Press Releases

2nd CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Forum held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

– CIS countries are Emerging Markets for Islamic Banking and Finance

AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics UAE has conducted 2nd CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Forum with its multilateral partner ICD – Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector on October 21, 2021 at Hyatt Regency Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This event was organized with the support of the Uzbekistan Banking association, Leasing Association of Uzbekistan and International Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan. The Technology partner for this event was Codebase Technologies and exclusive technology sponsors were International Turnkey Systems group and Fido-Biznes. The exhibition sponsors were Uzcard, Finextra, and Caiz Holding AG. Apex Insurance LLC & Islamic Finance and Takaful Association were the Silver Sponsor. The media partners were Proshare WebTV, Islamic Finance Weekly and AzonUz. More than 15 countries participated in this prestigious event including South Africa, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Malaysia, USA, Canada, UAE, The Gambia, Switzerland, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Portugal and Uzbekistan etc.

The platform was an ideal support to discuss Islamic Finance industry future directions as new destination in CIS Countries. The theme of the forum was to explore the untapped potential of Islamic Finance market of CIS countries and to adopt the latest trends, address the challenges and discover the opportunities in Islamic financial industry of Central Asia.

In the inaugural session, the Chief Guests were H.E. Badriddin Abidov, Deputy Minister, Investments and Foreign Trade, Uzbekistan and H.E. Syed Ali Asad Gillani, Ambassador of Pakistan in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, talked about growth of the Islamic Finance industry in Uzbekistan, its future potential. Further Mr. Syed Ali Asad Gillani said that Pakistan and Uzbekistan have strong relationship, both of the countries can collectively work for betterment of Islamic Finance as Pakistan itself is gradually moving towards it. Guest of Honors for said event were Professor Dato’ Azmi Omar (President & Chief Executive Officer, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), Malaysia), Mr. Bakhtiyar Hamidov (General Director, Uzbekistan Banking Association (UBA), Mr. Zafar B. Mustafaev (Chairman, Leasing Association of Uzbekistan) and Mr. Bakhrom Numonov (Chairman, Islamic Finance and Takaful Association, Uzbekistan).

Mr. Muhammad Zubair Mughal, Chief Executive Officer, AlHuda CIBE – UAE echoed his thoughts, and said that Islamic finance is fastest growing area in CIS countries, Islamic finance is not only developing its roots in Muslim countries but many non-Muslim countries are getting benefit from it. Alhuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) is committed to providing specialized Training, Advisory and Research globally with commitment, dedication, and aspiration in Central Asia. Keeping the above vision in mind, Alhuda CIBE with its vibrant staff has been working with full dedication since 2006 for strengthening Islamic Financial System. He further said that Islamic banking and finance total volume has crossed $2.6 trillion globally. The total Muslim population of CIS countries is estimated 75 million which is good news for growing Islamic banking and finance industry.

AlHuda arranged an impressive lineup of speakers from Industry leaders around the globe with the revealing sessions on the Islamic financial system. Our worthy guest speakers including Dr. Amjad Saqib (Founder of Akhuwat- Pakistan), Mr. Paul Nilsen (Commercial Director, Codebase Technologies, South Africa), Ms. Nargis Dustmatova (Managing Director Uzbekistan/CIS Countries, Financial Technology, FinExtra, Uzbekistan) Mr. Ali Cihan Kestir (CEO of Turkey & EMEA Region, Caiz Holding AG, Switzerland) Mr. Farrukh Ziyaev (General Manager, Uzcard), and Mr. Olimjon Zakirov (Deputy General Manager, Uzcard, Uzbekistan) and many other speakers spoke over different emerging topics of Islamic banking, Takaful, Ijarah, Waqaf and global development of Islamic finance along with the opportunities in the industry by many well know international imminent speakers.

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

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

Saudi loan stabilising economy, rupee

Govt should take advantage of eased IMF pressure

Situation will worsen again if imports are not controlled: Mian Zahid Hussain

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said Saudi loan has improved the balance of payments situation and helped stabilise the rupee.

The loan has reduced IMF’s pressure on the government therefore the authorities should take advantage of the development, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that a serious crisis has been temporarily averted but it will resurface again if the current policies were not changed.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the government has to repay 12 billion dollars to international creditors therefore issues with the IMF should be resolved in a timely manner.

He noted that it will not be possible for the government to obtain more loans as long as issues with the IMF are resolved

Mian Zahid Hussain said that Saudi Arabia has helped Pakistan in difficult times but if the government does not control the imports even after Saudi relief of more than four billion dollars, the situation may deteriorate again soon.

He added that unnecessary imports need to be stopped immediately, as the pace of imports is raising concerns among concerned quarters.

He said that Pakistan’s exports were 16% of GDP in 1999, which is now 10%, but no attention is being paid to this important sector which is having a negative impact on the country’s development, employment and production.

He further said that the IMF has reservations about the government’s artificial development policies, huge expenditures, rhetoric instead of real reforms in key sectors and a slowdown in privatization of state-owned enterprises which are causing huge losses.

The lender is also not satisfied with the state of the energy sector and the tax system, which is a violation of the agreement reached with it.

The agreement with the IMF also includes a provision to reduce imports, which is not being implemented, which has made the current account deficit a major threat, but is not being addressed for the sake of political interests, which is very worrying, he observed.

Sarsabz Royals Awards 2020-21 rewards top performing dealers

Sarsabz Fertilizer hosted a special awards ceremony at a local hotel in Bhurban on Thursday, October 28, 2021, as part of its loyalty program ‘Sarsabz Royals’, to reward and recognize its top performing dealers from around the country. More than 150 active dealers from all over Pakistan enthusiastically registered to participate in these annual performance awards while the most performing dealers were recognized with special achievement gifts and prizes.

The dealers were overwhelmed at earning this recognition and attributed their success to Fatima Group for its professional support in highlighting the important role being played by them in ensuring availability of fertilizer across the country for Pakistani farmers. Top officials from Fatima Group attended the event including Khurram Javed Maqbool, Director Marketing and Sales, Rabel Sadozai, National Marketing Manager and Asim Abro, National Sales Manager.

“Sarsabz dealers are the backbone of our operations to ensure ample availability of fertilizer for farmers across the Country. Through our Sarsabz Royals platform, we aim to highlight and recognize the important role played by Sarsabz dealers to protect national food security and their continued support towards Pakistan’s economic prosperity through agriculture”, said Khurram Javed Maqbool, Director Marketing at Fatima Group.

The event concluded at a high note where all participating dealers pledged to continue playing a vital role in advising the farmers on achieving maximum crop yield i.e. 10% more with the unique combination of Sarsabz CAN and NP fertilizers during the ongoing Rabi 2021-22 season. Sarsabz Fertilizer has long been a strong advocate of giving due importance and recognition to Pakistan’s underserved farmers in order to curb national food security challenges on the face of constantly increasing population and food demand.

Shell Pakistan and PAPCO to develop an advanced multi-grade pipeline to transport gasoline

Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) has entered into a 10 year agreement with Pak-Arab Pipeline Company Limited (PAPCO) to upgrade transportation of fuel through a multi-grade pipeline. Currently, the pipeline system only transports diesel from Karachi to upcountry locations. The enhancement of the system will enable pipeline movement of motor gasoline, which is currently moved through trucks, across major routes in the country.

