Twenty-20 league commencing from August 6, 2021 till August 16, 2021 in Muzaffarabad, AK.Muzaffarabad Tigers has emerged as one of the best teams of KPL and this partnership is anticipated to leverage both organizations across the Kashmir division and nationwide also. With this collaboration, they intend to build a big success between Bonanza Satrangi and Muzaffarabad Tigers, creating a pathway to bring awareness to both fashion fans and the sports community alike.”Bonanza Satrangi empowers the journey by becoming official partners, we are honored to sign this opportunity. It feels great when some of the biggest names of the industry become a part of this platform” said Ms. Marium Ejaz, Director Marketing Muzaffarabad Tigers.”It is highly appreciated that Bonanza Satrangi brings life to our vision and mission” said Mr. Arshan Khan Tanoli, Chairman Muzaffarabad Tigers.”Nothing could be better than contributing to recreation and sports in Kashmir. We are welcoming aboard Muzaffarabad Tigers as a part of the Bonanza family and we look forward to converging our aims” said Mr. Hanif Bilwani, CEO Bonanza Satrangi.

About Bonanza:

With over 40 years of experience, Bonanza continues its legacy of providing superior fabric, value for money and trendsetting apparel to its consumers. It all began in 1976 when the textile industry had not even flourished to its complete potential, that Bonanza initiated ready-made winter wear, particularly knits for men, women and children. From then on, Bonanza became a prestigious brand and won respect as the master of detail in the realm of ready-made garments manufacturing.

With over 80+ outlets across Pakistan, Bonanza stands as an enormous textile giant today. However, looking at the market potential amongst clothing brands for women, Bonanza furthermore ventured into creating its exclusive women’s clothing line Satrangi in 2012 which has now become a one-stop clothing solution for the women of Pakistan . Thus we became to be known as Bonanza | Satrangi.

The umbrella brand is now clearly divided into two: Bonanza – Men’s Formal Clothing, Knits, and Ethnic Wear; and Satrangi – Women’s Prêt, Unstitched, and Accessories.

NHA Public Relations Directorate
Dignitaries to further noble cause of clean and green Pakistan drive

As per vision of Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan and on directive of Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services Mr. Murad Saeed, the National Highway Authority continues afforestation campaign along its network under Clean and Green Pakistan programme.

To this effect, the Federal Minister for Planning and Development Mr. Asad Umar planted the trees on the invitation of the NHA Rawalpindi Maintenance Unit, at Motorway Chowk on N-5, in Punjab North Region. Similarly, State Minister and Advisor to Prime Minister for political Affairs Malik Muhammad Amir Dogar also inaugurated plantation campaign at Motorway Chowk on N-5, under the auspices of Rawalpindi Maintenance Unit NHA.

Moreover, under recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), between National Highway Authority and NGO Field Sports and Conservation Society, Muhammad Sibtain Khan-Provincial Minister for Forestry and Syed Samsam Bukhari-Provincial Minister for Fisheries and wildlife, inaugurated ceremony aiming at plantation of 100,000 trees on Lahore Eastern ByPass. It is worth to mention that maintenance of these trees for two years will also be carried out by the NGO without any cost to NHA under Prime Minister’s “Clean Green Pakistan Campaign”. Simultaneously, a “Plant for Pakistan” event was organized in National Highway Authority West Zone Balochistan in which Governor of Balochistan Mr. Syed Zahoor Ahmad Agha was guest of honour. The objective of this activity was to further this noble cause towards achieving Clean and Green Pakistan.

The National Highway Authority is planting trees along motorways and national highways across the country and this Clean and Green Pakistan campaign will continue in the coming days.

Engro Powergen Thar wins ‘Top Plant’ award

Engro Powergen Thar Limited (EPTL) power plant has been declared as one of the ‘World’s Top Coal Plants’ (coal-fired category) by the prestigious forum of ‘POWER Magazine’ – an integrated energy vertical – being published from North-America, since 1882.

