HBL and MCB Bank introduce ‘Roshan Raho’ in Riyadh
Leading Pakistani Banks HBL & MCB Bank partnered with the Pakistani Consulate (Riyadh, KSA) to launch their upcoming Roshan Digital Account (RDA) drive, ‘Roshan Raho’ at the Pakistani Consulate’s Pakistan Day event. The ‘Roshan Raho’ drive in Riyadh and Jeddah was to create further awareness of State Bank of Pakistan’s Roshan Digital Account initiative. This initiative allows non-resident Pakistanis to open bank accounts digitally from abroad for investment in Pakistan and take advantage of the saving schemes and investment opportunities in the country.
During the event, guests were briefed on investment opportunities in Pakistan and the importance of Roshan Digital Accounts, particularly with respect to the economic contributions of the Pakistani diaspora to the progress and prosperity of their homeland. Participants were also apprised on HBL and MCB Bank’s ‘Roshan Raho’ drive to propagate further awareness of the Roshan Digital Account and its associated services, i.e. Roshan Apni Car auto financing and Roshan Apna Ghar home financing amongst others, to the Pakistani community in the KSA.
The event was graced by His Excellency Ameer Khurram Rathore, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Tipu Usman, Deputy Head of Mission (DHM). The attendees were also virtually addressed by Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO – HBL and Shoaib Mumtaz, President & CEO of MCB Bank. Also in attendance were members of Pakistani professional communities, members of the senior management teams of both Banks, representatives of the Pakistani embassy, members of the Pakistani diaspora and other key dignitaries.
Muhammad Aurangzeb, President & CEO – HBL said: “HBL is honoured to be associated with the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) initiative. Over the course of the last one and a half year, we have been an active partner and a leading enabler in the evolution of the RDA account as it moved from being investment-oriented to now an integral part of lifestyle banking for overseas Pakistani’s. Clients can now make investments, contribute to charities, purchase a car or a house using their RDA accounts. HBL is committed to support the vision of the State Bank of Pakistan, to reach out to overseas Pakistanis and offer them the best of the products and services, as we continue to invest in Pakistan’s economic growth.”
Shoaib Mumtaz, President & CEO of MCB Bank also said on the occasion, “The Pakistani diaspora has always been an invaluable asset for Pakistan and their contributions to our economy by way of remittances can never be over appreciated. It is due to their wholehearted participation in the RDA initiative, that more than US$ 3.7 billion has been remitted to Pakistan through Roshan Digital Accounts today. MCB Bank looks forward to working closely with Pakistani communities abroad to facilitate even greater access to innovative financial services and opportunities of investment in Pakistan.”
Shell Pakistan inaugurates an integrated retail outlet on M9 Motorway
Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) inaugurated its 2nd ‘Integrated Retail Outlet’ (IRO) in Karachi, located strategically on M9 Motorway that connects the largest port city to the rest of the country. The new retail site, ‘SPL Oasis’ brings in the destination concept of retailing in Pakistan, established on a motorway, offering a wide range of facilities to customers. The first IRO Shell Askari Service Station in Karachi is located near Dalmia.
Besides catering to the fuelling needs of inter-city travellers, through state-of-the-art fuelling operations, the retail outlet fulfils other on-the-go needs of consumers. Travellers can take a comfort break from their journey at this destination, which offers a mosque and separate prayer areas for men and women, international standard and hygienically maintained restrooms for males, females, and differently abled individuals, along with a dedicated baby changing facility. Travellers can conveniently eat a meal together; the ecosystem offers a range of options – KFC – with world-class Quick Service Restaurant and a Drive-Thru facility, a Shell Select Store selling high quality food and consumer products, and a ‘Greeno’ kiosk offering fresh juices and beverages. The facility also offers Oil Change, Tyre Care and Car Wash, where commuters can prepare their vehicles before getting on the road again.
To energise the growing number of electric vehicles in the metropolis, Shell Recharge, an electric vehicle charging facility has been set up at ‘SPL Oasis’ in collaboration with K-Electric, being the first publicly available charging service on the motorways in Sindh. The retail outlet also houses 50KW Solar Energy System facilitated by K-Solar with the aim to initiate cleaner energy sources.
Chief Executive & Managing Director of Shell Pakistan Limited, Waqar Siddiqui stated, ‘The Government of Pakistan is working towards promoting tourism in the country which will help build a positive image for the country and help generate income for our economy. Shell Pakistan is steadfast in our mission to serve the nation and its people. We are eager to contribute to this ambition and are happy to open around the clock retail ecosystem on M9 motorway, a key location in the country, that will serve travellers and tourists.’
