Press Releases

Digital libas wins UNDP-Jazz SDG Bootcamp in Balochistan

Digital Libas, a remote work providing social enterprise from Quetta, is the winner of the SDG Bootcamp for Social Enterprises organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Jazz in Balochistan. The social enterprise will now participate in the national level SDG Bootcamp competition to be held later this year.

The runners up included Sustainable Design Studio, which provides green and sustainable design and architectural services to residential and commercial projects; and Rangoon Café, which seeks to establish a safe and productive space for people of different sects, cultures, and economic classes to interact and reduce discrimination in the region. Participants of the bootcamp learnt a variety of modules on how to market, scale up, and pitch their startups to potential investors.

Held online, the five-day bootcamp aimed at promoting social entrepreneurship and strengthening the startup ecosystem in the country. Ten social enterprises from Balochistan took part in the bootcamp, with nearly half of the participants being women. While majority of the participants were from Quetta, two enterprises took part from Mastung and Kalat as well. These social enterprises were trained in four modules: SDGs; Branding and Customer Engagement; Marketing and Digital Transformation; and Financial Management, Feasibility and Scaling.

Speaking during the session, Amir Goraya, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Pakistan said, “Pakistan is one of the youngest countries in the world. With youth unemployment standing at 8.54%, we need to find innovative solutions to help youth find ways to earn a decent living. Entrepreneurship presents a great opportunity for young people to use their skills and talents to develop their own business; social entrepreneurship goes even further and presents youth with a chance to play a lead role in talking development challenges of the country through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Syed Fakhar Ahmed, Chief Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Officer, Jazz commented, “As a leader in digital technology, it is our duty to provide young people with a platform to succeed. I would like to congratulate the top three startups from Balochistan and hope they now implement the valuable lessons learnt and scale up their solution to make a positive impact on society.”

In December 2020, Jazz inked an agreement with UNDP’s Youth Empowerment Programme to conduct 20 bootcamps across Pakistan. Around 400 youth are expected to participate in the bootcamps this year, with 400 more planned for 2022. The focus will be on enterprises that relate to any of the Sustainable Development Goals, with 50%women participation. The most promising social venture ideas will be promoted at the international level and mentored by industry experts to further flourish their enterprises.

UNDP through Youth Empowerment Programme supports the Government of Pakistan in developing innovative and sustainable entry points for social engagement and economic empowerment of young Pakistanis. One of the key components of the Programme is to support youth entrepreneurship which not only empowers young people economically, but also spurs change and ensures inclusive development of the country. Through the SDG Bootcamps, UNDP and Jazz will be improving the startup ecosystem of the country and enabling youth to practically explore their innovative ideas and develop skills needed to succeed in the space.

AlHuda CIBE certifies TawhidPay banking app
  • Tajikistan’s first Islamic Bank receives Shariah Compliance Certificate

Tajikistan has fast become the nexus of the development of Islamic Finance in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) recently. The latest addition arrives from the first Islamic Bank established in the country; Tawhid Bank. With the introduction of Tawhid Pay, a mobile application for its customer base, it has effectively launched the Islamic Finance sector of Uzbekistan into a new era of digital banking. With its successful collaboration with AlHuda CIBE, Tawhid Bank has brought forth its Shariah Compliant digital application in the Islamic Fintech ecology. Pleasantly surprising for the Islamic Finance sector, the masterstroke comes from Tawhid amid a global pandemic.

The TawhidPay App allows transactions to take place in favour of the customer from around the world. Through this app and other partner institution services, the customers of the bank can freely make significant amounts of transactions through card and account and send/receive payments on the go. It ensures a safe, Shariah-Compliant, and hassle-free transaction globally. The attached services that come with the account itself are supportive to the customer’s needs and wants as well, with minimal charges, and encouraging profit.

With the advent of the modern era in the world of finance globally, a healthy increase in the number of cryptocurrencies, digital banking/transaction services, FinTech, etc. catches the eye. With multitudes of opportunities to utilize, many companies and startups worldwide have seized the opportunity to hone in on Islamic Fintech in particular. Over 270 technological platforms working in the Islamic Fintech sector are now operational. This global trend has provided a plethora of investment opportunities to Muslims all over the world that are in line with the Shariah Law and Teachings. In the CIS. TawhidPay has effectively outshone the competition through this latest development in Islamic Banking.

Taking this rise of Islamic Fintech into account, AlHuda CIBE has been providing staunch support to the Islamic Finance sector in Central Asia. The globally recognized research and development organization has been providing Shariah certifications to Fintech institutions which include cryptocurrencies, Islamic Fintech, Digital Banks, etc. Moreover, effective consultancy and advisory services to the financial institutions in the region have also been extended for product and structural development for Islamic Banking, Sukuk, Takaful, Islamic Microfinance, Islamic Fintech, etc. “Central Asia is growing steadily for Islamic Finance,” said Mr. Zubair Mughal – CEO AlHuda CIBE. “Applications like these (TawhidPay) will prove vital in financial inclusion and development of Islamic Banking in the region.”