The EPTL plant, a 660 MW power plant in Thar Block II, has won this international accolade and recognition for adopting global best-practices and meticulous mitigation processes. The EPTL power plant was evaluated amongst 40+ coal power plants from across the world and was declared as a Top Coal Plant.

The pioneering coal-fired power-plant – and the first plant in the country to run on indigenous Thar coal – has cutting-edge technology, as it has gained critical importance for accelerating the progress of the region of Thar and positively impacted the whole of Pakistan. With a 90% utilization factor, the plant has remained fully functional and available since its commissioning in July 2019 with a net electrical dispatch of approximately ~8.5 TwH in its second year. The electricity generated by the project is promising economic-benefit for the country, as it is enabling energy-abundance and spurring social-development through provision of local employment and other socio-economic opportunities in Thar.

The ISO 14001 certified plant is compliant to IFC and national emissions standards, with a safety management system inspired by OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] and DuPont PSM [Process Safety Management]. The project is also enriched with state-of-the-art environmental control safety systems and a quality-control laboratory. The site is also protected by the strongest cybersecurity framework as per international safety benchmarks and employs effective risk-mitigation strategies.

The Chairman of EPTL – Ahsan Zafar Syed stated that: “This award is a testament to the technological excellence and outstanding performance of our project and its value-chain. We are committed to playing an inspirational role in solving the energy-crisis and transforming the Thar-desert. While this is an important achievement for us, perhaps the single largest accomplishment for the EPTL plant remains the fact that it continues to deliver on its promise of providing indigenous electricity to the nation, providing energy security, and saving the country’s precious Foreign Exchange through import substitution with total savings to date being in excess of USD 100 million”

The Chief Executive Officer of EPTL – Syed Manzoor Hussain Zaidi said that: “It is an honor for us to be recognized as one of the Top Coal Plants in the world. We are thankful to the Power Magazine for appreciating our project’s ‘proof of concept’ that electricity can be produced from Thar coal. The huge potential of Thar coal has been demonstrated successfully, as EPTL is the first plant in Pakistan to utilize this lignite coal for production of electricity”.

A.P. Moller-Maersk reports record earnings and continued growth momentum in logistics in Q2

In the second quarter of 2021, A.P. Moller-Maersk continued to deliver strong growth and profitability, with record-breaking performance marking the 12thquarter of successive year-on-year earnings progress.

Revenue grew 58 pct. to USD 14.2bn in Q2 and EBIT increased almost five times to USD 4.1bn. The net result came in at USD 3.7bn in the second quarter, bringing the net result for the first half of 2021 to USD 6.5bn. Return on invested capital (ROIC) is now at 23,7 pct. for the past 12 months.

“The strong results benefited both from the exceptional circumstances in Ocean, where congestions and bottlenecks continued to drive up rates, and from solid progress in executing on our strategic transformation where we kept a firm focus on our customers need for integrated solutions across their supply chains. I am pleased with the strategic progress we have made and the high value generation. We continue to build a higher quality Ocean business with more long-term contracts, a rapidly growing logistics business, and a value creating terminals business. Our exceptional earnings and high cash flow enable us to further accelerate our transformation, invest in growing our activities, also through acquisitions and at the same time return cash to shareholders. To that effect we also announced today the acquisitions of Visible SCM and B2C Europe which complements our existing supply chain offering and addresses our customers need for E-commerce logistics,” said Søren Skou CEO A.P. Moller-Maersk.

In Ocean, profitability in Q2 was driven by revenue growth to USD 11.1bn from USD 6.6bn and EBIT increased to USD 3.6bn from USD 0.5bn. The growth came from a 15 pct. rebound in volumes and an increase in average freight rates of 59 pct., as both long-terms contracts rates with key clients increased and short-term contracts were still impacted by congestions and bottlenecks.

Logistics & Services delivered 38 pct revenue growth to USD 2.2bn in Q2 with more than half coming from the top Ocean customers. Demand was strong across all product families and consequently EBIT more than tripled to USD 153m compared to USD 42m in the same quarter last year, leading to an EBIT margin of 7.1 pct.