Chief Executive Officer of KFC Pakistan, Raza Pirbhai quoted ‘We are pleased to partner with Shell for its 2nd Integrated Retail Outlet on M9 Motorway. This new opening is part of KFC’s aggressive expansion plan to increase the retail footprint while providing fresh, quality meals to customers with ease of access while travelling across the main arteries of Pakistan. KFC’s partnership with fuel stations is pivotal for both businesses as it not only provides great convenience to customers but also makes fuel stations a one-stop shop for all their needs while on the go.’
Naz Khan, Chief Strategy Officer at K-Electric commented ‘At KE, sustainability lies at the heart of our business philosophy. Over the years, the company has been leading a series of initiatives that are in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which continue to play a significant role in uplifting the society and making Pakistan’s energy future cleaner and greener. While the Government of Pakistan remains committed to increasing the use of electric vehicles as part of its strategy to combat the climate change, we are glad that K-Electric and Shell have collaborated to strategically expand the EV charging network and play an active part in creating an enabling environment for the mass adoption of this technology.’
Pakistan Cables urban forest picks up the 9th FPCCI Achievement Award
Pakistan Cables Urban Forest was awarded the 9th FPCCI Achievement Award 2022 at a colorful ceremony held in Karachi. Organized by the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries annually, the award was conferred by the Honorable President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi to Mr. Waqas Mahmood, Chief Financial Officer Pakistan Cables Ltd. present on the occasion.
Pakistan Cables Urban Forest is home to over 50,000 trees and is the first and largest Miyawaki based Urban Forest on an industrial estate.
The 9th FPCCI Achievement Award 2022 is the Company’s third consecutive win for setting benchmark practices and inspiring action in the area of climate change.
CBD Punjab gets approval of 750 ft height for Lahore prime
Lahore Central Business District Development Authority (LCBDDA) also known as Central Business District Punjab (CBD Punjab) gets another feather in its cap by getting an approval of 750 ft height for ‘Lahore Prime’ from Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Getting the approval of an iconic height is a milestone and history making achievement of the province of Punjab.
Lahore Prime comprises of twelve mixed commercial plots and out of these, five plots were auctioned in September 2021 with the approval of 500 ft height. An advanced aeronautical study was conducted by CAA with the support of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). In this advance level study, all the possibilities and constraints were deeply researched and analyzed for practical implementation of skyscrapers to be built in CBD Punjab. CAA has ensured the protocols of safe flight operations while giving the provision for 750 ft construction height.
Imran Amin – CEO LCBDDA said that “Approval of 750 ft height is the epitome of grandeur in real estate and rather extraordinary in the construction sector. CBD Punjab has come another step closer to the dream of our honorable Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan of giving Pakistan its first business district. I would like to show my profound gratitude to the management of CAA and PAF for providing their professional support and taking swift action on the request of CBD Punjab for the 750 ft height provision”.
The provision of 750 ft is a gateway to architectural masterpieces and iconic buildings. Business community will avail all the pros of the extra height provision like more sellable area for commercial purpose, construction advancement and provision of helipad. Lahore Prime’s five mixed commercial plots were auctioned on the FAR 1:18-1:24 with the proposed approved height of 500 ft. Now the height is increased to 750 ft so the bidders would have to buy extra height of the auctioned plots and will be part of history in reforming the skyline of Lahore.
Every step of CBD Punjab is strengthening the oath of the authority to work for the betterment and economic development of Pakistan. The vigorous of approach of CBD Punjab has washed out all the myths and fears of economic instability and brushed up the image of Pakistan on world economic map.
Muhammad Afaq Khan appointed as new President of MCB Islamic Bank
Muhammad Afaq Khan has been appointed as the new President of MCB Islamic Bank Limited by the Board of Directors of the Bank. Mr. Raza Mansha, Chairman of the Board of MCB Islamic Bank Ltd., welcomed Mr. Afaq Khan as its new President and said that this marks a new beginning in MCB Islamic Bank’s business strategy and efforts towards potential market leadership. Islamic banking stands to become the preferred way of banking in Pakistan and we see MCB Islamic Bank Ltd becoming a major service provider under the leadership of Mr. Afaq Khan.
Mr. Afaq Khan brings with him over thirty years of experience as a successful Islamic Banking professional. He was the Chairman of Al Rajhi Investment and Banking Corporation (Malaysia) and also served as Group CEO of Islamic Banking, Standard Chartered Bank (Saadiq). He was part of the senior management in HSBC Group that established Islamic Banking. He also served as Global Head of Asset Finance and Advisory of HSBC Amanah. He has advised multiple successful ventures in Islamic banking and has also won several Islamic Banking Awards.
Red Communication Arts – celebrated on the global stage
RED Communication Arts has been recognized for its game-changing creativity and forward-thinking leadership with two awards at the Marketing 2.0 Conference. The Agency has secured the Best Companies Award and its CEO and Founder Sabene Saigol has received the Outstanding Leadership Award.
