Highest Annual Profit in the History of PNSC despite challenging global economic environment
Despite the challenging global economic environment, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) Group has achieved highest to date annual net profit after taxamounting to Rs.5,650 million during the year 2021-22 as compared to Rs.2,264 million during the preceding year.
According to results announced here on Tuesday 13th September 2022, the earnings per share (EPS) of the PNSC (Group) is Rs.42.75 as against Rs.17.14 in the comparable period last year. PNSC has declared dividend of Rs.5 per share (50%), which is also the highest ever in the history of PNSC.
Cumulatively, the Group achieved a turnover of Rs.27,714 million as compared to Rs.12,789 millionfor the same period last year.
The major increase seen in revenue was from Liquid Cargo which increased by Rs.10,641 million considering the increase of Rs.4,358 million from owned oil tankers followed by increase of Rs.6,283 million from foreign flagged vessels.
The Dry Cargo segment (including slot charter) increased by Rs.4,266 million.The Bulk Carrier revenue increased primarily due to the increase in average Charter Rates and hike in average BDI as compared to last year.
The PNSC managed fleet comprises of eleven (11) vesselsof various types /size (05 bulk carriers, 04Aframax tankers and 02 LR-1 clean product tankers).Subsequent to the year end, PNSC procured two (02) Aframax vessels which resulted in an increase of total deadweight tonnage (DWT) to 1,045,657 metric tons which isalso the highest ever carrying capacity since PNSC’s inception. Moreover, PNSC plans to enhance its fleet further by purchasing more vessels in the coming financial year.
PNSC refutes baseless allegations levelled against IT
Apropos media release by various sections of the press on 21st and 22nd September 2022, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) refutes the false and baseless allegations.
The recently acquired Aframax tankers i.e. Mardan& Sargodha were inducted in PNSC’s fleet in August 2022, and are registered with internationally recognized classification society i.e. American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Sargodha is trading successfully to the satisfaction of its client and is currently at berth to discharge her 2nd cargo at PQA terminal. Moreover, Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) has certified on 6th September 2022, that all machinery including pumping systems of the vessel are fit for service.
Dry-docking is a predefined, cyclical and mandatory activity, performed as per Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and for the renewal of the vessel’s classification certificates confirming the sea worthiness of the vessel. All seagoing vessels undergo periodic dry-docking irrespective of the date of induction into any fleet.
PNSC, being a strategic organization, considers publication of such baseless news as irresponsible, tarnishing the image of the national flag carrier (PNSC). PNSC reserves its right to initiate appropriate proceedings in this regard.
Shan Foods joins hands with Indus Hospital & Health Network to support treatment of pediatric cancer patients
Shan Foods, a leading name in the food industry, have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indus Hospital & Health Network (IHHN), a not-for-profit healthcare Network. Founded in 2007, IHHN has now evolved into Pakistan’s private sector’s largest free-of-cost healthcare Network with 13 hospitals, 4 regional blood centers, 4 physical rehabilitation centers, 26 primary care facilities and community-based outreach programs. Through this MoU, Shan Foods will sponsor 142 chemotherapy sessions for pediatric cancer patients every three months for over a year.
Cancer is one of the most neglected non-communicable diseases in Pakistan, with pediatric cancer particularly disregarded. Even though more than 8,000 children in Pakistan are diagnosed with cancer every year, the limited number of pediatric oncology centers means that not more than 50% are properly diagnosed and treated. The cost-prohibitive treatment, coupled with lack of awareness in families means that a staggering 45% of children with cancer never reach the hospital. Furthermore, the unavailability of dedicated pediatric oncology centers and a specialized workforce trained to manage pediatric cancer leads to a substandard level of care and poor cancer survival in children. These challenges amalgamate into a dismal pediatric cancer survival rate in Pakistan; where around the world 85% of children with cancer go on to survive, in Pakistan only 20-30 out of every 100 children with cancer can hope for survival. IHHN is a ray of hope for pediatric cancer patients and their families in Pakistan, providing free-of-cost, high quality treatment at a state of the art pediatric cancer unit, which is the largest in Pakistan with 85 beds. To date, more than 10,600 children have been treated here for cancer, with more than 1,500 children being added to this pool from across Pakistan and even across borders. Shan Foods has joined IHHN in this noble cause, and will cover the cost of life saving Chemotherapy for children undergoing cancer treatment.