Also, Gateway Terminals had a strong Q2 with volumes rebounding 24 pct. and persisting high storage income. Revenue increased to USD 969m from USD 723m last year, while EBIT doubled to USD 302m leading to an EBIT margin of 31.1 pct.

Guidance for 2021

“The outlook for Q3 is strong and we expect that the current momentum in Ocean will continue into Q4, also benefitting our Terminals business. Logistics & Services will continue its strong growth pattern for the rest of the year. As communicated on 2 August, we have upgraded our guidance for 2021 to an underlying EBITDA of USD 18-19.5bn, an EBIT of 14-15.5bn and a free cash flow expected to be minimum USD 11.5bn,” Søren Skou said.

Ocean is still expected to grow in line with global container demand, which is now expected to grow 6-8 pct. in 2021 (previously 5-7 pct. in 2021), still primarily driven by the export volumes out of China to the USA.

For 2021-2022, the expectation for the accumulated CAPEX remains to be around USD 7bn.

Earnings in Q3 are expected to exceed the level for Q2 2021. Trading conditions for the quarters ahead are, however, still subject to a higher-than-normal volatility due to the temporary nature of current demand patterns, disruptions in the supply chains and equipment shortages.

Highlights and sensitivity guidance

About A.P. Moller – Maersk

A.P. Moller – Maersk is an integrated container logistics company working to connect and simplify its customers’ supply chains. As the global leader in shipping services, the company operates in 130 countries and employs roughly 80,000 people.

Salaam Takaful launches ‘Salaam Pay-As-You-Drive’, another 1st in the history of Pakistan

Another first by Salaam Takaful Limited, Pay-As-You-Drive is a tech-based takaful coverage that tracks and records the vehicle’s mileage, and contribution payment is done every month based on the number of recorded driven kilometres. If you’re spending less time behind the wheel, then you are paying too much for your car coverage. With Pay-As-You-Drive enjoy all the benefits of comprehensive car takaful without paying the whole contribution upfront. You only pay based on your used kilometres, and that too with a price capping mechanism, so you will never be charged extra even if you drive more than the stipulated kilometres. The product has been launched through a brilliant ad campaign featuring star cricketer Shahid Afridi endorsing its offering.

Bundled with a lot of freebies through their Salaam App; like a free consultation with their in-house doctors of Salaam Virtual Clinic, exclusive discounts at various labs, pharmacies and hospitals etc, this latest offering denotes their direction towards being the most technologically advanced loss protection providers in the country. Since 2018, The company has taken strong strides towards digitization of their processes and have been able to produce innovative customer-centric solutions. Their initiatives have resulted in a stupendous growth, and last year they posted annual growth of 60% YOY despite the pandemic situation, in full swing in Pakistan.

Launching this product, Mr Rizwan Hussain, MD & CEO stated: “We strongly believe that we, as the leading takaful provider, play a vital role in providing solutions that are more flexible, cost-efficient and digitally advanced. We have made huge investments in technology to cater for the ever-changing dynamics of consumers who seek convenience, speed and innovation and that too with extra value for their money. We are very excited to launch Salaam Pay-As-You-Drive with the expectation that it will be received by the general public as the most user-friendly, convenient and economical offering for car loss protection coverage.”

With the launch of Pay-As-You-Drive, Salaam Takaful Limited aims to achieve public policy goals including; fairness, affordability, road safety, consumer savings, and choice. They are confident that this usage-based takaful model will allow many drivers to enjoy savings, convenience and hassle-free experience through a trusted platform.

About Salaam Takaful Limited:

Salaam Takaful Limited are the largest and leading dedicated general takaful operator in Pakistan, built upon the vision to provide their valued clients with the highest quality of service to exceed their expectations and to address the changing needs of the market, so they can contribute to the development of a secure and sound society, at large. More information on the company can be found at www.salaamtakaful.com

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