Expressing his views on this development, CEO Tawhid Bank Mr. Zardov Sherali Davlatalevich expressed his pleasure on obtaining Shariah Certification for the Fintech Application from AlHuda CIBE after three months of detailed Shariah Examination. He also enunciated his belief that this Shariah Certification will offer a unique market positioning and that the population will utilize this technological platform by placing their trust in Islamic Banking.

The Shariah Certificate handover ceremony took place at Dubai-UAE.

MMBL joins forces with FBTL to provide agri-machinery for customers

Pakistan’s largest digital bank, Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Fecto Belarus Tractors Private Limited (FBTL), a pioneer in introducing Russian-based technology tractors in Pakistan since 1962. Under this collaboration, customers will be able to finance FBTL Tractors through MMBL’s range of agri-products.

Ghazanfar Azzam, President and CEO MMBL, and CEO FBTL, Muhammad Raza signed the MoU in Islamabad in presence of senior officials from both organizations. The arrangement will further strengthen MMBL’s agri-products portfolio that caters to the various financial needs of smallholder farmers across the country.

Sharing his thoughts at the MoU signing ceremony, Ghazanfar Azzam, President & CEO MMBL said, “We are excited to expand our range of agri-products offerings by allowing our customers to finance FBTL’s tractors through MMBL. Pakistan’s agriculture sector has a lot of untapped potential. Over the years, MMBL has provided continuous financial facilitation to the country’s farmers and agribusinesses through its wide range of agri-products designed to meet their specific financial needs. Under our collaboration with FBTL, we hope to significantly benefit smallholder farmers by helping them acquire better machines based on superior technology and thereby accelerate the growth of the country’s agricultural sector.”

Also speaking at the ceremony, CEO FBTL Pakistan, Muhammad Raza said, “We are glad to partner up with MMBL to offer FBTL’s flagship tractor Belarus – 510 to their customers. FBTL has been providing superior quality and high-performance agricultural machinery to enhance agricultural output in Pakistan for decades. These tractors are very effective in hard and rocky soils in different areas of Pakistan. Our country’s economy is heavily dependent on its agriculture sector and therefore, it is crucial to constantly optimize its productivity through innovation and modernization. I am positive that through this collaboration with MMBL, we will be able to foster the agricultural sector development in Pakistan further.”

MMBL is committed to promoting financial inclusion for all through its vast product portfolio comprising of digital and financial services, made accessible through its expansive branch and branchless network spread across Pakistan, including remote areas. The bank has a custom product range to cater to the varying financial requirements of small farming families to help them grow their businesses and contribute towards the country’s GDP.

Airlog Pakistan appointed cargo GSA for Gulf Air cargo in Pakistan

AirLog Pakistan, a part of the Air Logistics Group, is delighted to announce its appointment as Cargo GSA for Gulf Air Cargo (GF) in Pakistan, effective August 15, 2021.

Gulf Air has a large fleet of aircraft and can carry a wide variety of products, ranging from perishables and oversized freight to dangerous goods & valuable cargo as well as live animals.

GF operates direct flights from 7 cities across Pakistan: Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Peshawar, and Multan to Bahrain and beyond to Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia.

“We are very proud and excited to be selected by Gulf Air Cargo as their GSA for Pakistan, and look forward to working with the Gulf Air Cargo team to provide a full range of cargo services to the freight community across Pakistan,” comments Imran Peracha, MD AirLog Pakistan, “Our customers will have one-stop access to a wide range of air cargo transportation products and the extensive network of destinations served by GF.”

Air Logistics Group is the world’s leading cargo General Sales & Service Agent (GSSA) providing a variety of innovative outsource solutions to airlines, enabling them to achieve a cost-effective presence in the airfreight market. With a comprehensive network of 88 offices in 48 countries across 6 continents, Air Logistics Group can provide customized cargo solutions across the globe, including expert sales, creative marketing, efficient operations, exceptional customer service and dedicated accounting, all supported by advanced business intelligence tools.

Vast Afghan market deserve attention of Pakistan, suggests 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 Wednesday said the lucrative Afghan market should not be ignored.

Massive opportunities including reconstruction projects are awaiting Pakistan following the troops’ withdrawal but the openings have failed to attract the full attention of policymakers, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that continued hike in prices of construction material, edible items, and other things may force the Afghan government and importers to start imports from other regional countries despite an inclination towards Pakistan.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the Government should have prepared a strategy to capture the market as soon as the signs of withdrawal appeared but it was not taken seriously.

Rather, some elements are damaging the existing trade through Torkhum which should be noticed, he added.

The business leader said that Afghanistan is rich in resources like copper, gold, oil, natural gas, uranium, bauxite, coal, iron ore, rare earths, chromium, lead, zinc, gemstones, talc, sulphur, travertine, gypsum, and marble worth trillions of dollars awaiting exploration.

A US report has dubbed Afghanistan as ‘Saudi Arabia of lithium’ used to manufacture batteries but nobody seems interested in it at home while countries have started to struggle to bank on the opportunity.