Maria Rashdi, Head of Corporate Communications and PR Shan Foods, said, “Shan Foods firmly believes that affordable and easily accessible, quality healthcare is a basic right of every citizen. We appreciate the services of IHHN to ensure this basic right for people. Through this partnership, we aim to contribute towards the health and wellbeing of our children who are the future of our society.”
Appreciating Shan Foods’ contribution, Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, CEO Indus Hospital & Health Network, said, “IHHN is committed to providing free-of-cost healthcare to deserving patients all over Pakistan. We greatly value Shan Food’s participation in our cause to cure thousands of children suffering from the burdensome disease of cancer.”
“Sarsabz Paagh” award recognizes top-performing dealers
In our region, a turban or “paagh” is considered a symbol of honor. Accordingly, Fatima Fertilizer invited 180 of its top performing dealers from all over Pakistan to attend a special awards ceremony held in recognition of their outstanding performance and support to the company. The awards were associated with the title of “Sarsabz Paagh” with the objective of recognizing and encouraging those Sarsabz dealers who attributed their success to the success of Fatima Fertilizer. More than 40 high-profile farmers who achieved top yields in their districts were also invited to the event along with the dealers. The company honored them and expressed its commitment to creating a deeper bond with the end user of their fertilizers i.e. the farmers. These farmers are key recommenders of the latest technology, nitrate-based Sarsabz Fertilizers and high-end farm services provided by Fatima Fertilizers.
The invited dealers expressed their full confidence in Fatima Fertilizer who has always promoted their important role in ensuring the country-wide availability of fertilizer to help the farmers. The event was attended by senior officials of Fatima Fertilizer, including Rabel Sadozai, Director of Sales and Marketing at Fatima Fertilizer.
While expressing her views, Rabel Sadozai said, “Dealers play a pivotal role in ensuring country-wide availability of fertilizer to support the farmers. The main purpose of introducing the Sarsabz Paagh program is to honor and recognize the important role of Sarsabz dealers in enabling the agriculture sector to contribute toward economic prosperity and achieve food security at the national level. While the havoc caused by recent floods has inflicted serious damage to the agriculture sector, it also indicates that we need to work together with unity and mutual recognition to recover from this crisis.”
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 in the face of constantly increasing population and food demand. Sarsabz Fertilizer is constantly striving to counter the negative impact of the current flood crisis on our national food security and the phenomenal expected increase in the future demand for staple food in Pakistan.
The event concluded on a high note where all participating dealers pledged to continue playing a vital role in advising the farmers on achieving maximum crop yield. Under the Sarsabz Paagh program, while selected dealers were recognized as brand ambassadors of Sarsabz to boast its signature outlets across the country, selected farmers were also declared to be a part of Fatima demo plots, field days, and high-profile farmer events that will help educate and spread best practices amongst the larger farmer community.
Concrete steps can help country’s exports, remittances: 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 September 16 expressed concern over the continued retreat of rupee against the dollar which is resulting in inflation and other problems.
However, the fall of the rupee is also generating additional resources for the government in the form of customs duty and sales tax, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that concrete steps are needed to increase the country’s exports and remittances to keep the currency stable otherwise the already weak economy will further deteriorate.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the government is not able to give the required attention to the economy due to the endless political turmoil.
Apart from this, due to dollar smuggling, increased trade deficit, lack of investment and non-fulfilment of promises by friendly countries, the value of the rupee is decreasing, while the IMF loan did not stabilise foreign exchange reserves as expected, he added.
He noted that the government lifted the ban on luxury goods under pressure which has allowed dollars to flow out of the country while imposing regulatory duties to control imports has also yielded nothing.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that India, Bangladesh and dozens of countries control imports through import tariffs, but this is not happening in Pakistan.
He said that the flood victims are not getting the attention they deserve. More than one million houses have been completely or partially destroyed, more than eight million cattle have been killed, and eighty out of one hundred and sixty districts have been affected by floods, which have been declared disaster-prone.
Three thousand kilometres of roads and one hundred and forty-five bridges have been washed away while two million acres of crops have also been destroyed.
In these circumstances, there is a need to keep a significant amount of money in the budget for relief and reconstruction. Due to the high value of the dollar, the government is receiving an additional hundred billion rupees per month in the form of customs duty and sales tax.