The Marketing 2.0 Conference spotlights the latest innovations and breakthroughs in the marketing and advertising industry. For the category “Best Companies Award,” Marketing 2.0 nominated RED Communication Arts for their outstanding creativity, accomplishments and endorsements from clients and peers. For the “Outstanding Leadership Award” Marketing 2.0 chose Sabene Saigol for her business acumen, creative flair and efforts to pave a new path for the future of advertising in Pakistan.
An affiliate of Publicis Groupe, RED Communication Arts with Sabene Saigol at the helm, has been delivering disruptive creative solutions to the industry for over 26 years. Having acquired numerous awards over the years, RED Communication Arts remains at the forefront of ground-breaking advertising in Pakistan.
Sabene Saigol, CEO and Founder of RED Communication Arts says, “Today we remain committed as ever to the brand and the belief that: there is not a brand problem that creativity cannot solve, because the problem is always finite but the solution is only limited by our creativity.”
NdcTech becomes a major contender in Temenos IT Services PEAK Matrix Assessment 2022
Leading global research firm, Everest Group®, has recognized NdcTech, an award-winning partner of Temenos, as a major contender in its Temenos IT Services PEAK Matrix® Assessment 2022. NdcTech is a leading service provider in the banking sector and has been a long-standing partner of Temenos for more than 20 years.
The PEAK Matrix® evaluates service providers on the dimensions of Market Impact, Vision & Capability. It also considers other relevant factors like competitive landscape, strengths, weaknesses and Temenos service capabilities. Based on these factors and the exceptional performance in the global market, NdcTech has been recognized as a Major Contender
The report highlights the performance, role, and significance of NdcTech and other important strategic partners of Temenos who have played a vital role in carrying out large-scale digital transformations of Banks across the globe and have been a front runner in delivering maximum value to their clients.
NdcTech’s 20+ years of legacy of providing unmatched transformational services to the banking sector, skilled expertise on Temenos product stack, in depth knowledge of accelerated methodologies and tools, compliance to the central bank’s regulatory requirements, and focus on customer-centricity have been the key drivers towards achieving this recognition.
Ammara Masood, CEO & President, NdcTech shared her thoughts on this achievement: “This is a proud moment for everyone at NdcTech. This recognition is a testament to NdcTech’s market impact globally and ability to deliver successfully. Established 22 years ago, we started with the vision to build Banks of the future by harnessing the power of technology. This recognition is an incredible honor for us and will continue to give us the positive momentum going forward.”
Artisan links collaborates with Chloe, others
- A Pakistani brand empowering hundreds of Afghani women by exhibiting their artistic skills
Artisan Links is a socially responsible, fair trade business featuring products that contribute to a sustainable future. It is the only guaranteed member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) in Pakistan, each product is intricately designed by their team of women-only artisans, comprising of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and local artisans existing in the country. Artisan Links has taken this craft global by collaborating with leading fashion house – Chloé, among others.
Since its inception in Pakistan, Artisan Links motto has been to empower women in marginalized communities by helping them gain economic security and encouraging them to exploit their artistic expertise. By translating traditional embroidery techniques into contemporary designs, they have developed exquisite hand embroidered apparel, home furnishings, gifts, accessories and more. Artisan Links believes in the importance of cultural preservation, hence keeping alive the intricate embroidery techniques – Kandahari, Pukta-Dozi, Tarshumar, Zangeera-Dozi and Graph-Dozi, in their pieces.
Artisan Links remains the only organization that continues to work with Afghan women both in Pakistan and border regions of Afghanistan since the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. The organization firmly believes in giving the impacted women work instead of one-off donations in order to provide them with continued financial independence and support.
“We are committed to making sure that we train, help in product development and market products made by these incredible women, playing a humble part in providing an income source for women who in most cases are the only source of income for their family. It is an honour for our work to be seen across some of the world’s most coveted runways and shelves.” stated Tahira Afridi Director of Artisan Links on the issue.
Artisan Links is an official social enterprise partner for MADE51, a global brand created by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, which connects refugee artisans with local social enterprises to design, make and market home décor and accessories across the world. Chloé – a French luxury brand known for ethical craftsmanship and free-spirited femininity, is engaging refugee women to produce components that are incorporated into their products. Starting with their ‘22 Spring/Summer collection, the Chloé x MADE51 collaboration is incorporating craftsmanship of Afghan refugee women into Chloé’s accessories range, including their iconic Marcie and Woodie handbags.
This collaboration is a massive feat that put the artistic talents of these women to be showcased to the world and is a great stepping stone in welcoming further collaborations from across the world. Artisan Links has provided employment, recognition and financial stability to the talented Afghani women, putting them on the map in hopes of a better future for them.
Their products have also been exhibited at the various museum shops like the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Western Australian Museum, Queensland Museum, Victoria Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Field Museum stores, Palmer Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Hammond Museum and British Museum. Before the pandemic Artisan Links were exhibiting at NEW York International Gift show, Dallas Gift Show, Import Shop Berlin, Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. Through MADE51 these products have been showcased at Ambiente, Frankfurt and Maison de Objet as well.