The veteran business leader said that Pakistan banks have never taken interest in expanding their network in the neighbouring country resulting in reduced documented trade which should be considered by the central bank.

The government should establish special economic zones at Torkhum and Chaman, reduce smuggling, encourage documented trade, improve infrastructure, reach central Asia through Afghanistan and sign agreements in the light of new situations.

Such moves will help the Pakistani economy and boost economic activities in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said.

Pakistan gets Ramon Magsaysay Award (Asian Nobel Prize)

The prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, popularly known as the “Asian Nobel Prize”, is presented to most outstanding individuals in Asia for their selfless and extraordinary contribution to their societies. It is Asia’s premier prize and highest honour and since its inception in 1958, Magsaysay Foundation, Philippine, confers three to four awards each year from amongst selfless leaders out of 40 countries of Asian continent.

Few previous awardees include Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama, Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhamamd Yunus, Abdul Sattar Edhi and Mr. Shoaib Sultan Khan. This year (2021), the award has been bestowed on a prominent Pakistani, Dr Amjad Saqib for his outstanding efforts in restoring human dignity, poverty alleviation and helping more than 3 million families come out of poverty through zero interest lending model.

Accepting this unique and highly distinguished honour, Dr. Saqib, dedicated this award to the poor beneficiaries of Akhuwat and to Pakistani nation. He said this award is endorsement of Akhuwat, interest free lending Model and a tribute to the compassion and integrity of his nation.

Dr. Saqib is a development professional and a former civil servant who founded Akhuwat in 2001. The organization is now the largest interest free microfinance institution in the world and works in collaboration with state and civil society. He is also a recipient of Point of light award by Queen Elizabeth, Best entrepreneur of 2018 by Schwab Foundation and World Economic Forum, Life Time Achievement Award, 2014 by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and Thomson Reuters and Sitara i Imtiaz by President of Pakistan.

Friends of Akhuwat and all Pakistanis congratulate Dr Saqib on winning this highest award of Asia for Pakistan and assure him of their selfless support for building a better society and a better world.

Faysal bank shares its unique transformation journey

A local media house recently organized the 4th Round Table Conference on Islamic Banking with the aim of bringing all stakeholders under one roof to discuss the way forward for the growth and development of Islamic Banking in the country.

The conference was attended by H.E Dr. Arif Alvi (President of Pakistan), Shaukat Tareen (Federal Finance Minister), Dr. Reza Baqir (Governor State Bank of Pakistan), Dr. Ishrat Hussain (Advisor to the Prime Minister), Yousaf Hussain (President & CEO of Faysal Bank Ltd) and other notable speakers.

Speaking on the occasion, Yousaf Hussain, President & CEO of Faysal Bank Limited, shared Faysal Bank’s successful transformation experience from a conventional to an Islamic Bank. As the fastest growing Islamic bank in Pakistan offering a complete range of Islamic banking products and services, Faysal Bank has emerged as one of the major players in Pakistan’s banking industry. Currently, almost 90 per cent of the Bank’s branch network is Islamic, making Faysal Bank the second largest Islamic network in Pakistan.

Faysal Bank’s conversion has been recognized as the largest and most successful Islamic conversion globally. In appreciation of its unprecedented transition and remarkable growth, Faysal Bank has been recognized as the “Best Emerging Bank 2020” at the Pakistan Banking Awards (PBA). Marking its contribution and excellence in Islamic Banking, Faysal Bank has also been awarded with the “Best Emerging Islamic Bank 2020” recognition by the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA). In addition to these accolades, Faysal Bank’s Shariah Compliance and Fiduciary Rating (SCFR) by the Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA) is the highest Shariah rating attainable.

Faysal Bank is all set to complete the transformation into a full-fledged Islamic Bank by middle of 2022 Insha’Allah. Customers’ trust and employees’ dedication are being regarded as the main success factors behind the historic conversion journey. Yousaf Hussain, thanked the State Bank of Pakistan for their continuous support and patronage.

Jazz focuses on 4G penetration, investing Rs13.7 billion in 2q21

Jazz, Pakistan’s number one 4G operator and the largest internet and broadband service provider has maintained its strategic focus on 4G penetration, investing PKR 13.7 billion in network expansion during the 2nd quarter of 2021. Within this, 4G network investment continued to be the principal focus, the population coverage of which reached 64% during the quarter, compared to 56% in 2Q20.

Jazz’s 4G user base witnessed an 11.7 million/ 61% YoY increase and 4G penetration increased from 30% to 44% YoY. Data consumption continued to rise with users consuming an average of 4.8 GB of data; a 36.3% YoY increase. Additional users contributed to an almost 11% expansion in Jazz’s total customer base YoY.

The company’s leading digital financial service, JazzCash, finished the quarter with 13.1 million monthly active users (up 61% YoY) and 82 thousand registered agents (+60% YoY). Jazz’s self-care app, Jazz World, continued to enjoy strong levels of customer adoption, as its monthly active user base grew by 42% YoY, reaching 8.7 million in 2Q21, cementing its position as the largest telecom app in Pakistan. Other content services also enjoyed further growth, with the monthly active user base rising to a cumulative 3.7 million, representing YoY growth of 55% in 2Q21.