If a monthly targeted subsidy is provided to every family, these people can be rehabilitated, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that various diseases including cholera, diarrhoea, dengue and corona are emerging in the flood-affected areas and the victims are forced to live under the open sky, hungry and thirsty.
The international community also needs to wake up to the problems faced by humanity.
Smuggled Tyres Causing Revenue Loss of 50 Billion to the National Exchequer
Pakistan’s leading tyre manufacturer GTR Tyre has invested more than Rs 5 billion in the last five years or so as part of its continuous investment program to upgrade/improve its product quality.
This continuous investment enables the company to contribute over Rs 4.30 billion annually to the national exchequer besides providing employment.
But the local tyre industry is facing a huge threat to their survival in the shape of smuggling as the total estimated value of smuggled tyres comes to over Rs 300 billion which results in the loss of over Rs 50 billion to the national exchequer.
Needless to mention that the local tyre industry, being an import substitute industry, has been saving precious foreign exchange and contributing to the country’s economy.
“Tyre is one of the top commodities which is being smuggled into Pakistan, thus ruining local industry badly and causing huge losses to the national treasury,” said GTR Spokesman.
He added that the total tyre market of Pakistan is close to 14 million (excluding motorcycle/Rickshaw tyres) 15% of the demand is met through local production and 25% through imports while the rest 60% are smuggled.
He added if this 60% smuggling is controlled, this gap could be filled by local manufacturers and legal imports and ultimately GOP will get its legitimate revenues which is a need of time.
“Smuggling continues unabated due to lack of coordination between the government authorities who are responsible to control it,” said GTR Spokesman.
He added that items under the guise of Afghan Transit Trade are either unloaded in Karachi or come back from the Afghan border via smuggling.
“The government should re-evaluate the data of the items being imported via the ATT and see if the numbers of tyres being imported are supported by the vehicle population in Afghanistan,” suggested GTR Spokesman.
As confirmed from our local sources the smuggled tyres are being transported from Dubai through either in containers or launches then gets unloaded in Karachi from there they are being further distributed in different parts of the country
He added that this needs to be addressed and the customs department should ensure that this facility is not misused.
“The government should protect the local industry and national treasury from the damage caused by smuggling. Effective measures have to be taken to curb the smuggling to improve the competitiveness of the local industry and to provide equal business opportunities,” said GTR Spokesman.
It is pertinent to mention here that GTR was established in 1963 and it started production in 1964. It is the only local tyre manufacturing company that has technical affiliation with Continental Germany. Tyres are produced to meet the local road conditions.
The company manufactures steel belted tubeless radial tyres for cars and light trucks while cross ply tyres for light truck, trucks/bus, tractors, bikes, rickshaws and OTR.
Also, the company is one of the largest and trusted OEM suppliers maintaining high quality standards and reliability as its tyres are tested in Japan and Europe to meet quality standards demanded by OEMs. It has also acquired “E” certification for its products.
Plan demanded to rehab flood-affected SMEs, says Mian Zahid
Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on September 14 said a plan should be made for the rehabilitation of SMEs that have suffered from floods.
Central and provincial governments, commercial banks, NDMA, PDMA, and Smeda should work together for the purpose while the central bank should pave the way for cheap loans for the affected sectors.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that it is difficult to estimate the damage caused to SMEs but could be twice the 2010 super flood.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that post-flood recovery will be a challenge but it is necessary so that the key sector can play its role in national development.
The government has limited resources and hence it should seek loans from international financial institutions to revive the SME sector with the help of cheap loans, he demanded.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the paperwork for loans should be simplified to enable the SME sector to get loans without hassle.
Currently, there are eleven small chambers in the country and around five million SMEs are working in the manufacturing, trading and services sector, their share in GDP is up to 40% while 25% of exports are also owed to this sector.
SMEs involved in manufacturing has suffered the most due to recent disasters. Many SMEs are still deprived of electricity, gas and labour, while the owners of many are hoping to recover the losses.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that all the small chambers across the country should be included in the consultation and if the rehabilitation of SMEs is delayed, production, exports and productivity will be affected, while millions of people whose employment is related to SMEs will face more difficulties and the revenue of FBR will also decrease.