This collaboration aims to transport fuel efficiently and safely. It will result in lower fuel transportation cost passing on as relief to the consumer; significantly reduced number of trucks carrying fuel on roads, lower road safety risks and a decrease in carbon emissions for the country.

The CEO and Managing Director of Shell in Pakistan, Haroon Rashid stated that: “It is a proud moment for Shell Pakistan, as we collaborate with PAPCO, to achieve a milestone in the evolution of Pakistan’s energy infrastructure. Over the decade, Shell Pakistan along with other Oil Marketing Companies, has invested in the construction of the 817 kilometers long pipeline. We are thankful to the Government of Pakistan for taking significant progressive measures, such as implementation of Euro-V specifications for diesel and motor gasoline imported into the country. These global standards will optimize our country’s energy landscape and ensure environmental sustainability for a healthy future.”

With a legacy of 120 years in the region developing and distributing energy by land, air and sea, Shell has endeavored to support the country’s developmental priorities. PAPCO operates a state-of-the-art pipeline system to efficiently transport fuels from the seaports in Karachi to the major oil refineries and cities throughout Pakistan.

Energy, food prices have pushed people to the wall

Blaming int’l market for price hike in Pakistan groundless

Objectives of devaluation could not be achieved: 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 double-edged sword of sharp rise in energy and food prices is hurting the people and business community.

Despite the clear instructions of the Prime Minister, the bureaucracy is unable to control the prices and due to poor governance and hardships of the masses are being increased by the passing of every day, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that hardships are making lives of the masses very difficult which is increasing their anger and uneasiness.

Talking to the business community, Mian Zahid Hussain said that it has become difficult for the middle class which plays a pivotal role in the development of any country to maintain their quality of life.

If the situation continues like this, soon only the rich and the poor will be left in the country as there will be no middle income group, he added.

He said that the people have not been able to spend on health, education, electricity, gas and other essentials due to inflation which has increased the risks to the country’s future.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that rising unemployment has also led to an increase in crime rate as apart from the sharp rise in prices of flour, sugar, chicken, eggs and meat, the price of cooking oil has risen by 88% and the price of sugar by 83% while the prices of other commodities have also continued to rise.

He noted that top officials are blaming inflation on the global market, but the reality is that food prices in other food-importing countries, including India and Bangladesh, are much lower than in Pakistan.

Energy prices in many regional countries, including India and Bangladesh, are also lower than Pakistan’s in terms of per capita income.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the objectives of quiet devaluation of rupee could not be achieved but it has increased the debt of the country by Rs. 2700 billion and resulted in runaway inflation.

IBA China Study Centre hosts G3 CPEC Summit

The China Study Centre (CSC) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi hosted a day-long summit titled, ‘CPEC: Emerging Geopolitical and Geo-Economic Landscape Opportunities and Challenges’ at the IBA City Campus. Attendees included policymakers, opinion builders, academia, media, members of the IBA faculty, staff and students.

The aim of the hybrid Summit was to explore and identify the future opportunities and challenges for China, Pakistan and Afghanistan economic, information and trade corridor in the wake of recent developments in the region, specifically the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the role of the new Afghan government in regional connectivity.

Dr. Wajid Hussain Rizvi, Dean, School of Business Studies at the IBA Karachi delivered the welcome address virtually.

Dr. Nasir A. Afghan, Director, China Study Centre shed light on the importance of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is the economic lifeline for Pakistan. “We want to demystify CPEC and the evolving challenges and opportunities it brings. Taliban is the new reality in Afghanistan and we need to learn to live with the new reality.” He further talked about creating a bridge between all parties and emphasized that a future that brings peace, respect and dignity for all is the need of the hour for the region and beyond. “Pakistan has historically been part of the Silk Road and has always been connected with the Central Asian civilizations. It is time we reconnect with the roots economically and socially”.

The first keynote speaker of the event, Mr. Khalid Mansoor, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs joined the session virtually from Lahore. “It is about time people know the reality of CPEC as there is so much negativity around it and it is now time to share its progress.” He highlighted the three phases of the CPEC roadmap which initiated in 2015 and will go up to 2030. “The first phase focuses on alleviating the power crisis and infrastructure development. The second phase focuses on the mid-term projects which will be completed till 2025.”

He shared details about the progress made in the different phases of CPEC. As for the West, and how it views CPEC, Mr. Mansoor mentioned, “The U.S. and Europe views it as China’s political ambition, rather than focusing on the regional connectivity it is bringing.” He further highlighted that CPEC is progressing in the right direction, it is the era of industrialization in Pakistan that is moving Pakistan towards a modern economic journey.

Professor Dr. Qian Feng, Director of Research Department and Senior Research Fellow, National Strategy Institute, Tsinghua University, China, the second keynote speaker stated, “Through the Summit we are making developments to further enhance CPEC which is in the common interest of Pakistan, China and Afghanistan.” He shared his thoughts about the Pakistan-India relationship which is key. “India-Pakistan relationship has always been the parameter of regional situation. Among them Kashmir issue is the key point. We can see as in 2019 when the nationalist Modi government outrageously abolished Article 370 of its constitution that really has broken the balance of Kashmir… (and) China always stands on the side of justice,” he remarked.

The third keynote speaker, Mr. Guo Chunshui, Commercial Counselor, Chinese Consulate, Karachi stated, “China and Pakistan have a unique iron-clad friendship, and established an all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. CPEC is a landmark and pilot project of the “the Belt and Road Initiative”. Over the past eight years, CPEC has achieved fruitful and remarkable results. With the implementation of CPEC, China has been Pakistan’s largest trading partner for six consecutive years and largest source of investment for seven consecutive years.”

On China-Pakistan-Afghan trilateral relations he mentioned, “We should focus firstly on enhancing unity and cooperation. Our developments are closely linked with each other’s. It is essential for us to strengthen policy dialogue and communication from the perspective of regional development under the premise of fully respecting legitimate security concerns of each other. Secondly (we should focus on) strengthening safety and security. It is necessary to uphold the philosophy of people-centered, comprehensive, cooperative, shared and sustainable security concept, which could help three countries to strengthen capacity for maintaining stability and promote a smooth transition toward true peace, stability, and development in Afghanistan. Thirdly, promoting openness and integration (should be key). China remains committed to pursuing common development, sharing market opportunities and building the “Belt and Road” with Pakistan, Afghan and related countries.”

The first panel discussion of the Summit was titled, ‘CPEC: The Emerging Geopolitical and Economic Landscape’. The panelists included Mr. Masood Khalid, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to People’s Republic of China; Group Captain (R) Sultan M. Hali, Writer and Security Analyst; Dr. Shabana Fayyaz, Head, Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University; and Dr. Fazal ul Hadi, Professor, Salam University, Kabul. Moderators of the panel discussion included Dr. Afghan and Dr. Huma Baqai, Associate Professor, IBA Karachi. Dr. Baqai stated that “questions are being raised that is Pakistan being colonized? CPEC was launched when Pakistan was economically and diplomatically isolated, and it was CPEC that bailed Pakistan out of the isolation.” She further elaborated that with the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, CPEC is at a crossroads.