Jazz shines at Effie awards Pakistan 2022 with 5 awards
Pakistan’s leading digital operator Jazz has won five awards at the Effie Awards Pakistan 2022 held in Karachi.
The company received three silver awards under the following categories: ‘Corporate Reputation’ category for its ‘Super Nahi Tou 4G Nahi’ campaigns showcasing the brand’s impact on creating an inclusive digital ecosystem, ‘Positive Change: Social Good – Brands (Services)’ category for its women’s day campaign, and ‘Seasonal Marketing (Services)’ category for its ‘Creating a Digital Pakistan’ campaign.
Jazz also bagged two bronze awards under the ‘Marketing Disruptors’ and ‘Topical Marketing’ categories for its drive-in cinema initiative.
“Being recognized for our unique marketing approach to build trust and inspire change feels tremendously special. This is an endorsement of the hard work our teams and partners put in to drive growth and create a brand legacy,” said Jazz CCO Asif Aziz.
These accolades are a demonstration of Jazz’s continued focus on marketing communications that is social, rooted in a collective purpose and is able to change culture. This is in line with its business and sustainability objectives of driving digital and financial inclusion, especially for women.
Fertilizer black marketing upsets wheat production target: 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 wheat production target has failed due to an unprecedented increase in the price of fertilizer and its black marketing.
The wheat production target has been missed by over two million tonnes stoking fears regarding food security.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that wheat should be imported without delay otherwise profiteers will find an opportunity to skin masses.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the production target of wheat was set at 28.9 million tonnes but the country could only achieve 26.8 million tonnes.
The area under wheat was estimated at 9.2 million hectares, but farmers planted wheat on 8.99 million hectares, while weather conditions also reduced its production.
Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world and it is negotiating with India for the purchase of wheat but we are wasting our time which will provide another opportunity to profiteers and hoarders.
If wheat is imported from India, we will have to pay a lower price while Pakistan will also be able to keep the local prices of potatoes, tomatoes, dates and other commodities stable by exporting additional quantities to India which will save the farmers from losses, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that peace cannot be achieved unless Pakistan and India become more dependent on each other.
He noted that the economy and people are being affected by the increased political temperature and the process of planning a budget is also facing difficulties.
The effects of violating the agreement reached with the IMF are becoming visible as a breach of the agreement with the lender has become a major obstacle in the way of budget making.
This year, Pakistan’s external financing needs are $30.4 billion, which will reach $35 billion next year which will be more than 10 percent of GDP.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that unless the income tax is levied as much as the salaried class pays, the country can never be prosperous nor can it get rid of debts. For this, bringing the agricultural tax under the central government is of fundamental importance.
SWVL completes business combination with Queen’s Gambit growth Capital
Swvl Inc, a global provider of transformative tech-enabled mass transit solutions, announced the completion of its previously announced business combination with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, the first special purpose acquisition company founded and led entirely by women (Queen’s Gambit) (NASDAQ: GMBT) following an extraordinary general meeting of Queen’s Gambit’s shareholders (the “Shareholders’ Meeting”) held on March 30, 2022.
The combined company has changed its name to Swvl Holdings Corp. The Class A ordinary shares and warrants of the combined company will continue to trade on NASDAQ under the ticker symbols “GMBT” and “GMBTW”, respectively, through today. Tomorrow, April 1, 2022, Swvl Holdings Corp’s Class A ordinary shares and warrants are expected to commence trading on NASDAQ under the ticker symbols “SWVL” and “SWVLW”, respectively.
Swvl received gross proceeds from the transaction of approximately $164.6 million from its upsized, fully committed $111.5 million PIPE and the receipt of approximately $53.1 million of cash from Queen’s Gambit’s trust account net of redemptions. In addition, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain closing conditions, after the closing of the business combination Swvl will have access to additional capital via an additional PIPE commitment of $10.0 million, which it expects to close in the second quarter of 2022, and a $471.9 million equity financing facility.
Mostafa Kandil, Swvl Founder and CEO, said, “Completing our business combination with Queen’s Gambit is a tremendous milestone for Swvl and for sustainable mass transit globally. Mobility and the empowerment that comes with it should be a fundamental right for all. As a public company, we plan to build on Swvl’s exponential growth to date and proprietary tech-enabled platform, ensuring that underserved populations have access to solutions that are safe, convenient and affordable. In turn, we will leverage our best-in-class team, established partnerships and proprietary tech stack with differentiated solutions.”