Aamir Ibrahim, CEO of Jazz, said, “Our strategic focus remains on connecting fellow citizens to reliable, high-speed internet. We are also playing a part in creating a robust and inclusive digital ecosystem, and it is encouraging to see an increasing number of people making our digital services an integral part of their lifestyle.”

State bank of Pakistan grants EMI license to NayaPay

NayaPay has earned commercial approval to operate as the first Electronic Money Institution in Pakistan– after a year-long pilot and inspection by the State Bank of Pakistan.

Backed by sponsors of the Lakson Group, a conglomerate in Pakistan with market leadership in the fast-moving consumer goods, media, asset management, paper and board, and fibre broadband industries, NayaPay currently offers consumers a digital wallet with Visa debit cards for everyday payments.

Built from the ground up by a team of passionate Pakistanis, NayaPay aims to address the needs of underbanked citizens — enabling them to create a wallet account within a few minutes on their smartphones; all one needs is her or his CNIC.

On sign up, users are issued a Visa virtual card right on their phone for online purchases on popular international websites such as Amazon, AliExpress, Facebook and Netflix. NayaPay users can also order a physical Visa debit card for free to their doorstep and use it to transact with over 46 million merchants across the world.

Danish A. Lakhani, founder and CEO, said: “We are delighted to have the confidence and support of the State Bank in our mission to enable a range of new services that previously were only accessible by a small segment of Pakistani society. We believe that the future of commerce is fast, accessible and ubiquitous – NayaPay aims to be at the forefront in the digitization of Pakistan with our low cost and secure digital platform which enables payments, communications and intuitive interactions between individuals and businesses.”

The commercial approval will allow full-scale launch of the NayaPay consumer app which empowers users with a digital wallet that lives on the smartphone, and gives users control of their money anytime, anywhere.

Users can now enjoy fast money transfers between friends using an incredibly user-friendly chat interface. Additional features include splitting bills, chipping into a money pool for a common purpose, purchasing mobile top-ups and transferring funds to any bank account or wallet in Pakistan. The company has partnered with several leading banks to enable their users to pay merchants on NayaPay. For users with accounts at partner banks, NayaPay is an excellent companion wallet. Customers can conveniently move money to NayaPay for their everyday payments, including monthly bill payments, fund transfers to friends, and purchases using the NayaPay Visa debit card.

Businesses can receive payments in their wallets, pay expenses and offload funds to their bank accounts. NayaPay has also announced its plans to introduce Arc — an innovative platform designed to provide digital payments acceptance and financial management tools for small and medium enterprises.

Shell Pakistan announces financial results for h1 2021

The Board of Directors of Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) announced the half year2021 financial results on August 26th.The company posted a profit after tax of PKR 2,150 million compared to the loss of PKR7,873 million made in the same period last year.

The first half of 2021 saw a significant recovery compared to a very tough last year. The encouraging turnaround is mainly driven by improved business performance focusing on strategic priorities such as differentiated fuels and lubricants, cost efficiencies and safety for employees and customers.

During this period, the Mobility business signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with K-Electric Limited, to jointly pilot Electric-Vehicle Charging Stations across Karachi and its connecting highways. The Lubricants business have been powering Pakistan’s progress in construction, textile and mining through uninterrupted supply of high-quality lubricants. In addition, an affordable premium product in the motorcycle engine oil category was launched namely Advance Fuel Save 10W-30.

During the meeting on August 26th, the Board of Directors of Shell Pakistan Limited appointed Waqar Siddiqui as the Chief Executive Officer of the company effective November 1, 2021.

Waqar Siddiqui will succeed Haroon Rashid who will resign effective November 1, 2021 having served as Chief Executive Officer for 3 years and as a Board Director since 2011.

Shell Pakistan will continue to actively work to minimize impact of current challenges and endeavor to capture opportunities to ensure the company plays a key role in developing Pakistan’s energy future.

Prime Minister Imran Khan performs ground breaking ceremony of Sialkot-Kharian motorway

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan performed ground breaking ceremony of Sialkot Kharian Motorway (September 02, 2021). This project will be completed on Public Private Partnership basis after successful completion of Lahore Sialkot Motorway on PPP basis.

The starting point of Motorway is Sambrial City (end point of Lahore-Sialkot Motorway) and it will terminate near Jund Shareef while crossing Gujarat, Jalal Pur Jattan, Lala Musa and Dolat Nagar. The total length of project is 69 km including the link highway. Construction of five Interchanges, One service area and two Toll Plazas are also part of the project. This 4-lane motorway will be completed in 2 years time period.

The Construction of Sialkot (Sambrial)-Kharian Motorway will help speedy movement of people and create job opportunities as well. Sialkot is famous for manufacturing sports goods all over the world. The proposed motorway will ease transportation of sports goods in Pakistan. The Motorway will improve socio-economic condition in Sialkot, Kharian and adjoining areas.