Salaam Takaful Limited signs unep-FI Principles for sustainable insurance
Salaam Takaful Limited, being the largest dedicated general Takaful operator and first Islamic insurtech in Pakistan, is committed to serve not only its policyholders but also the world they operate in. That is the reason they have been one of the most vocal supporters of ESG and its true practitioners in the country.
Its most recent feat in this regard is its inclusion as one of the prestigious signatories in the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI). By doing so, Salaam Takaful has the distinction of being one of the first Islamic financial institutions to become signatory to UNEP FI’s PSI.
Salaam Takaful believes that Islamic finance and ESG are confluent in terms of the impact of stewardship and shared value and the takaful industry has an important role to play in bridging the gap between Islamic finance and ESG.
Endorsed by the UN Secretary-General, the Principles for Sustainable Insurance have led to the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry—the PSI Initiative. Over 220 organisations worldwide have adopted the four Principles for Sustainable Insurance, including insurers representing about one-third of world premium volume and USD15 trillion in assets under management. The Principles are part of the insurance industry criteria of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and FTSE4Good.
“We are delighted that Salaam Takaful is the first takaful company to sign the UNEP-FI’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance. Becoming a signatory to the PSI aligns both with our focus on mainstreaming takaful and to become part of a global network of insurance stakeholders who consider ESG along their entire value chain by embedding environmental, social and governance objectives in their core business,” said Rizwan Hussain, Managing Director & CEO of Salaam Takaful Limited.
IBA Karachi and Salaam Takaful Limited partner to provide interest-free loans to students
The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi and Salaam Takaful Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide interest-free loans / Qarz-e-Hasna to students and build awareness about corporate world.
MD and CEO, Salaam Takaful Limited, Mr. Rizwan Hussain, and Executive Director IBA, Dr. S Akbar Zaidi, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective institutions. Representatives from Salaam Takaful included Head of HR, Mr. Noman Zaidi; Head of Marketing, Mr. Farhan Sheikh; and Deputy Manager, Mr. Shahryar Mallick. The IBA was represented by Director Corporate Relations and Resource Mobilization, Ms. Malahat Awan, and Manager Resource Mobilization, Mr. Sameer Khaleequzzaman.
Salaam Takaful Limited has offered to provide interest-free loans / Qarz-e-Hasna, scholarships and job opportunities to the students of IBA. Ms. Awan explained various initiatives IBA has taken to facilitate the students to pursue their education. With the rising cost of education, it has become imperative for institutions and the corporate world to help students overcome financial obstacles.
During his remarks, Mr. Rizwan highlighted the efforts Salaam Takaful Limited is putting into spreading awareness about the corporate world. They also aim to assist IBA in providing practical knowledge and education to the students about all developing sectors. He said, “ESG is a part of our organization’s DNA, and we are taking initiatives on all fronts to create the right and meaningful social impact. In that connection, our team will work to devise a brilliant ecosystem for students which will not only help them financially, but also give them an opportunity to gain practical knowledge pertaining to the intricacies of the corporate world, while mentoring them from the platform of Salaam Takaful Limited.”
IBA Karachi and Salaam Takaful Limited aspire to empower individuals by ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Ordercall, Bank Alfalah partner to offer convenient digital solutions to retailers
Ordercall, one of Pakistan’s fastest growing B2B e-commerce marketplaces, has entered into a strategic partnership with Bank Alfalah, Pakistan’s leading financial institution, to empower retailers through digital payments and financing.
The collaboration will offer retailers convenience through the integration of Bank Alfalah’s extensive range of digital solutions into Ordercall’s ecosystem, helping grocery storeowners to avoid potential stockouts and make hassle-free payments on the go.
Sharing his thoughts, Syed Atif Hassan, CEO, Ordercall said, “This alliance is a key milestone towards our mission to empower Pakistan’s retailers. With Bank Alfalah’s digital payments and lending network, Ordercall will unlock a new chapter for the B2B e-commerce industry by enabling small businesses to outsource necessary capital – the Islamic way.”
Ordercall and Bank Alfalah are making a positive socio-economic impact on Pakistan, by investing in innovative technologies and creating commercial and operational synergies. As the demand for consumer goods grows, this strategic venture will provide retailers with a promising channel to increase their income, earn a sustainable livelihood, and elevate their lifestyle, while digitizing and enriching conventional B2B e-commerce experience.