Victoria Grace, Founder and CEO of Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital and Board Member of Swvl Holdings Corp, said, “We have been proud to partner with Swvl, and are very excited to continue our relationship after the closing of this momentous business combination. Since announcing our merger last year, Swvl has flawlessly executed on its business plan. During such time it has strategically expanded its market-leading presence in existing geographies across Africa and Asia, while expanding into other high growth locations across Europe and Latin America through a combination of organic launches and strategic M&A. With an established leadership position in key emerging markets and market presence across more than 100 cities in over 20 countries on four continents, we believe Swvl will continue to capitalize on the truly global $1 trillion mass transit market opportunity with massive growth at scale.”
Youssef Salem, Swvl CFO, said, “On behalf of the entire Swvl organization, we would like to thank our riders, captains, colleagues, investors and business partners for their trust and partnership. With clear strategic direction, a proven execution track record and a demonstrated business model, Swvl is poised to take the next step in its historic evolution. With our public currency and access to substantial pools of capital, we plan to build on our recent expansions into Europe and Latin America, major acquisitions of controlling interests in Shotl, door2door and Viapool, and investments in the UK and Mexico, and execute further strategic initiatives creating compelling value for investors and all stakeholders alike.”
Appointment of Gbenga Oyebode
Swvl Holdings Corp has selected Gbenga Oyebode to serve as a Class I director on Swvl Holding Corp’s Board of Directors and as a member of the audit committee.
Gbenga Oyebode, age 62, is the co-founder and former chairman of Aluko & Oyebode, one of the largest law firms in Nigeria. Mr. Oyebode currently serves on the boards of Nestlé Nigeria Plc, Lafarge Africa Plc, Socfinaf SA, Okomu Oil Palm Company and PZ Cussons Nigeria PLC. In addition, Mr. Oyebode embodies a spirit of philanthropy through his service as the chairman of Teach for Nigeria, director of Teach for All and as a member of the Global Advisory Council of the African Leadership Academy. Mr. Oyebode also sits on the boards of Jazz at the Lincoln Center, the African Philanthropy Forum, Carnegie Hall and the Ford Foundation. Mr. Oyebode has previously served on the boards of Access Bank Plc and MTN Nigeria Plc.
Mr. Oyebode holds bachelor of laws degrees from the University of Ife and the Nigerian Law School and a master of laws degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds one of Nigeria’s highest honors, the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and is a recipient of the Belgian royal honor of Knight of the Order of Leopold.
Hands holds ‘Thaam Lou Haath Khushiyon Ka’
HANDS Pakistan hosted a press conference at its state-of-the-art head office in Karachi to launch its Ramazan DVC 2022 Campaign, “Thaam Lou Haath Khushiyon Ka.” The event was widely attended by national and international media, public figures, HANDS supporters, well-wishers, and employees.
Speaking on the occasion, HANDS Chief Executive, Dr Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed, shared “HANDS Pakistan has been working selflessly for the last 42 years. All this has been possible because of the grace of Almighty and the efforts of our donors, partners, and supporters. Our mission is to provide “quality of life” to millions of striving communities across Pakistan. We have provided support throughout the COVID pandemic, and conducted disaster management and community management programmes.”
While talking to media, HANDS founding chairman, Prof. A. G. Billoo (SI), shared “HANDS has evolved as one of the largest non-profit organizations in Pakistan with a network of branches covering 35 major cities in Pakistan, employing directly or in-directly a workforce of 10,505. Spending PKR 2.5 billion every year in uplifting communities, we have benefitted almost six million underprivileged residents from 25,000 villages in 57 districts.”
HANDS chairman, Dr. Saeed Ismail, said “With the support of our partners and donors, we tend to provide 25,000 model communities to attain Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Our Shariah compliance is monitored and audited by Alhamd Shariah Advisory Services. You can also become a reason behind someone’s smile.”
Mian Zahid stresses on need to import wheat from India
Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance and Former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said wheat import is the cheapest option for Pakistan to tackle the shortage of staples in Pakistan.
Politics should not be preferred over food security otherwise Pakistan will have to pay a heavy price, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Russia and Ukraine were behind 30 percent wheat exports but now their supply chain has been disrupted and production going down because of war.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that now India is banking on the opportunity to get space in the global wheat market while it is also eying the World Food Program which purchases wheat from Ukraine to feed 125 million hungry people.
The business leader said that India is getting a bumper crop of wheat for half a decade, their farmers are happy and their storage facilities are full while in Pakistan agriculture and the standard of living of farmers is declining.
Pakistan is forced to import food through borrowed dollars due to substandard urea, counterfeit pesticides and herbicides, low-quality seed and cost of water as well as energy.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Bangladesh, UAE and Sri Lanka are already buying wheat from India while India has stepped into Yemen, Afghanistan, Qatar and Indonesian markets.
India is also in talks with Egypt, China, Turkey, Sudan, Bosnia, Nigeria, Oman, South Africa and Iran.
The land and other things are similar in Indian and Pakistani Punjab but their production is poles apart while our policymakers have never thought over the stark difference in agricultural output.