Emirates appoints Mohammed Alnahari Alhashmi as vice president for Pakistan

Emirates has announced the appointment of Mohammed Alnahari Alhashmi as Vice President for Pakistan, effective 1st September. Alhashmi will be responsible for leading the airline’s operations and strengthening Emirates’ presence in the market. Mohammed Sarhan, who was previously Vice President of Emirates for Pakistan, will now take on a new role as Vice President of Emirates for India.

Mohammed Alnahari Alhashmi, Emirates Vice President for Pakistan, said: “I’m very honoured and thrilled to be leading Emirates’ operations in Pakistan. I look forward to working closely with our talented local team and to continue driving the airline’s growth in the region.”

In his new role, Alhashmi will manage the airline’s commercial operations and strategic initiatives across the region. Mohammed has held several roles throughout his 18 year career with Emirates, including management posts in Kuwait, Indonesia, Syria, the UAE, and most recently he held the role as Vice President for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The new appointment comes as the airline announces several commercial leadership movements across West Asia, Africa, the GCC, and Central Asia. All of the movements include Emirati talent into key leadership positions, either being promoted from within the organisation or through portfolio rotations, underpinning the airline’s commitment to career development and progression of its UAE Nationals.

Emirates has held strong ties with Pakistan since 1985 and the airline remains committed to its long-term commercial strategy in the country. Emirates currently operates passenger services to five cities in Pakistan including Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Sialkot, and Peshawar – connecting customers to more than 120 destinations via Dubai.

NIC at LUMS’ cohort seven brings social solutions at investor summit

National Incubation Center at LUMS, Lahore (NICL) held its capstone Investor Summit on bringing together Pakistan’s most prominent investors to meet with its Lahore and Quetta cohorts of aspiring entrepreneurs.

The event, streamed live to the public via Facebook, was the culmination of a rigorous, months-long Foundation Programme, delivered by esteemed LUMS faculty to equip entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to ensure success. The Programme directly aligns with NICL’s mission to inspire, enable and facilitate problem-solvers in high impact areas of development such as agriculture, healthcare, finance, education, and the environment.

“We are striving at the grassroots level to feed the pipeline in Pakistan’s rapidly emerging start-up ecosystem,” said Saleem Ahmad, Chairman NICL and NIC Quetta. “Our goal is to also incubate talented youth from diverse socio-economic and demographic backgrounds, ensuring access to those who may otherwise be excluded from such opportunities.”

Saleem Ahmad also highlighted the much-needed socio-cultural solutions and indigenous offerings created by this cohort. “I’m personally moved by the mix of start-ups including many conviction-driven social ventures catering to physical disabilities and psychological wellness issues including abuse,” he said.

Some of these social ventures included eco-friendly and affordable shoes for children born with clubfoot; an online application for children to encourage and simplify the learning of Urdu through art; a mobile application that keeps track of the socio-emotional learning of children; a software that converts books in multiple languages into braille for visually impaired individuals; an eco-friendly and sustainable packaging service for e-commerce enterprises; a prosthetic bionic hand that will facilitate amputees to complete their tasks with ease; and a safe space where young women/girls are taught their rights through art therapy.

The 23 judges attending the Investor Summit included top venture capitalists and seasoned angel investors,as well as successful start-up founders who have themselves raised significant capital in Pakistan.

Speaking during the Summit about social impact in entrepreneurship, Aatif Awan, Founder and Managing Partner at Indus Valley Capital and member of NICL’s Foundation Council, commented, “There’s a false dichotomy where people think that either you’re a social impact start-up, which means you cannot raise VC money or scale fast enough, or a company just for profit. I don’t believe that dichotomy needs to exist. I feel you have maximum impact when you can figure out self-sustainable motives. The ‘why’ founders are doing something determines how much impact it will have.”

Interested investors and venture capitalists can view all 24 pitches on the NICL Facebook page (@NICLSolveTogether) and get in touch at [email protected] for more information on the start-ups.

Graduates from Cohort Six have already started garnering investor interest, reflecting the recent interest in start-up investment in Pakistan.

NICL is set to welcome Cohort Eight in September and is also collaborating with Stanford Seed to offer Stanford Seed Spark, a four-month online programme for early-stage entrepreneurs.

Emirates and visa partner up to provide a chance to earn future rewards for travel journeys
  • Customers making a booking until September 18 will have a chance to win an USD 250 discount on their next ticket

Emirates and Visa are making paying for your next holiday or trip to visit loved ones much more rewarding with tremendous savings potential for future travel plans.

Customers booking their travel on emirates.com who use their Visa credit or Visa debit card from today until 18 September 2021 in any class of travel using the promotional code EKVISA1 to any destination on the Emirates network, will have a chance to win an USD 250 discount to redeem on their next Emirates ticket.

Emirates and Visa will randomly choose over 170 lucky winners in Pakistan from the eligible entries to benefit from the generous discount.

Customers who don’t want to miss this offer should visit emirates.com to check the airline’s latest featured fares.