Descon and WWF-Pakistan to remove plastic-garbage from waste-water channels of Lahore
DESCON Engineering Limited and World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) will collaborate to clean the plastic-garbage from the Waste-Water Channels all over the city of Lahore. During the initial phase, a prototype solution is being designed, including the construction and installation of this recovery system, to ensure effective cleansing of all these drains.
For this purpose, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two companies at the WWF-Pakistan Head office.
As per the MoU, Descon Engineering will work to provide a simple, cost-effective and scalable solution, which will be easy to operate and replicate all over the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Taimur Saeed CEO Descon Engineering stated, “As Pakistan’s leading engineering and infrastructure-development company, we are pleased to enter in to this collaboration with a resourceful global agency like the ‘World Wildlife Fund’, and ensure a sustainable environment for the future. This initiative promises long-term ecological benefits by making our cities free of plastic-waste. We take pride in this first-of-its-kind solution in Pakistan and are committed to playing our part to contribute positively towards the wellbeing of the country.”
Hammad Naqi Khan Director General WWF-Pakistan said, “As Pakistan is already suffering the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, we must come together to restore the ecological balance for a healthier, progressive and sustainable future. We are pleased to get the operational and technical support of a company like Descon Engineering for this valuable project. We believe that Descon has extensive experience in building mega projects and will prove to be an effective partner for this infrastructure maintenance and restoration project.”
Founded in 1977, Descon has achieved multi-national growth, over the years, by consistently expanding its operations, all over the Middle-East and South-African regions. DESCON is investing billions of Dollars across major industrial sectors like: Power, Construction, Oil-Refineries and Chemicals. With a vision for Sustainable development and wellbeing of the nation, this company is providing better healthcare, education and socio-economic empowerment of the masses, besides providing employment to the Pakistani workforce.
Hunger on the rise as common man further weakened by floods: 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 September 19 said hunger is increasing in the country due to skyrocketing inflation.
It is impossible for the government to achieve the target of zero hunger by 2030 as little has been done in this direction, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that last year’s estimates suggest that sixty percent of the population cannot get enough food while 44 percent of children below the age of five are malnourished.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that water and agriculture have been neglected for decades as all the governments have remained focused on cheap popularity which has triggered serious food security issues.
He said that the government imports wheat etc. for masses and other agricultural items for the industrial sector worth seventeen billion dollars or Rs4000 billion but neglects the local agriculture sector which can turn around if such a massive amount was earmarked for agricultural development.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that almost 33 million people have been deprived of land, crops, livestock and savings and their rehabilitation will be a challenge while a lack of water can also disturb the farming communities.
The business leader noted that country’s export industry is very small and dependent on agriculture which should be given importance and their issues should be resolved.
He said that despite record destruction in the country’s history, the nation remains divided and bitterness rules the political scene.
The problems of the masses and challenges faced by the economy are not on the preference list of some misguided politicians and they are bent on creating anarchy in the country.
He said that oil prices in the international market are falling to touch the lowest ebb in the last seven months which if continued will reduce the oil import bill and current account deficit enabling the government to provide some relief to the masses.
Humanitarian efforts to provide instant clean water solution to flood victims
The floods in Pakistan, as a result of record monsoon rains and melting glaciers in the northern part of the country, have been described as the worst ever. The death toll is in the thousands with mostly children and elderly losing their lives. More than three million people are currently in urgent need of basics like clean water and food as the devastation has destroyed numerous villages and towns across the country.
With clean drinking water being one of the huge problems to arise from this natural disaster, Murtaza Hashwani, businessman, entrepreneur and successful impact investor has activated one of his fast growing companies in Pakistan to aid the flood relief ensuring clean drinking water in many disaster stricken areas.
PakVitae Pvt Ltd has stepped forward to support the rescue and disaster relief missions by making available 20,000 units of its unique affordable and highly efficient “EveryWater” water filtration systems to various agencies engaged in the rescue and relief operations. Theseunits will ensure the availability of clean drinking water for over 200,000 people and PakVitae has increased their production capacity to meet the rapidly increasing demand. Targeting remote areas in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and KPK, “EveryWater” water purifiers are helping people fight water-borne diseases such as cholera in such conditions.