Engro Energy hosts the Pakistan Energy Symposium: ushering the future of energy
Engro Energy Limited in collaboration with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), Ministry of Energy, Government of Sindh, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI), and Corporate Pakistan Group held ‘Pakistan Energy Symposium’ at a local hotel.
The conference brought together relevant stakeholders from public sector policymakers, regulatory bodies, private sector stakeholders and industry experts to discuss the opportunities and challenges for market reforms in Pakistan with a major focus on creating a comprehensive strategy for the future of energy industry in the country. Experts at the symposium discussed the regulatory, commercial, and technical aspects of transitioning towards a liberalized and a greener energy market in Pakistan.
Addressing the symposium, CEO of Engro Energy, Ahsan Zafar Syed said, “The energy industry is the backbone of any developed economy and Pakistan is now ready to move into a competitive energy ecosystem. Transitioning from a single-buyer market to a multi-buyer system can pave the way for an efficient customer-centric energy market. It will also stimulate private infrastructure investments; lead to economic growth; give consumers access to reliable and economical power; ease pressure on electricity prices and create conditions for fair allocation of risks.”
Elaborating on Engro Energy’s initiatives in the renewable energy sector, Ahsan commented: “In line with the government’s vision of moving towards 60% green energy solutions; Engro Energy is also committing itself to expand in the renewable energy space. Our project in Jhimpir, Sindh will help solve the pressing issue of powering our industries at Port Qasim through competitive and green energy solutions. As we move ahead, Engro Energy will continue to play a part for a better and prosperous energy sector, and we welcome the efforts of both Federal and Provincial government including the regulator – NEPRA in forwarding this cause for the benefit of Pakistan”
In his opening remarks, Chairman NEPRA Tauseef H Farooqi talked about the initiatives he had taken at the regulatory authority. Talking about the CTBCM, Mr Farooqi said that he had spent a lot of time on this. “CTBCM is like creating a motorway…we have a successful model of the telecom industry and we are trying to replicate that… we are giving a choice to consumers,” he said.
“What do we want to achieve: move from the multi-seller single buyer model to multi-seller multi buyer model. Why is this important? Investors and businessmen are facing challenges which we believe they will be able to overcome with the multi-seller multi buyer model. We are liberating the market. You can do the buying and selling of your own electricity. We are trying to deregulate the market,” he added.
The conference was attended by Muhammad Azfar Ahsan, Minister of State and Chairman, Board of Investment (BOI); Ghias Khan, President, Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI); Muhammad Aurangzeb, Chairman, Pakistan Business Council (PBC); Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Chairperson, Pakistan Stock Exchange & Former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan; and, Rafique Ahmed Shaikh, Member Sindh, NEPRA amongst other key dignitaries.
The dialogue focused primarily on the planning initiatives & policy interventions, its role in market reforms, the role of technology in the multi-buyer market, private sector participation and customer-centric focus on the deployment of competitive market system in the country. Two separate panel discussions on “Building Pathways for Market Liberalization” and “Unlocking the True Potential of Power Market Players” were also part of the symposium.
Ministry of Railways and Pakistan Railways signs MoU with Sehat Kahani
* Collaboration will provide quality and accessible health care to 70,000 workers and millions of passengers
Sehat Kahani, Pakistan’s leading digital healthcare platform, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Railways, Government of Pakistan and Pakistan Railways.
The signing ceremony was graced by the honorable Secretary/Chairman Pakistan Railways, Government of Pakistan, Mr. Khalid Gardezi.
Under the MOU, Sehat Kahani will provide round the clock access to qualified healthcare professionals through its network of 7,000+ expert doctors to 70,000 plus current and 150,000 retired employees of Pakistan Railways, along with their families.
Under the partnership, Sehat Kahani would also create specialized packages for Pakistan Railways’ passengers through “On The Go” clinics at all major railway stations of Pakistan where Pakistan Railways will provide on ground infrastructure level support, facilitation in staff training, and creating visibility for Sehat Kahani’s spectrum of digital health services among its employees as well as beneficiaries.
This MOU will mark the first of its kind public private partnership between the Ministry of Railways/Pakistan Railways and Sehat Kahani that will have long term impact on the health and wellbeing of millions of travelers, and Pakistan Railways workers.
The MOU signing ceremony was attended by the dignitaries of Sehat Kahani, Ministry of Railways and Pakistan Railways. The MOU was signed between Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram, CEO Sehat Kahani and Mr. Imran Hayat Khan, Director General Operations, Ministry of Railways
Dr. Sara Saeed Khurram, on this prestigious occasion said “We are extremely humbled and feel privileged to partner with an institution that has always been serving the nation. We look forward to providing the best of services to the employees and travelers of Pakistan Railways and will hope to expand this collaboration over the years.”