The first panelist, Mr. Khalid, discussed the new polarized global order and how Pakistan does not wish to be caught in the crossfire between the U.S. and China. “CPEC has delivered tangible benefits to Pakistan and is the first major investment by a country in Pakistan which affirms China’s confidence in Pakistan. Why out of the six corridors is CPEC being targeted? It is so to weaken Pak-China bilateral cooperation.”

Mr. Hali mentioned that “Our strengths are also our weaknesses like our strategic location, strategic assets, contacts with the Taliban and our deep-rooted relationship with China.” Talking about the opportunities, he stated that our diplomacy needs to be transparent. “Our economy is unfortunately a threat.”

Sharing her thoughts, Dr. Fayyaz spoke about the strategic economic and geographical challenges faced by China and Pakistan. “CPEC is the most debated subject within Pakistan, and we need to challenge the notions associated with CPEC internally as we are in a position to reap benefits from it. Unfortunately, we only see the failures and not the progress associated with it.” She discussed the perception of the West regarding CPEC as a form of Sino imperialism in Asia.

Joining the summit from Kabul, Dr. Hadi, commented on the recent changes that have taken place in Afghanistan and how that has raised hope and opportunities for the region. “Peace and stability in Afghanistan will prove beneficial for other countries in the region.” Talking about CPEC, he said “It is a great economic, social and political opportunity which should not be lost as if the region loses it, the region will be faced with an unknown future.” He further stated, “China, Pakistan, Iran and other neighboring countries should help and support Afghanistan to move towards achieving durable peace and stability. Afghanistan is a sovereign country and nobody should think it can be colonized, and its sovereignty must and should be respected and honoured. Afghanistan is the heart of Asia, if it is peaceful, whole of Asia is peaceful.”

The second panel discussion was titled ‘CPEC: The Challenges and Opportunities for Information and Media Collaboration between Pakistan, China and Afghanistan. Do we need Information Corridor?’. The panelists included, Dr. Ghairat Baheer, Former Ambassador and Senator, Afghanistan; Ms. Naghmana Hashmi, Former Ambassador of Pakistan to People’s Republic of China; and Lt. Gen (R) Asif Yasin Malik, Former Secretary of Defense, Pakistan. Moderators included Dr. Afghan and Dr. Aneel Salman, Director, Faculty Development Academy COMSATS University, Islamabad.

Dr. Baheer, present physically at the IBA, said the summit is being held at an important time, a time when the traditional Silk Route should be revived with changing dynamics in his home country. Talking about instability, he mentioned “An unstable Afghanistan will spillover instability across the region, whereas a stable Afghanistan will lead to progress for the region.”

Ms. Hashmi shed light on the current world of information. “We are living in an age of information explosion which is both good and bad. CPEC has suffered due to negative propaganda by the West as they don’t want the region to be developed particularly due to the Corridor’s links with China. Confrontation between China and America is also affecting politics in the field of information. We need to be cognizant of actions taken to contain, malign and create doubts about China particularly in south west Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan and China). Therefore, it is important for us to demystify CPEC. Even more important is the need to demystify our own thinking and our strategic orientation.”

Mr. Malik deconstructed the four words of CPEC for the audience. “CPEC is four words, the pain is caused by the first 2 and these two, China and Pakistan have no place in the new world order. Pakistan is an irritant in the new world order. Even the Pakistan-China friendship is a major handicap for Pakistan. The global media has negativity regarding CPEC and the western media is involved in a hybrid war against the ‘C’ and ‘P’ in CPEC. So the objective is to sort out the ‘C’ and ‘P’. Therefore, we have to walk an extra mile to overcome the negativity around CPEC.” He highlighted that the concept of CPEC information corridor is very important and is doable and it is equally important for the media potential of Afghanistan to be mobilized.

UBL continues to have a stellar 2021

9M profits of Rs 39 billion, up 49%

Shareholder returns and payouts continue to grow

UBL continued its strong momentum in 2021 as the bank earned Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 39.3 billion for the period ended September 30, 2021, a strong growth of 49% year on year, with earnings per share (EPS) of Rs. 18.6 (9M’20: Rs. 13.1). The bank declared a dividend of Rs. 4.0 per share for Q3’21, which is in addition to the Rs. 8.0 per share declared earlier, taking the overall payout to Rs. 12.0 per share year to date.

UBL is a firm believer that focusing on building human capital, investment in IT systems while creating operational efficiencies is key to sustainable earnings. But equally important is employee recognition, we believe the success this year has been the result of a highly passionate work force. Our teams have served with a clear sense of purpose with all efforts directed towards greater organizational aspirations.

Serving the nation with one of the largest branch networks in Pakistan

UBL remains one of the key financial institutions in the country serving over 10 million customers, with a network of 1,344 branches within Pakistan, 1,436 ATMs, over 35,000 Omni agents, well supported by the bank’s award winning digital banking services. The Branch Banking Group delivered a record performance in 2021, with strong growth in average domestic deposits of over 21% as the bank continues to expand its customer base across key geographies. Domestic deposits averaged Rs. 1.5 trillion in 9M’21, with the domestic CASA to total deposits ratio at 85.5% for 9M’21. This aggressive deposit mobilization enabled the UBL to expand its average market share to 8.4% in 9M’21 (9M’20: 8.1%).

UBL is also actively participating in all major economic programs launched by the Government of Pakistan and the State Bank of Pakistan. Building on its market leading position in the home remittances space, the bank is at the forefront of the Roshan Digital Account initiative. UBL is proud to be one of the top banks participating in RDA with over 48,000 accounts opened to date, with inflows of USD 257 million.

Islamic Banking – UBL ‘Ameen’ gaining momentum with enhanced footprint

UBL sees Islamic banking as an emergent and growing opportunity and is aggressively focusing on expanding within this key space The Islamic branch network consists of 114 branches as well as 201 Islamic Banking Windows. Islamic banking deposits grew to Rs. 127 billion at Sep’21, an increase of 14% since Dec’20. Islamic asset acquisition remains a key priority for UBL. The loan book for this segment averaged Rs. 34 billion in 9M’21, growing by over 71% year on year.

Focus on Non Funded Income to diversify revenue steams

The country is strongly re-emerging from the pandemic, with economic activity rebounding to pre-COVID levels. This enabled the bank to record a year on year growth of 31% in domestic fees and commission revenues, with strong contribution from all major segments. A strong momentum was witnessed in the bancassurance space with commission income up 56%. There was also a sharp improvement in fee income from consumer finance, with an increase of 29%. Fee income from debit and credit cards was recorded at Rs. 1.8 billion for 9M’21, growing by a strong 71%. Corporate Banking earned investment banking fees of Rs. 456 million in 9M’21 as against Rs. 139 million in 9M’20, driven by mandates for debt arrangement as well as other advisory services. Commission income from cash management was recorded at Rs. 711 million for 9M’21, growing by 20% year on year as throughput volumes witnessed a significant increase with integration to the bank’s digital corporate portal, reaching a much wider client base. The bank remains the preferred partner to the overseas Pakistani diaspora who continue to put their trust in UBL, as we maintained our leading market share of over 20% in home remittances space. Non-markup income was further augmented by the timely realization of market gains on the bank’s fixed income sovereign bonds holdings, resulting in capital gains of Rs. 3.3 billion in 9M’21.