Commenting on the partnership, Kalika Tripathi, Visa’s Head of Marketing for MENA, said: “With tourism slowly returning to normal, people are eagerly looking for deals and offers to make their long-awaited trip worth it. We are delighted to join our longstanding partner Emirates in this campaign to enhance our valued cardholders’ experience by making their travel journey more rewarding. The launch of this promotion is a great opportunity for us to give our Visa cardholders exclusive benefits and also help motivate repeat travel.”

As always, Emirates customers can rest assured while travelling that their health and safety continued to be a top priority with the latest health and safety measures in place.

If they change their mind at any time, they will always have peace of mind in knowing that Emirates’ priority is to make travel planning stress free with even more generous and flexible booking policies, multi-risk insurance cover, and helping loyal customers retain their miles and tier status.

Mian Zahid lauds SBP’s financing for under-construction projects

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 lauded the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for allowing bank financing for the under-construction projects.

Now people will be able to get bank loans for under-construction houses which will boost the construction sector according to the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the central banks have directed commercial banks to provide loans to the people who want to purchase a new house.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that earlier this facility was not available to the masses and banks would ignore this sector and the allotment letter issued by builders was not considered an important document by banks.

He said that SBP has also taken certain steps to reduce the risk of commercial banks which will improve their confidence which is necessary for improved economic activities.

This development will trigger demand for houses pushing builders and developers to boost their investments which will also help dozens of other industries resulting in better growth and employment opportunities.

He said that builders and developers have been complaining about increasing prices of building material including steel rods, iron, cement, aluminium, and wood, etc. which must be probed.

The authorities should immediately intervene to keep the momentum of PM’s scheme lest it fails, he warned.

Zong 4G partners with Sehat Kahani to provide free e-consultation sessions

Zong 4G, Pakistan’s leading cellular and digital services provider, has joined forces with one of the most affluent telemedicine enterprises; Sehat Kahani, to offer thousands of free remote and online consultations for the marginalized strata of the society.

Making healthcare services more accessible and inclusive for all. Zong will be offering more than 12,000 e-health consultations to the underprivileged members of the community via the Sehat Kahani Retail app. 7,000 of these consultations will facilitate Covid-19 relief patients whereas 5,000 consultations will be applicable to non-Covid cases.

With healthcare and wellbeing of Pakistani citizens being the top priority at Zong, the venture further aims to create awareness about COVID-19. To ensure that millions of Pakistanis have ample knowledge about the new variants, prevention measures, pre-vaccine concerns, and post-vaccine cautions. The initiative will lead to the creation of awareness videos and live sessions, which will be produced and shared across the official communication channels of Zong 4G and Sehat Kahani’s social platforms.

Live Interactive Sessions will also be organized by team Sehat Kahani which would be cross-posted/shared on Zong’s digital platforms, where individuals will be able to ask questions regarding Covid-19. A 24/7 helpline will facilitate and follow-up with Covid suspects/patients through voice calls.

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Wang Hua Chairman and CEO Zong4G said “Zong 4G firmly believes advances in technology and our connectivity will enable healthcare services to be more accessible and inclusive than ever. We are aware of the divide in the access to health care services thus, we are striving to play our role in increasing the access for the underprivileged.”

He further added,” Our partnership with Sehat Kahani is testament to our commitment to uplift Pakistan through digital services. As Pakistan battles the fourth Covid wave, health has become one of the key focus areas for the entire country. With frequent lockdowns and low access to primary health facilities, digital health is the best solution to the ongoing health crisis.”

“We welcome Zong’s move to use our platform for a greater good and extend the benefits of tele-medicine to the masses, especially the underprivileged,” shared Sara Saeed Khurram, Co-Founder and CEO of Sehat Kahani. “We are very pleased by this partnership as it takes forward our mutual mission of democratizing healthcare in Pakistan using tele-medicine solutions.”

Through its 35 e-health clinics and a Mobile App, Sehat Kahani has provided over 600,000 consultations and has effectively facilitated over more than 7,000,000+ individuals.

With a focus on e-health during the pandemic, the partnership with Sehat Kahani is in-line with Zong’s strategy and vision. Zong will continue to collaborate with private and public sector organizations and work towards health equity.

Faysal Bank Limited holds virtual Corporate Briefing Session

Faysal Bank Limited recently conducted a virtual corporate briefing session. Through the session the Bank’s Chief Financial Officer, Syed Majid Ali briefed the analyst community and shareholders about the Bank’s business strategy, financial performance for the half year ended June 30, 2021 and its outlook.

Post half year end, FABL converted another 21 branches to Islamic as a result over 90 percent of its branches are now exclusively offering Shariah compliant services. The Bank plans to convert another 44 branches by 2021 end and open 30 new Islamic banking branches. Alongside investment in brick and mortar infrastructure, the Bank is aggressively working on enhancing its product suite and enriching customer experience through innovative digital offerings. The Bank launched the first of its kind, Islami Noor Card, which is a Shariah compliant alternate to conventional Credit Card.