Mr. Imran Hayat Khan said that this initiative will not only help us provide quality care to our employee base and passenger but will also help us understand their health issues and do long term strategic planning for their health and wellbeing.
Gracing the occasion .Mr. Khalid Gardezi said that using technology and innovation is extremely needed to fill the gap of access to healthcare to our employees as well as millions of passengers to trust our services. We wish that this collaboration goes a long way to benefit our country and its country men.
Sehat Kahani’s resolve in democratizing health care for all in Pakistan using a network of qualified doctors and innovative technology will be strengthen by this collaboration.
Inauguration ceremony of Bahria University H-11 campus held at Islamabad
Inauguration ceremony of state of the art Campus of Bahria University was held at H-11 Islamabad. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi NI(M) S Bt was the Chief Guest at the ceremony.
Vice Admiral (R) Kaleem Shaukat HI (M) Rector Bahria University, Engineer Waheed Ahmed Mangi Director General Planning & Development Higher Education Commission, Rear Admiral Tariq Mahmood SI (M) DG Maritime Technology Complex, Engineer Nasir Mehmood Khan Secretary/ Registrar Pakistan Engineering Council, Ex Rectors of Bahria University, senior serving and retired Naval and Civil Officers and Dean & Faculty Members Bahria School of Engineering and Applied Sciences were also present on this auspicious occasion.
During the Welcome Address, Rector Bahria University Vice Admiral (R) Kaleem Shaukat HI (M) apprised the audience that BU’s H-11 Campus has been dedicated for faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He also informed that the campus covers an area of 4 acres which comprises of two Academic Blocks, Girls Hostel with accommodation capacity of around 184 female students, 22 fully equipped Lecture Halls, 21 Labs with modern hardware and software tools, well- furnished Faculty Offices and a central two-floor Library. Moreover, some other allied facilities such as the Auditorium, Sick Bay, Conference Room, Student Support Centre, Administration Offices, separate male and female Common Rooms, Faculty and Students Cafes, Day Care Centre are also available. Separate courts for Basketball, Futsal, Badminton and Ladies Gym are also functional in the newly built H-11 Campus. Rector Bahria University also expressed his gratitude towards Government of Pakistan and HEC for ensuring the availability of funds for establishment of new BU Campus.
Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi NI (M) S Bt lauded the efforts of Bahria University for laying the foundation of a separate BU Campus for School of Engineering and Applied Sciences which is another accomplished milestone in the history of BU. The Admiral emphasized that it is the need of the hour to not only equip our young generation with the latest information and technology but also to prepare them to think analytically, creatively and critically in order to keep pace with the contemporary world. Chief of the Naval Staff further highlighted that there is a great deal of learning from Chinese Universities in terms of conducting research, split-degree programs and pattern of study sessions at BU. He emphasized that Bahria University faculty needs to inculcate in students, the quest of making tangible contributions in practical field to make Pakistan a success.
This year, Bahria University has completed 22 years of educational excellence with its multi-purpose campuses at Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Constituent Units with a strength of over 19000+ students. Establishment and commencement of H -11 Campus is an obvious step towards providing quality education and speaks high of the hard work and dedication of management and faculty members of Bahria University.
Shareholders of Soneri Bank approve 2021 annual results
The annual audited financial statements of Soneri Bank Limited for the year ended 31 December 2021 were approved by the shareholders of the Bank in their 30th AGM held in Lahore and through video link via Zoom on Friday, 25 March 2022. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Alauddin Feerasta, Chairman of the Board, with Mr. Muhtashim Ahmad Ashai, President and Chief Executive Officer and other members of the Board of Directors also in attendance.
The Bank posted profit before tax (PBT) of Rs. 5,149 million and profit after tax (PAT) of Rs. 2,854 million in the year 2021, as compared to Rs. 4,035 million and Rs. 2,400 million respectively in 2020, reflecting an impressive growth of 27.62 percent and 18.91 percent respectively. Earnings per share (EPS) for the year was reported at Rs. 2.59 per share for the current year, as compared to Rs. 2.18 for the comparative prior year. During the meeting, the shareholders approved the final cash dividend for the year ended 31 December 2021 @ 15.00 percent i.e. Rs. 1.50 per share, as recommended earlier by the Board of Directors.
Briefing the shareholders on the financial results, the President and CEO mentioned that the impact of NIM compression was countered through volumetric increase on the balance sheet, with total assets remaining well above the half a trillion mark over the course of the year. The Bank’s total revenue for the year was reported at Rs. 15,228 million, improving by 5.29 percent against Rs. 14,463 million reported for the last year. Growth in expenses was restricted at 12.90 percent as compared to Press Release the prior year, with Non-markup expenses reported at Rs. 10,191 million for the year ended 31 December 2021.