Cautiously Building Assets while improving credit quality

Bank level performing advances averaged Rs. 542 billion for 9M’21, declining by 7% year on year. The bank remains focused on building its loan book as the economy transitions out of the pandemic. The consumer book averaged Rs. 19 billion for 9M’21, growing by 11% year on year, driven by the healthy momentum within the secured autos segment. The bank has further strengthened its credit standards, enhanced its risk management capabilities as well as stepped up its recovery efforts within both domestic and international businesses, which has resulted in net provision reversals of Rs. 415 million for 9M’21.

International business entering phase of consolidation and stability

The economic environment within the GCC has started to pick up momentum as the pandemic gradually recedes and is also supported by a sharp rise in oil prices. Within International, UBL is looking to build a sustainable business model driven mainly by a strong base of low cost deposits. On the asset side, lending remains selective, confined to existing quality relationships, with rigorous oversight to contain any new NPL formation. After going through a challenging period of de-risking and optimizing the business model, the bank’s International business has entered a period of stability, recording a PBT of USD 30.1 million in 9M’21.

Digital Banking – Best in its class with growing penetration

UBL being one of the largest financial institutions in Pakistan prides itself in being an industry leader that is driving the digital revolution in the country. We continue to be well recognized as the bank was declared the ‘Best Digital Bank’ in Pakistan for the second consecutive year by Asiamoney. The award recognizes UBL’s leading role as one of the most progressive and innovative banks in the country. UBL was also declared the ‘Best Digital Bank’ at the 2020 Pakistan Banking Awards.

We have also recently introduced the UBL Digital Islamic Account and launched wealth management services on the mobile app. The bank is well on target to cross 2 million digital customers this year, with the number of digital transactions increasing by over 90% year on year.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Shazad G. Dada, President & CEO of UBL said, “I am very proud of our deposit growth, which has been the highest in the last 5 years, at over 21% and our aspiration is to continue to take this take this to new highs in years to come. Our focused attention towards NFI has borne fruit and our International operations are making a healthy contribution to our overall profitability. Credit quality remains strong with sound risk management as we gain ground with larger trade volumes. We will continue to live up to our position as Pakistan’s leading Digital Bank and deliver the highest standards of service to our rapidly growing customer base. We are making investments in our branch network, technology infrastructure and on our people, as we aim to become the best service bank in the industry. As a team, we are excited about our future prospects, with a number of key strategic initiatives underway.”

IMF’s demand to close govt accounts in commercial banks supported

Different departments running thousands of accounts illegally

It is not bitter but a sweet pill; billions will be saved: 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 termed the demand of the IMF to close bank accounts of government departments in commercial banks reasonable.

Different departments and state-run corporations operate thousands of accounts in commercial banks illegally which must be transferred to the central bank as it will end malpractices and save billions of rupees.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the demand of the IMF should not be seen as a bitter pill but a sweet pill and it should be accepted without delay.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that different government bodies have opened more than 5,000 accounts in commercial banks in open violation of laws and directives of the Ministry of Finance, and these accounts hold  hundreds of billions of rupees.

There are a number of problems in this practice that need to be addressed without further delay, he said.

He noted that there is competition between commercial banks for government funds, which is prone to corruption.

Commercial banks pay up to 4% interest on their deposits to government institutions and earn up to 10% interest when it lends the same money to the government, causing a loss of billions of rupees to the government.

In addition, the officials of many institutions deposit government funds in personal accounts to earn interest, while many institutions delay plans to earn interest.

He noted that some institutions even transfer the public funds to the accounts of private parties before the expiry of the period and later receive them from the same partes therefore  it is necessary to bring this business to an end.

Mian Zahid Hussain added that the government takes a bitter pill of debt from the IMF only when the state of the economy has deteriorated drastically. The decline of the economic situation is tolerated to some extent, but when things are moving towards economic instability, the rulers try to prevent this situation.

The conditions set by IMF experts for borrowing countries emphasize the urgent need to take steps to address economic instability, including the repayment of external debt and support local spending which affects the people.

He said that despite the agreement with the IMF, these conditions are not fully implemented in Pakistan which worsens the economic situation and makes the conditions of the international body more stringent, for which people pay the price.

Adamjee Life and Sehat Kahani collaborate to provide free Consultation to Customers

Adamjee Life Assurance Co. has entered into a partnership with Sehat Kahani; Pakistan’s fastest growing telemedicine platform to provide healthcare (OPD) services to all Adamjee life customers.

Through this collaboration, Adamjee Life customers will be able to have real-time access to certified doctors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, free of charge, via Sehat Kahani’s established telemedicine solution.

Mr. Jalal Meghani, Deputy Managing Director, Adamjee Life shared his views, stating, “Partnering with Sehat Kahani is a testament of Adamjee Life’s commitment to care for the well-being of its customers. We also have a strong resolve to work towards developing a sustainable and robust healthcare infrastructure in Pakistan through the adoption of technology. Since we are in the still in the midst of the pandemic, this platform mitigates the exposure of patients who are sick or at-risk due to other conditions, as well as protect the healthcare workers and community at large.”

Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram & Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga, the co-founders and CEO & COO of Sehat Kahani respectively issued a combined statement on this partnership stating, “We take this as our national duty to step-up in the time of crisis where access to primary health is otherwise compromised. This application is not only helping the patients by providing them a safe and effective solution but has also helped easing the burden on healthcare facilities by 550,000+ patients to date. We are also thankful to Adamjee Life for partnering with us in spreading the message on a larger scale. We hope that we can also fight this together as a nation and rise beyond for a healthier future!”

This pandemic is a challenging time for us all. We will continue to facilitate the society in the best way possible and prove how reliable and caring we are under new and uncertain circumstances.”

Pakistan Cables signs up the business ambition for 1.5oc commitment

Pakistan Cables Ltd, represented by the Chairman, Mustapha A. Chinoy and the British High Commission, represented by Mr. Mike Nithavrianakis, British Deputy High Commissioner Karachi & Trade Director for Pakistan signed the Business Ambition For 1.5°C Commitment at the Pakistan Cables Urban Forest, Nooriabad. The commitment aligns the Company’s ambition with keeping warming to 1.5°C and reaching science-based net-zero emissions by 2050. Pakistan Cables is amongst the first 26 companies in Pakistan to sign on to the Race to Zero ahead of the COP 26 that will be held in Glasgow, Oct-Nov 2021.

“As we head towards COP26 in Glasgow ten days from now, I am pleased to announce that Pakistan Cables is joining hands for our Race-to-Zero pledge and committing to our 26 for26 initiative. I got a chance to visit the Urban Forest today, a green initiative on Pakistan Cables’ industrial estate, where team members from the organization have planted over 40,000 trees since 2020.  This fantastic environmental conservation practice shows how businesses like Pakistan Cables are leading the way to a green, clean and sustainable future” said Mr. Mike Nithavrianakis.

Pakistan Cables is a signatory of the UN Global Compact. Earlier in 2021, Pakistan Cables announced planting 40,000 trees on 2.5 acres, creating Pakistan’s first and largest Urban Forest on an industrial estate, at its upcoming manufacturing facility Nooriabad. “Pakistan Cables has long been an advocate of green initiatives and adhering to sustainable business practices. We are extremely proud of the commitment and stand united with global business leaders on the climate change”, stated Mr. Mustapha A. Chinoy.

Transforming to a net-zero emissions economy requires coordinated action across all sectors of the economy supported by enabling policy frameworks. Companies signing this document commit to policy advocacy positions consistent with a 1.5°C future.