In terms of financial performance, FABL posted profit after tax of Rs. 4.02 billion for the half year ended June 30, 2021, as compared to Rs. 3.8 billion in the comparative period. The Bank’s net advances portfolio stood at Rs 343.7 billion as at June 30, 2021. The Bank is continuously working on improving its margin by maintaining the right kind of deposit mix. The Bank’s current deposits ratio improved from 31.3% to 36.3%. The deposit closed at Rs 591.9 billion registering a healthy growth of 9.5% since December 2020.

The Bank’s subsidiary Faysal Asset Management Limited (FAML), has come a long way since acquisition of control by FABL in November 2018. FAML’s Assets Under Management have increased from Rs. 7.3 to Rs. 62 billion and its Management Quality Rating has also moved three notches up to AM2+.

UBL pays tribute to Dr. Amjad saqib for his Ramon Magsaysay Award

The senior management of UBL’s Islamic Banking division, recently hosted a dinner in Lahore in honor of Dr. Amjad Saqib, founder of Akhuwat Foundation for bringing home the Ramon Magsaysay Award. Considered as the highest accolade in Asia, the award has been given in recognition of his contributions in introducing interest and collateral free micro financing for the vulnerable segments of society. Picture shows Mr. Zia Ijaz, Group Executive, Branch Banking & International (2nd right) presenting a memento on behalf of UBL to Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib (3rd right) to honor his achievement.

Pakistan Cables, Ned University Karachi in deal to open co-operative education plan

Pakistan Cables Ltd, represented by the Chief Executive Officer Fahd K. Chinoy and the NED University, Karachi represented by Registrar Ghazanfar Hussain, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. The signing of the MOU occurred on establishing the Co-operative Education Program in Karachi, which provides female students industrial experience alongside their academic development. The focus of this particular partnership will be on deserving female students enrolled in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Selected students enrolled in the Co-operative Education Program will also be offered full academic scholarship alongside internship opportunities at Pakistan Cables Ltd.

“The MOU reaffirms our long-standing philosophy of leading the way for engineering development in Pakistan. It also underscores our commitment towards diversity and providing opportunities for the youth. I am extremely proud that we have partnered with an esteemed institution that has a proven 100-year legacy of leading learning in Pakistan”, said Fahd K. Chinoy, CEO Pakistan Cables Ltd. The MOU will leverage each entities comparative advantage to support high-quality learning and contribute towards students’ development and also give students an opportunity to contribute towards the Company. “Pakistan Cable Ltd. is a renowned name in electrical industry, serving and providing prime quality cables for more than six decades. The MoU is a landmark document which will provide excellent opportunity to the students and faculty of NED University to work closely with a leading manufacturer” said Dr. Sarosh Lodhi, Vice Chancellor, NED University, Karachi.

Prior to signing the MOU, the Vice Chancellor NED University Dr Sarosh Lodhi and CEO Pakistan Cables Ltd. identified similarities between both organizations efforts to promote environmental conservation.

Standard Chartered joins Global Digital Finance Patron Board

09 September, 2021, Pakistan – Standard Chartered announced it has joined the Global Digital Finance (GDF) Patron Board, a unique international alliance of some of the world’s most innovative cryptonatives, fintech companies and banks. The first bank to join the association as a patron member, Standard Chartered will collaborate with other members to advocate and accelerate the adoption of best practices for crypto and digital assets, through a network of strategic innovators across the digital assets value chain that develop industry and governance standards and facilitate engagements between regulators, policy makers as well as professional and industry bodies.

GDF’s extensive network of members and partners complements Standard Chartered’s digital assets strategy and its footprint across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and offers a platform where industry leaders can come together to create compelling global opportunities and shape the future of digital assets.

Digital currencies will play a significant role in shaping the future of money, with the potential to tackle many inefficiencies in the financial services by addressing issues related to access, costs, fragmented liquidity, foreign exchange, and settlement risks. It can also support financial inclusion, giving the millions of unbanked around the world better and lower cost access to the global economy, supporting integrated and sustainable supply chains and creating a safer financial system.

At the same time, the role of regulators is critical to establishing a resilient regulatory framework to address critical issues such as financial crime, stability, legal rights, and consumer protection to control risks and foster innovation. Collaboration between stakeholders such as central banks, commercial banks and fintechs is thus key to driving mainstream adoption and ensuring the development of a safe and reliable investment infrastructure for institutions and professional investors who want to gain exposure to digital assets, including cryptocurrencies.

Geoff Kot, Global Head of Financial Markets Electronic Trading & Platforms, Standard Chartered, said: “We are excited to be joining the GDF Patron Board and look forward to opportunities where we can collaborate with other global experts to support the adoption of digital assets as well as contribute, facilitate and lead the industry dialogue on digital assets standards. We believe thoughtful adoption of digital assets based on the principles of consumer protection and compliance can promote a more efficient and inclusive financial system and banks have an ongoing responsibility to support the evolution of an open and trusted global financial architecture.”