The Bank’s period end deposits, after witnessing a decline at June 2021 end, started picking up thereafter, and crossed the Rs. 400 Billion mark at the year end. An overall increase of Rs. 57,538 million or 16.65 percent was witnessed against the year-end 2020 position, with closing deposits reported at Rs. 403,037 million at 31 December 2021. The period end CASA mix improved to 69.80 percent as against 68.65 percent on 31 December 2020 with total CASA improving to Rs. 281,311 million from Rs. 237,198 million at the end of 2020.
The Bank’s net advances portfolio stood at Rs. 165,495 million, which was in line with the number reported for the year end 2020. Excluding commodity financing, the Banks net advances indicated a growth of 20.39 percent year on year. He further mentioned that the Bank’s net investments witnessed a significant volumetric increase of Rs. 77,470 million or 43.03 percent as against the prior year ending at Rs. 327,425 million as at 31 December 2021.
The year 2021 was a landmark year in which the Bank celebrated its 30th Anniversary. The Board took the opportunity to appreciate the commitment and hard work of the Bank’s dedicated employees. The Bank remains committed to protecting and serving the interest of stakeholders by fulfilling the growing banking needs of the society, and focusing on financial inclusion and customer satisfaction
Termination of the IMF plan will make borrowing difficult, says 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 Pakistan’s weak economy is further affected by global conditions and persistent rise in political temperature in the country.
It would be better to resolve the issue of no-confidence as soon as possible as delay is intensifying the economic crisis, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the government expects a loan from the IMF but the lender is dissatisfied with the breach of promises which can lead to the termination of its program which would be a disaster.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the termination of the IMF programme will make borrowing difficult for Pakistan from other sources.
He said that in the current unstable situation, investors have suspended their decisions while a large amount of capital is fleeing the country, which is causing the rupee to depreciate.
Flight of capital will result in inflation to increasing poverty while burdening the whole population, he observed.
Mian Zahid Hussain warned that political and economic instability will increase, the dollar will become more expensive, the rupee will depreciate further and the flight of capital from the country will accelerate and a new wave of inflation will increase the suffering of the people if political issues are not resolved soon.
The business leader said that the foreign exchange reserves were declining. 15 billion dollars have gone out of the country this year, while more than 400 million dollars have been sent out of the country in the month of March.
According to an SBP report, textile manufacturing has declined from 4.1% to 2.9% this year as compared to July-January last year. Food manufacturing fell from 29% to 3.4%, chemicals from 9.2% to 5.4%, pharmaceuticals from 10.3% to minus 3.5%, while automobiles and some other sectors have improved.
Exports from July to January, which were16.1 billion dollars last year, have reached 20.6 billion dollars this year, but their volume has not increased, but prices have risen. Imports, meanwhile, rose 49 percent from 32.1 billion dollars to 47 47.9 billion dollars hurting foreign exchange reserves but boosting FBR revenues. The current account deficit, which was negative one per cent last year, has risen to 12.1 per cent this year which is worrying, he said.
Bank Alfalah and Pakistan Freelancers Association (PAFLA) collaborate to provide digital payments and collection infrastructure to freelancers in Pakistan
Bank Alfalah, one of the largest private banks in Pakistan and pioneer in digital banking has partnered with Pakistan Freelancers Association (PAFLA) to facilitate digital payments and collections for freelancers. Under the partnership, PAFLA will acquire the ability to enable freelancers in selling services globally through an integration with Alfa Payment Gateway. This platform will facilitate a robust digital payments and collection mechanism through support from Bank Alfalah’s strong and reliable infrastructure.
Freelancers contribute greatly to Pakistan’s economy and help in building a progressive reputation for the country. The Alfa Payment Gateway provides salient features to freelancers that include instant and digital onboarding, no setup, annual or maintenance fee, freelancer digital accounts, and a pay-by-link facility which will provide immense convenience to individuals offering their services to clients online. Bank Alfalah Freelancers Digital Current Account will be a completely digital account to be opened via Bank Alfalah Mobile App and does not require any visits to the branches.
Alfa Payment Gateway is a unique product that will now allow freelancers aiming to go online through an extensive ecosystem an avenue to work efficiently with international clients and collect payments seamlessly. Together, Bank Alfalah and PAFLA will provide distinct opportunities for freelancers that are bringing in valuable foreign exchange to Pakistan. The partnership is designed to offer solutions that enable freelancers to process and collect payments in a simple, secure and cost-efficient manner from their customers via multiple payment modes e.g. Credit/Debit cards, Bank Accounts and Wallets.
Group Head – Digital Banking Group Yahya Khan was pleased to commemorate this partnership and stated “Bank Alfalah through its diverse and ever-evolving services portfolio is empowering freelancers to grow and prosper. This partnership is another step towards our objective to offer seamless services and solutions to customers in an efficient manner. It highlights our commitment to the Freelancers’ community and thus play our part in strengthening Pakistan’s economy and the future.”