There ceremony was also attended by Ms. Muna Shamsuddin [title here], Mr. Arshad Shafiq, Director Operations Pakistan Cables and other team members.

About Pakistan Cables Limited

Founded in 1953, Pakistan Cables is the oldest and most reputable cable manufacturer in Pakistan. It is the only wire and cable manufacturer listed on the PSX since 1955. It is a member company of the Amir S. Chinoy Group, a pioneer of industrialisation in Pakistan since the partition. Pakistan Cables has a history of international affiliations, including British Insulated Callender’s Cable and General Cable. It is ISO9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 AND ISO 45001:2018certified and has had various cables type tested by KEMA, Netherlands. The company has the largest geographical footprint in Pakistan with presence in over 200 towns and cities.

Faysal Bank Limited – First bank in Pakistan to partner with Sentbe to offer instant cross-border home remittances

Faysal Bank Limited (FBL), a leading name in Pakistan’s banking industry, announced a partnership with Sentbe, a South Korea based fintech money transfer service, for the remittance and real-time payment service.

Among approximately 10,000 Pakistanis residing in South Korea, over 50 percent are using Sentbe service, with Sentbe being an essential application for many migrants making money-transfers to their loved ones in their countries of origin. The collaboration between Sentbe and FBL has been established with the shared vision for faster and safer payment and remittance services.

Through this partnership, Sentbe will establish brand trustability and enhance accessibility and convenience of the remittees in Pakistan. Leveraging the local channels of Faysal Bank, Sentbe will provide a safe remittance service that enables instant fund transfers between South Korea and Pakistan. Sentbe has become the first South Korean fintech remittance company to sign the partnership with Faysal Bank.

FBL Head Corporate and Investment Banking, Ali Waqar said: “In line with our vision for excellence in all that we do, we are delighted to join Sentbe and access the fast-growing network that connects its members and other financial institutions. It is coherent with Faysal Bank Limited (FBL) strategy to offer cutting-edge solutions which mutually benefits both the bank and our esteemed clients.”

“This partnership is significant in that it is South Korea’s first fintech partnership with Pakistan’s leading bank, FBL, under the joint goal of enhancing the client service with innovation,” added Alex Choi, CEO of Sentbe. “We are now in an even better position to meet demand for tech-savvy solutions within this space and look forward to the change this will bring to the diverse community we serve.”

Sentbe supports real-time overseas remittance services 24-hours a day, transferring from South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia to over 50 countries.

Benefits of devaluing rupee less then disadvantages

Devaluation policy can start a currency war with rival nations

Formula not applicable in Pakistan, many countries faced huge losses: Mian Zahid Hussain

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said the disadvantages of devaluing the rupee are more than advantages as it is hitting the entire population and stoking poverty.

The policy of devaluing local currency can start a currency war with rival countries that can result in a loss rather than a gain, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the formula of devaluing currency is not applicable in Pakistan as many countries have suffered huge losses by devaluing their currency against USD and other currencies.

Reacting to a statement issued by Governor State Bank Dr. Reza Baqir, he said that devaluation of local currency can increase exports to some extent and reduce the trade deficit but at the same time it makes imports more expensive and increases the pace of inflation.

He noted that in a country like Pakistan where imports are almost three times higher than exports and huge quantities of imported raw materials are being used in exports, this formula is not applicable.

The devaluation of the currency has increased the country’s debt by about Rs 2400 billion, while local and foreign investors are worried over uncertainty, he said.

The business leader noted that many countries have suffered huge losses by devaluing their currency while some have faced currency wars with nations that rival them in the international market.

Governor State Bank has said that cheap rupee benefits overseas Pakistanis and remittances are increasing due to depreciation of rupee while the families of Pakistanis living abroad are already getting Rs. 500 billion more.

But, he said, in reality the government has failed to properly invest thirty billion dollars received as remittances which is also contributing to the huge increase in inflation.

It is also a fact that the number of exporters is a few thousand and the number of overseas Pakistanis is about nine million for whose benefit it is unwise to push 21 crore people into the hell of inflation, he observed.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that increase in the value of currency reduces imports and reduces inflation. Due to cheaper imports, local industries have to strive to increase the quality and quantity of their products due to competition, which benefits the masses.

Even if the rupee was devalued to Rs 400 against the dollar, the country’s exports would not reach the level of imports, he warned.

Jazz invests PKR 9.54 billion in Q3 2021, 4G population coverage crosses 65% mark

During the third quarter of 2021, Jazz invested PKR 9.54 billion maintaining its strategic focus on 4G and digital services. Jazz’s 4G user base reached 33.8 million with population coverage of its 4G network crossed 65%, while its total customer base grew by 11.2% YoY to reach 71.4 million.

Aamir Ibrahim, CEO of Jazz, said, “We are constantly delivering on our ‘4G for all’ ambition to support a robust and inclusive digital ecosystem. The rise in the adoption of digital tools is quite encouraging, including the consistent growth of JazzCash as Pakistan’s leading fintech. Jazz remains firm in its commitment to connect the underserved with fast and reliable 4G and to bank the underbanked through JazzCash.”

Digital services were another key area of growth with JazzCash reaching 13.9 million monthly active users and recorded a rise in the total number of registered wallets to 35.4 million. JazzCash’s retail presence continued to expand and reached over 92,000 active agents and more than 89,000 active merchants by the end of the third quarter.

Jazz’s self-care app, Jazz World, continued to enjoy strong levels of customer adoption, as its monthly active user base grew by 40.6% YoY, reaching 9.4 million, cementing its position as Pakistan’s largest telecom app. Other streaming and entertainment platforms such as Jazz TV, Bajao, Jazz Cricket and Deikho, enjoyed further growth; usage time of these platforms increased by an average of 75.4% YoY.

CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Awards 2021 held in Tashkent-Uzbekistan

CIS Islamic Banking and Finance awards distribution ceremony in Uzbekistan was celebrated on 21st October, 2021 on the occasion of 2nd CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Forum organized by AlHuda Center of Islamic Banking & Economics (CIBE) at Hyatt regency Tashkent, Uzbekistan with a specific purpose to encourage Islamic Finance Industry as well as to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievements and contributions of individuals and institutions within Islamic Banking and Finance industry. AlHuda CIBE congratulates all winners of Awards. Our congratulations to all of the winners and nominees of the CIS Islamic Banking and Finance awards, 2021 at 2nd CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Forum said Mr. Muhammad Zubair, Chief Executive Officer AlHuda CIBE, CIS Islamic Banking and Finance awards 2021 are truly showcase those organizations and individuals that are driving innovations in the rapidly emerging Islamic Finance industry. We thank all of our entrants, judges, sponsors and partners for supporting the CIS Islamic Banking and Finance awards.