“EveryWater” water purifiers also solve the logistical problem of transporting thousands of water bottles daily to the flood affected areas while saving the country from plastic pollution as well.
Citizens can donate PakVitae filters through https://pakvitae.org/product/donation-for-flood-victims/ or through Hashoo Foundation’s emergency flood drive.
Log onto to: https://hashoofoundation.org/donate-now/to donate emergency relief packages, including PakVitae water filters, to prevent health-related issues that millions of people are vulnerable to in these areas.
National Bank joins hands with the national flag carrier
National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) have signed an agreement for “Employee Banking” for provision of banking facilities to PIA employees.
Under the aforementioned arrangement, NBP will facilitate PIA employees to meet their financial needs through provision of its wide range of assets and liabilities products under the preferred service mode. The arrangement offers concessional rates and dedicated services designed to address the financial needs of PIA employees. This inter alia includes offering concessional rates to PIA employees on NBP liabilities and consumer assets products and services.
The agreement was signed by Mr. Tauqeer Mazhar (SEVP / Group Chief – Retail Banking Group, NBP) and Mr. Amos Nadeem (CFO, PIA). PIA CEO (AVM Muhammad Amir Hayat) and other senior executives of NBP and PIA witnessed the signing ceremony. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tauqeer termed the arrangement as mutually beneficial for both the organizations as it will further strengthen NBP’s partnership with PIA. NBP is capitalizing on its large corporate relationships by offering specialized priority services and awareness sessions for the employees of large corporates like PIA to help its employees meet their personal banking/financing needs. We are bringing banking to employees’ workplace for facilitation and better customer service.
NBP is presently offering a wide range of consumer financing products that inter alia include “Personal Loans”, “Financing against Gold”, “House Loans” and “Auto Loans”. The bank holds lion’s share in the category of personal loans.
Also speaking on the occasion, Chief Financial Officer of PIA, Mr. Amos Nadeem said that PIA being the national flag carrier has always been at the forefront to adapt to global technological advances and transformation in the aviation sector. PIA considers its employees as its assets and believes investing in them to achieve its mission.
IBA Karachi and ASA Microfinance Bank collaborate to empower underprivileged students
The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi and ASA Microfinance Bank (Pakistan) Ltd signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the creation of an endowment fund of PKR 10 million to support the education of students from marginalized areas.
CEO, ASA Microfinance Bank, Mr. Saeed Uddin Khan, and Executive Director IBA, Dr. S Akbar Zaidi, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective institutions. Representatives from ASA MFB included Deputy CEO, Mr. Tasawar Hussain, and Social Performance Manager, Mr. Irfan Hyder. The IBA was represented by Director Corporate Relations and Resource Mobilization, Ms. Malahat Awan, Director Finance, Mr. Moeid Sultan and Director NTHP, Mr. Junaid Alam Khan.
On the occasion, Mr. Khan said, “We are working with women on the grass-root level, often neglected by the big commercial banks, to enable and equip them with the resources to set up small businesses and drive themselves out of poverty. We find IBA working on similar lines by reaching the young talented students in far-flung areas and dispensing quality education to uplift their socio-economic condition. We are delighted to be part of this endeavor”.
Dr. Zaidi thanked ASA Microfinance Bank for creating an endowment fund and helping IBA in its mission of inclusivity and promotion of education. Later, Mr. Khan presented a cheque to Dr. Zaidi.
Food importers should be allowed to buy dollars: Mian Zahid
Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on September 19 said food importers should be allowed to buy dollars from legal channels.
The government should take all the necessary steps to arrest the increase in the price of food items especially vegetables being imported from Afghanistan and Iran, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the government has instructed food importers to prefer barter trade, which is difficult, while the continuous depreciation of the rupee has made Afghan exporters unwilling to trade in rupees and are preferring dollars.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that due to the flood, there has been a shortage of tomatoes, onions, potatoes and other vegetables in the country, which are being imported from Afghanistan and Iran, while imports from India have not been allowed which is surprising.
He said that despite the shortage of vegetables in the country, importers are not allowed to buy dollars from banks or exchange companies and they are getting dollars from the open market which is increasing the size of this illegal market.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the dollar is strangling the rupee and some elements are taking advantage of the political chaos to smuggle dollars, which is weakening the economy.