Lawrence Wintermeyer, Executive Co-Chair of GDF, said: “As institutional adoption of digital assets rapidly evolves, we must ensure there is the highest level of industry-wide best practices and standards in place, aligned to emerging policy and regulation thinking and development. GDF and our members are at the forefront of creating these standards in a shared engagement forum with market participants, policymakers, and regulators. We are delighted that Standard Chartered has joined the ten members of our Patron Board setting GDF’s strategic direction. Their leadership will greatly support financial institutions helping to raise the standards for custody, settlement finality, and brokerage across the crypto and digital assets landscape.”

Standard Chartered has been working with various industry partners and fintechs to develop innovative technology and facilitate industry dialogue on digital assets standards. SC Ventures, the Bank’s innovation and ventures unit, partnered with Northern Trust to launch Zodia, a cryptocurrency custodian for institutional investors, which was registered with the Financial Conduct Authority this July. It also announced a partnership with BC Group in June 2021 to establish a digital asset brokerage and exchange platform for institutional and corporate clients in the UK and Europe. In addition, the Bank is an active member of various professional and industry associations, working closely with regulators to shape the industry position and manage the transition to digital currencies into the financial system.

Interswitch Group partners with Codebase Technologies to accelerate product innovation and enhance digital financial services offering across Africa

Interswitch Group (Interswitch), Africa’s leading technology driven company focused on the digitization of payments in Africa, is pleased to announce a new strategic partnership with Codebase Technologies (CBT), a leading global open API banking solution provider, to accelerate the digital banking transformation across the African continent.

With a shared vision of helping Africa’s financial institutions and customers make the transition to digital banking, Codebase Technologies’ award-winning Digibanc™ SaaS platform is the perfect complement to Interswitch’s existing payments and digital banking offering, and together the partnership will help broaden access to financial services for Africans, driving greater financial inclusion across the continent.

Digibanc™ SaaS, hosted by Interswitch, will enable financial institutions in West and East Africa with full front-to-back SaaS capabilities through a rapid and cost-effective deployment model, allowing true economies of scale. Working with the Codebase Technologies team, will help Interswitch to broaden its current digital offering, whilst leveraging Interswitch’s brand recognition to increase the reach and visibility of Digibanc™ SaaS in Africa.

The partnership will also enable banks, fintechs and other corporates, to take advantage of new, leading technologies, so they can continue to meet the evolving market and customer de-mand. In turn, customers will be able to access an extensive range of innovative banking and payment products that meet their existing and future needs.

Interswitch’s Divisional CEO for Digital Infrastructure & Managed Services, Jonah Adams commented, “Africa is at the forefront of digitization, with the fintech market across the continent rapidly evolving. There is also an increasing consumer demand for new, more accessible products and services, and for Interswitch, continuing to innovate and enhance our product propositions is critical. We are excited to partner with Codebase Technologies, bringing with them next-generation technological capabilities and expertise, as we continue our mission to increase access to financial services and drive financial inclusion across Africa.”

Codebase Technologies’ Commercial Director and Africa MD, Paul Nilsen, stated: “We look for-ward to working with Interswitch Group and launching this new, cutting-edge technology that will redefine user centric, financially inclusive financial services and help spur innovation, economic growth, and increased access. This partnership will capitalize on the Interswitch Group’s in-depth knowledge of the current needs and direction of financial institutions across the Continent, as well as the progress they have made in the banking and financial services space.”

About Codebase Technologies

Codebase Technologies is a leading Global Open API Banking solution provider, at the forefront of enabling banks and financial institutions (both Conventional and Islamic), as well as the emerging Fintech ecosystem to Demystify Digital Financial Services. We help organizations create and deliver innovative and intuitive experiences across the customer lifecycle. With a presence across 4 continents, Codebase Technologies with its award-winning suite of products, including the innovative Digibanc™, a comprehensive one-stop ‘Bank-in-a-box’, helps its customers unlock the true potential of the next generation of digital banking.

Codebase Technologies has launched several digital banks and financial propositions across the UAE, Malaysia, Bahrain, UK, and Africa Regions with a proven success rate and unparalleled speed to market. Growing at an exponential rate, Codebase Technologies has established itself as the digital banking technology pioneer in the global banking industry.

Learn more at: www.codebtech.com

About Interswitch Group Interswitch is a leading technology-driven company focused on the digitization of payments in Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Founded in 2002, Interswitch disrupted the traditional cash-based payments value chain in Nigeria by supporting the introduction of electronic payments processing and switching services.

Today, Interswitch is a leading player with critical mass in Nigeria’s developing financial ecosystem and is active across the payments value chain, providing a full suite of omni-channel payment solutions. Interswitch’s vision is to make payments a seamless part of everyday life in Africa, and its mission is to create transaction solutions that enable individuals and communities to prosper across Africa. Interswitch’s broad network and robust payments platform have been instrumental to the development of the Nigerian payments ecosystem and provide Interswitch with the infrastructure to expand across Africa.

Faysal Bank Limited was incorporated in Pakistan on October 03, 1994 as a public limited company under the provisions of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (now Companies Act, 2017). Its shares are listed on Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited. The bank is mainly engaged in Islamic and Conventional Corporate, Commercial and Consumer banking activities. As at September 9, 2021 the bank had a network of 576 branches including 521 Islamic banking branches.

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