Delegates from various countries participated in the forum. The dignitaries including the Chief Guest H.E Mr. Badriddin Abidov, Deputy Minister, Investments and Foreign Trade, Uzbekistan and Mr. Muhammad Zubair Mughal, CEO of AlHuda CIBE FZ LLE, UAE handed over the awards to the winners. Various award categories conferred upon the winners include: award for the Best Contributor to the Islamic Finance Industry award to Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) Jeddah; Best Ijarah Product to Taiba Leasing LLC; Best Islamic Fintech Award to FinExtra Limited; Best Islamic Bank of CIS to OJSC “Tawhid bank; Best Innovative Product award to Caiz Holding AG Germany; Best Islamic Product Software for Banking Industry award to Codebase Technologies; Emerging Personality of Islamic Banking and Finance award to Ahrorjon Sadullaev; Best Supporter for the Development of Islamic Banking and Finance award to Uzbekistan Banking Association; Best Supporter for the development of Ijarah Product award to Leasing Association of Uzbekistan; Best Takaful Company in CIS award to Apex Takaful Uzbekistan; Best Shariah Advisor award to Azon UZ Uzbekistan; Best IT Integration and Innovative Product award to UZ Card Uzbekistan and Best Islamic Investment bank award to Islamic Business and Finance (IsBF) LLC Uzbekistan.

Many Supporters and sponsors had aggressively participated to make the event successful including Islamic Corporation for Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Codebase Technologies, Islamic finance and Takaful Association, Apex Insurance LLC, Ciaz Holding AG, UZ Card and FinExtra, furthermore media partners including Islamic Finance Weekly, WebTV, Azon.uz and True Banking Magazine were also there.

About AlHuda CIBE:

AlHuda Center of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) is a well-recognized name in Islamic banking and finance industry for research and provide state-of-the-art Advisory Consultancy and Education through various well-recognized modes viz. Islamic Financial Product Development, Shariah Advisory, Trainings Workshops, and Islamic Microfinance and Takaful Consultancies etc. side by side through our distinguished, generally acceptable and known Publications in Islamic Banking and Finance.
We are dedicated to serving the community as a unique institution, advisory and capacity building for the last twelve years. The prime goal has always been to remain stick to the commitments providing Services not only in UAE/Pakistan but all over the world. We have so far served in more than 35 Countries for the development of Islamic Banking and Finance industry. For further Details about AlHuda CIBE, please visit: www.alhudacibe.com

“I CAN-CER VIVE” A breast Cancer Awareness event by Sehat Kahani At British High Commission in partnership with Jubilee Life and Adamjee Life.

Breast Cancer is a deadly disease which can result in untimely death if not diagnosed on time.In 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 deaths globally. In Asia, Pakistan has the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia.

At some stage of life, 1 in 9 Pakistani women become patients of breast cancer.

Today Sehat Kahani which is a Leading Telemedicine platform of Pakistan conducted I CAN-CER VIVE, an event to honour breast cancer survivors and raise awareness about Breast Cancer at the British High Commission.

The event was graced by the Health Minister Sindh-Dr.Azra Fazal Pechuho,Ex-secretary health,Dr. Fazallulah Pechuho and Mike Nithavrianakis-The Britain’s Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi.

Mike opened the event and talked about the important role that doctors have to play in early screening and diagnosis of Breast Cancer. He appreciated Sehat Kahani’s effort in playing a role to increase awareness through its telemedicine platform.

Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram,CEO Sehat Kahani emphasised that Sehat Kahani’s vision is to provide quality and affordable healthcare to patients using its telemedicine solution across Pakistan.Treating more than half a million patients till date all over Pakistan, Sehat Kahani will expand its services to include breast cancer awareness screening programs,training of doctors and nurses to diagnose early signs and facilitate breast cancer specialist consultations at subsidised cost on all its platform.

The event honoured 5 breast cancer survivors highlighting their struggle through a video documentary and presenting them a token of resilience.

The event also hosted a panel of renowned doctors,Dr. Naila Zahid -leading Consultant Oncologist at Liaquat National Hospital,Dr. Kausar Rehman-Consultant Breast Oncoplastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at South City Hospital and Sanaa Ahmed -mental health expert represents the Mental Healthcare portfolio for British Asian Trust in Pakistan.The panel was moderated by Dr.Iffat Zafar Aga,COO Sehat Kahani .The panelists discussed the importance of fighting the disease with the body and mind.They encouraged women to reach a doctor immediately incase they find any signs and symptoms of Breast Cancer.

The Chief guest Dr.Azra Fazal Pechuho,in her Keynote,emphasised on the importance of technology playing an important role in early diagnosis and cure of disease.She also mentioned that the bill for telemedicine has been passed from the assembly so that companies such as Sehat Kahani can play its role in helping more patients.

About Sehat Kahani:

Sehat Kahani is a health Tech Organization that connects a pool of 6000 female healthcare professionals to patients who need health care using a telemedicine based platform, creating E- Clinics in low-income communities and a mobile application for the masses. Sehat Kahani has a network of 35 clinics spread all across Pakistan, a retail app serving the masses and a corporate app serving 700+ corporations. Through all these platforms SehatKahani has provided consultations to 550,000 plus patients till date.

Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan announces Q3 2021 results

Highlights:

  • Profit before Tax of PKR 18.4 billion
  • Strong growth in net advances of 26 per cent
  • Healthy increase in deposits of 7 per cent
  • Cost discipline continues with an increase of only 1 per cent
  • Effective risk management resulting in net recoveries of PKR 790 million

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited announced its Q3 Results for 2021. The Bank delivered a resilient financial performance in Q3 2021 with year to date Profit before tax of PKR 18.4 billion, compared to PKR 19.9billion in the corresponding period last year.

The Bank achieved revenue in excess of PKR 26 billion, despite challenging external environment and margin compression. While y/y revenue was down, the q/q momentum has picked up with a growth of 10% in Q3’21 compared to same period last year. Administrative costs continue to be well managed through operational efficiencies and disciplined spending resulting in y/y increase of 1% compared to same period last year. Moreover, strong recoveries of bad debts, coupled with lower impairments because of prudent risk approach led to a net release of PKR 0.8 billion in YTD Sep’21 compared to a charge of PKR 3.2 billion in the comparative period.

All businesses have positive momentum with strong growth in underlying drivers. This is evident from pickup in net advances, which have grown by 26% since the start of this year. This was a result of targeted strategy to build profitable, high quality and sustainable portfolios. With a diversified product base, the Bank is well positioned to cater for the needs of its clients. On the liabilities side, the Bank’s total deposits grew by PKR 40 billion, whereas current and saving accounts grew by PKR 41 billion (up 8%) since the start of this year and comprise 93% of the deposit base. The incremental liquidity generated is currently deployed in government securities and interbank lending thereby resulting in an increase of 7per cent in total assets, which crossed PKR 750 billion milestone to close at PKR 775 billion.

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) continues to make good progress against well-defined strategic priorities. The global network differentiates the Bank for its clients, bringing forth innovative solutions, product specialization and structured offshore offerings. The network advantage has also enabled the Bank to generate over $278M in funding of Roshan Digital Account in addition to carrying out several high-profile transactions for Clients and Government of Pakistan. Facilitating clients through personalised wealth advice based on superior insight has led to an increase in wealth business by 22%. Bank strives to maximise the contribution to SBP initiatives on promoting housing finance. Till date, financing of over PKR 10 Billion has been approved under Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar Scheme with Bank also amongst the first few to cross landmark of PKR 1 Billion in disbursement under the said scheme. Total disbursements are to the tune of ∼PKR 1.7 Billion (As of September 30th, 2021), one of the highest in the industry. The Bank has also continued to make mark on Sustainability front, with execution of several sustainable finance transactions, reduction in its Carbon Footprint and through its community initiatives including Futuremakers programme targeting education, employability, and entrepreneurship.