Despite the shortage of dollars in the country, some banks are taking advantage of the opportunity and according to some currency dealers, banks are sending dollars out through credit cards, while some are buying dollars from the open market against which the central bank needs to act urgently.
The central bank may raise interest rates to reduce demand for dollars which will affect business activities while increasing unemployment and reducing productivity as well as revenue.
The dollar has pushed the euro and the yen to two-decade lows, while the British pound is at its lowest level in more than forty years.
The central banks have left with two options, either increase interest rates or throw dollars in the market to control depreciation.
However, Pakistan does not has the luxury to pump dollars into the market to dampen its demand.
As long as the interest rates in the US continue to rise, the dollar will continue to strengthen while all other currencies will erode.
PTCL, PPAF collaborate to boost digital, financial inclusion of women
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) Group has entered into a strategic partnership with Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) to foster digital and economic inclusion of women entrepreneurs through training and access to digital and financial tools and opportunities for economic growth.
Group Chief Commercial Officer (GCCO), PTCL Group, Adnan Anjum and Chief Operating Officer (COO), PPAF, Nadir Gul Barech signed the agreement at a ceremony held at Ufone Tower, Islamabad, in presence of senior officials from both organizations. This public-private partnership project will enable and up-skill women entrepreneurs to drive their businesses towards sustainable growth and resiliency.
The year-long, pilot project will be implemented across four union councils and ten villages in the Haripur district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, under which one hundred women entrepreneurs will be trained. The partnering institutions will implement a two-week training module using a standardized high-impact curriculum, focusing on digital literacy, business skills, and life skills that will come in handy in driving fledgling and small-scale businesses towards success and sustainable growth.
PTCL will allocate a physical space which will serve as a digitally enabled Hub with access to basic facilities like Internet and training spaces as a central venue for the training sessions. In addition to this Ufone will be providing smartphones with registered SIMs and data packages for the one-year project to ensure their full participation. PPAF will lead the identification and selection process of the women entrepreneurs leveraging its existing presence at community level through partner organizations already engaged in diverse development initiatives. PPAF will also contribute to the overall cost of the project on equity basis.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Group Chief Commercial Officer, PTCL & Ufone, Adnan Anjum said: “No nation can achieve economic growth and progress without including half of its population; that is why diversity and inclusion are core themes in PTCL’s business philosophy. I am glad that PTCL and PPAF are joining hands to enable and empower women entrepreneurs to leverage digital technology and access to finance to grow their businesses. PTCL and PPAF share the vision for inclusive growth at the grassroots level because we believe it will translate into a broad-based economic transformation at the macro level.”
Also sharing his thoughts, COO, PPAF, Nadir Gul Barech said: “We are glad to collaborate with PTCL for enabling and equipping one hundred up-and-coming small-scale businesses in District Haripur under our joint pilot and PTCL’s onboarding will be a game changer because of the project’s increased dependency on the internet and digital technology. PPAF has been working to foster economic growth and poverty alleviation across the country and we believe that initiatives like this will go a long way in ensuring inclusive economic growth. We look forward to nurturing our partnerships with other organizations like PTCL for enhancing opportunities for the underserved especially the rural women across the country”.
PTCL and PPAF will onboard more technical and strategic partners to add value to this pilot project, which is expected to produce an extraordinarily replicable model in women’s gender inclusion and women empowerment.
United Bank Limited (UBL) partners with National Incubation Center, Karachi (NICK) to host BuiltByHer 3.0 Hackathon
United Bank Limited is partnering with National Incubation Center, Karachi to organize the BuiltByHer 3.0 Hackathon to address women’s economic inclusion in Pakistan whilst simultaneously promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. Despite having an estimated population of over 220 million, the participation of women in Pakistan’s local economy is impeded due to lack of financial literacy and difficulty in accessing financial services. Therefore, it is imperative for leading businesses to support endeavors that encourage women empowerment.
BuiltByHer is a 48-hour long virtual hackathon aimed at empowering young women in creating technological solutions to address pressing developmental challenges present within their communities. While the previous iterations focused on a variety of issues ranging from education to tourism, this edition focuses on the economic empowerment of women, a subject matter that UBL as a responsible corporate organization is committed to addressing.