Bank has continued to invest in technological advancements and digital infrastructure which has and will further scale up the Bank’s mass market potential in addition to strengthening its Cyber Security. Digital transaction mix as well as adoption to digital channels including “SC Mobile” application continue to increase and enhance overall client experience.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Rehan Shaikh, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited said, “I am pleased to announce our results for the third quarter 2021. Our results demonstrate strong foundations and a clear path towards delivering on our strategic priorities as we stand committed to the socio-economic prosperity of the people of Pakistan. Over the course of last few months, we have made steady progress on our accelerated transformation journey, further enabling us to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead. Our pivot to digital continues to result in greater efficiency and growth in underlying drivers and position the bank for the future. Our control and compliance environment stays well curated. As we proceed, we stand fully committed to play our part in the growth story of Pakistan, deliver timely and sustainable growth for our shareholders and ensure the best in class services and solutions for our clients.”

MCB Bank continues to declare highest dividend per share in the industry for 9M’ 2021

The Board of Directors of MCB Bank Limited (MCB) in its meeting under the Chairmanship of Mian Mohammad Mansha, on October 27, 2021, reviewed the performance of the Bank and approved the condensed interim financial statements for the nine months period ended September 30, 2021. The Board of Directors has declared 3rd interim cash dividend of Rs. 4.5 per share i.e. 45% bringing the total cash dividend for the year ending 2021 to 140%, continuing with its highest dividend payout trend.

During the nine months period ended September 30, 2021, MCB Bank Limited reported Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 38.27 billion and Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 22.56 billion. Earnings’ Per Share (EPS) stood at Rs. 19.03 against an EPS of Rs. 19.35 reported in the corresponding period last year.

The State Bank of Pakistan continued with its expansionary monetary policy stance during the major part of the period in order to combat the downside risks emanating from COVID-19 outbreak. Average Policy rate registered a decline of 27% (258bps) from an average of 9.59% in corresponding period last year to 7.01% in current period under review. However, on account of historic growth in average current deposits, net interest income of the Bank decreased by 14% only, from Rs 55.35 billion to Rs 47.74 billion.

Non-markup income registered a growth of 6% and aggregated to Rs. 14.38 billion against Rs. 13.56 billion in the corresponding period last year. Improved transactional volumes, surge in business activities, diversification of revenue streams through continuous enrichment of Bank’s product suite, investments towards digital transformation and an unrelenting focus on upholding the high service standards supplemented a growth of 14% in fee income whereas dividend and foreign exchange incomes increased by 98% & 21% respectively.

On the operating expenses side, despite sustained inflationary pressures amidst currency devaluation and rising commodity prices, higher compliance related regulatory charges, expansion in branch outreach and regular performance and merit adjustments of the Human Capital, the Bank was able to curtail the total growth to 7%.

On the provision front, disposal of equity scrips resulted in a net reversal of Rs. 183 million for the nine month period ended September 30, 2021. Proactive monitoring and recovery efforts led to a reversal of Rs. 294 million in specific provision maintained against non-performing loans (NPL’s) while the general loss reserve created amidst the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak was reversed, to the tune of Rs. 3 billion as the systematic risks surrounding the economic recovery receded and the domestic activity witnessed resurgence.

On the financial position side, the total asset base of the Bank, on an unconsolidated basis, was reported at Rs. 1,931 billion (+10%). An analysis of the asset mix highlights that while the consumer lending book garnered significant interest and grew by Rs. 6.6 billion (23%) on the back of significant activity in the construction and auto segment, the overall growth in gross advances still remained subdued (+3%).

Persistent focus on maintaining a robust risk management framework encompassing structured assessment models, effective pre-disbursement evaluation tools and an array of post disbursement monitoring systems has enabled MCB to effectively manage its credit risk. The Non-performing loan (NPLs) base of the Bank recorded an increase of Rs. 92 million and was reported at Rs. 51.28 billion. The captioned increase was primarily attributable to currency devaluation impact of the foreign currency denominated NPLs with no significant accretion in the number of cases.

The Bank has not taken FSV benefit in calculation of specific provision and carries an un-encumbered general provision reserve of Rs. 1.564 billion. The coverage and infection ratios of the Bank were reported at 92.2% and 9.7% respectively.

On the liabilities side, achieving growth in no-cost current account base remained a key strategic objective for the Bank. Thereby, non-remunerative deposits grew by 17% to close at Rs. 570 billion; improving their mix in the total deposits to 39% in absolute terms as at September 30, 2021. CASA mix was reported at 92% whereas the total deposits of the Bank grew by 13% as compared to an industry growth of 11% (domestic deposits) to close the period at Rs. 1,457 billion.

Return on Assets and Return on Equity reported at 1.63% and 18.86% respectively, whereas the book value per share was reported at Rs. 132.09.

MCB attracted home remittance inflows of USD 2.683 billion, during the period under review, to further consolidate its position as an active participant in SBP’s cause for improving flow of foreign reserves into the country through banking channels. The inflow under the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) initiative has stood over USD 170 million since the inception of the proposition in September 2020.

While complying with the regulatory capital requirements, the Bank’s total Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) is 19.00% against the requirement of 11.5% (including capital conservation buffer of 1.50% as reduced under the BPRD Circular Letter No. 12 of 2020). Quality of the capital is evident from Bank’s Common Equity Tier-1 (CET1) to total risk weighted assets ratio which comes to 16.08% against the requirement of 6%. Bank’s capitalization also resulted in a Leverage Ratio of 6% which is well above the regulatory limit of 3.0%. The Bank reported Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) of 247.94% and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) of 189.19% against requirement of 100%.

The Bank’s exceptional performance has also been recognized by the globally coveted Finance Asia’s Country Awards where it has declared MCB Bank as the “Best Bank in Pakistan” in 2021.

The Bank enjoys highest local credit ratings of AAA / A1+ categories for long term and short term respectively, based on PACRA notification dated June 23, 2021.

The Bank on consolidated basis is operating the 2nd largest network of more than 1,550 branches in Pakistan. The Bank remains one of the prime stocks traded in the Pakistani equity market with 2nd highest market capitalization in the industry.

LCBDDA and RUDA accompanied PM delegation at Saudi-Pak Investment Forum

A delegation from Lahore Central Business District Development Authority (LCBDDA) and Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) joined HE the Prime Minister of Pakistan for bilateral interaction at Saudi-Pak Investment Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arab, to discuss investment opportunities in housing and construction sector of Pakistan.

Prominent Pakistani and Saudi businessmen and entrepreneurs stressed for converting Pakistan-Saudi strategic partnership into strong business relations hoping Saudi-Pak Investment Forum will help achieve the goal.

Mohammad Omer, Executive Director Commercial LCBDDA Punjab lead both the authorities on this visit and accompanied HE the Prime Minister of Pakistan at Saudi-Pak Investment Forum to discuss real estate and construction sector business potential in Pakistan. The Investment Forum was also attended by senior representatives of the leading Saudi companies and entrepreneurs as well as Pakistani businessmen.

While addressing at the Saudi-Pak Investment Forum Prime Minister Imran Khan said “Saudi companies and entrepreneurs should benefit from Pakistan’s strategic location as well as the huge investment prospective in diverse areas of economy including housing and construction for mutual benefit.”

The Prime Minister emphasized on the mega development projects of Ravi City and Central Business District in Lahore and said it is the right time for Saudi investors to benefit from these projects.

Saudi Arabia is home to more than two million Pakistanis, contributing to the progress and prosperity of both countries. The visit of the Prime Minister will carry forward the positive momentum of cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

LCBDDA promises to give bespoke opportunities and build infrastructure on smart cities concept with sustainable values for the future generations to come. Whereas Ravi City is going to be Pakistan’s first multipurpose and comprehensively planned city. With unique features and an immense growth potential, the city will become a home to vast investment possibilities.

Daraz Spends Up To $50,000 Every Month in Customer Refunds

The leading ecommerce platform in Pakistan, Daraz, spends up to $50,000 monthly in customer refunds. As a strong believer of customer-first strategy, Daraz takes another step to ensure consumer satisfaction.

In the fast-paced and dynamic business landscape, customer experience is a key brand differentiator – even more so than price or product. Recognizing its importance for consumers and businesses alike, the ecommerce giant has taken multiple initiatives, such as building a quick delivery mechanism and offering numerous payment options.

Ahmar Zohaib Syed, Chief Customer Officer, Daraz, said, “At Daraz, customer experience does not reside with CS department only but we continue to cultivate the culture that every department at Daraz puts their best to ensure customer satisfaction. We live by the philosophy stated by Bill Gates once ‘Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.’ We ensure that the source is tapped, issue is understood and a solution is laid out that guarantees that no other customer has to face the same issue again.”

The brand’s commitment towards providing positive customer and seller experience is what has resulted in its sustained growth. Today, the company’s monthly user base of 15 million contains plenty of loyal brand advocates. According to a research conducted, 86% of online shoppers say customer experience is a top priority for them and to live up to our brand promise of customer commitment, Daraz has a strong purchase protection policy as well as post-purchase assistance to build a loyal customer base.

Although the company offers specialized training for sellers through Daraz University, sometimes it is possible that buyers may not be happy with what they have purchased online. To curb this problem, Daraz collaborates with its sellers to improve performance based on the defined metrics, as well as it commits and guarantees its customers a resolution at the earliest.

On top of that, Daraz has a seamless return policy. The platform takes ownership to resolve customers’ complaints, for which reason Daraz spends $50,000 monthly in customer refunds to ensure the customer is satisfied immediately based on metrics. However, to ensure that sellers do not repeat the same mistakes, the ecommerce brand has strict accountability checks in place for which actions are taken separately.

Moreover, at a time where the COVID-19 pandemic has surged online purchases, it is pertinent that shoppers trust the online marketplace. With 11.11 just around the corner, Daraz is constantly monitoring sellers to ensure quality standards are met in terms of return rate, instant message response rate and ship on time metrics. Simultaneously, the brand recognizes the customer return experience as a crucial part of the ecommerce journey, which is why it’s investing heavily to ensure the customers returns process from initiation to refund processes is as smooth as possible.

By keeping customers central to the business, especially during months when orders see a growth of 3X, Daraz aims to catapult the growth of ecommerce industry by making the online marketplace a trustable, safe and accessible space.

Narrowing the audit expectation gap is essential for a resilient global financial reporting ecosystem

New report provides recommendations for regulators, standard setters and auditors in tackling fraud and addressing going concern issues

The audit expectation gap – what users expect from the auditor and the financial statement audit versus the reality of what an audit is – needs to be narrowed for the benefit of the public interest, says a new report issued by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and the Canadian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB).

A holistic approach is especially needed to narrow the expectation gap related to fraud and going concern, where all stakeholders will need to play vital roles in meaningful change.

With audit quality a concern in many countries, the report – Closing the expectation gap in audit – the way forward on fraud and going concern: A multi-stakeholder approach offers recommendations based on research with key players of the financial reporting ecosystem. These include financial statement preparers, auditors, regulators, boards and audit committees, and investors.

The research found that factors contributing to the expectation disparity include gaps in knowledge, performance and the evolution of audit.

To tackle fraud, a main recommendation is to encourage the involvement of forensic specialists in risk assessment where a high risk is identified, but auditors should still apply their professional judgement when determining how to respond to identified fraud risks. Participants noted that mandating the involvement of forensic specialists may widen the expectation gap, as this could lead to a ‘box-ticking’ approach.

The report concludes that it is not necessary to have a ‘suspicious mindset’ for enhanced fraud identification when planning and performing the audit; instead, ACCA, CA ANZ, AASB and CPA Canada suggest that the IAASB and national standard setters consider areas where the auditing standards could be enhanced to guide audit practitioners in the application of professional scepticism.

For going concern, a main recommendation is that the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) should explore supplementing the current binary approach to disclosing material uncertainty on going concern with additional going concern disclosures.

Maggie McGhee, executive director of strategy and governance at ACCA said: ‘Audit needs to evolve if it is to be trusted and meet demands of public interest. Fraud and going concern were top of the agenda for our roundtable participants, but also gaps around knowledge and the need for everyone in the financial reporting ecosystem to understand each other’s role. It is an interconnected system on which all players rely.’

Simon Grant Group Executive, Advocacy and International, CA ANZ added: ‘Our aim with this report is to support constructive change towards the narrowing of the expectation gap in audit. And that’s because it has a vital part to play in strong and resilient capital markets, especially with regards to instilling trust for investors.’

Bob Bosshard Chair, Canadian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board said: ‘As a standard-setter, we are an important part of the global financial reporting ecosystem. We are encouraged by the report’s recommendations, including ensuring the international standards on auditing are clear, supporting consistent application by practitioners. The financial statement audit and broader financial reporting are under intense scrutiny and the recommendations are therefore particularly timely given ongoing proposals for audit reform globally.’

Charles-Antoine St-Jean, president and CEO, CPA Canada, noted: “Protecting the public interest is core to our profession and performing high-quality audits builds public trust and confidence in the capital markets and the economy. Ensuring the long-term resilience of the audit profession cannot be done in isolation. It is vital that discussions occur within the full financial ecosystem to ensure that auditing practices, skills and standards evolve as required to meet the needs of an increasingly complex operating environment.’

The report can be downloaded here: Closing the expectation gap in audit: the way forward on fraud and going concern: a multi-stakeholder approach | ACCA Global

Shell Pakistan announces financial results for Q3 2021

The Board of Directors of Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) announced the third quarter results for the company on 21st October. The company posted a profit after tax of PKR 296 million compared to the profit of PKR 1,812 million made in the same period last year.

The nine months 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 successfully launched Shell Recharge, an Electric-Vehicle Charging Station in Karachi, in collaboration with K-Electric Limited, aiming to lead the energy transition and provide the best-in-class customer value proposition in Pakistan. The Lubricants business is expanding its product offering through the diesel engine oil segment, which will help the company grow further. In collaboration with HANDS (Health and Nutrition Development Society), the company organized a Covid-19 vaccination drive through 15 mobile vaccination units in Karachi, Lahore and Multan with the aim to contribute to the Governments efforts and safeguard health and safety of the community. 12,500 individuals were vaccinated that also included community members around fuel stations and terminals.

The organisation continues to be at the forefront of the industry in Pakistan in ensuring safe operations across the business and focuses on inculcating a culture of safety through workshops and dialogue with staff, business partners, and industry partners.

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.

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