The participants of the nationwide hackathon will team up to ideate and create solutions to redesign financial products to be made inclusive, create marketing campaigns to promote financial inclusion and design digital solutions aimed at promoting financial literacy amongst women. The competition will not only provide young women the opportunity to test their innovativeness but the best two teams will also win an exciting cash prize sponsored by UBL.
On the eve of the ceremony, Omar Abedin, Project Director, NICK shared his excitement of partnering with UBL and said, “Having an organization like UBL committed to creating a gender inclusive economy is a game changer. With UBL’s expansive reach and expertise in banking technology, the participating teams are bound to come up with some truly innovative solutions.”
Speaking on the occasion Mr. Sharjeel Shahid, Group Executive, Digital Banking Group, UBL said, “UBL has always taken pride in being a progressive and inclusive bank. Supporting women entrepreneurs in tech space will go a long way in bank’s attempt to carry forward the spirit of UBL as a responsible Corporate Citizen. We hope this partnership inspires the participants and many others to go after their dreams”.
Standard Chartered Pakistan delivers record half-yearly operating profit
Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan Limited (SCBPL) delivers record half-yearly profit before tax of PKR 22.0 billion, registering an increase of 84 percent. Performance was driven by strong income growth, as well as continued cost and risk discipline.
Overall revenue grew by 60 per cent to deliver highest ever top-line of PKR 27.4 billion, with positive contributions from all segments. Operating expenses continue to be well managed through operational efficiencies and disciplined spending with an increase of 11 per cent from the same period last year. Moreover, reversal of Covid-19 general provision, coupled with lower impairments and strong recoveries led to a net release of PKR 1.3 billion in H1’22 against a net release of PKR 0.7 billion in loan impairments in the comparative period.
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 48.0 billion (up 8%), whereas current and saving accounts increased by PKR 58.0 billion (up 10%) since the start of this year and comprise 94% of the deposit base. On the other hand, advances increased by 2% during first half of the year and the Bank continues to monitor the portfolio in the prevailing economic environment as part of its strategy to build a profitable, efficient and sustainable business.
The external environment remains challenging, however we remain fully committed to delivering a sustainable growth for our shareholders, bringing the best in class services and solutions for our clients and playing our part in the growth story of Pakistan. Standard Chartered continues to make good progress against its strategic priorities. The global network differentiates the Bank for its clients, bringing forth innovative solutions, product specialisation and structured offshore offerings. The Bank strives to maximise the contribution to State Bank’s initiatives on promoting housing finance and is consistently ranked amongst the top institutions. As of now over PKR 4.9 billion have been dispersed under Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar scheme. SCBPL has been a major contributor towards the Roshan Digital Account (RDA) initiative and has channelled remittances of over USD 367 million into Pakistan since inception and contributed USD 320 million to the investments in Naya Pakistan Certificate (NPC).
In line with the State Bank’s efforts on financial inclusion, with enhanced digital offering Standard Chartered is now able to reach more clients across the country and provide them with convenience of opening accounts as well as subscribing to products and banking services online. Overall, the Bank’s transformation journey stands well-curated, closely aligned with the Pakistan’s landscape and helping lift participation through digitization. Sustainable finance along with digital solutions for clients and their ecosystem stay as areas of keen focus for the Bank. SCBPL continues its efforts with the global initiative Futuremakers by Standard Chartered in Pakistan to tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion for young people in the community.
Commenting on the results, Mr. Rehan Shaikh, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited said, “I am pleased to share our record performance for the first half of 2022, which clearly reflect strong foundations, enhanced productivity and good headway towards achieving our strategic priorities. The results give me the confidence that we have the right strategy to deliver real value to our clients, our investors and the communities where we operate. I am thankful to our clients and business partners for their ongoing trust in our capabilities and to our associates, colleagues and staff for their resilience, dedication and hard work in delivering such outstanding results. The Bank stands committed to their growth and well-being.
While we are investing heavily in our people, giving colleagues the skills they need to succeed, bringing in expertise in critical areas and evolving to a more innovative and agile operating model, we intend to drive innovation and increase our operational efficiency further. This operational leverage allows us to create capacity to invest in the many exciting and potentially transformational initiatives as the Bank’s pivot to digital continues.”
With a strong Return on Equity (ROE) of 20.2% for H1’22 and a Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 15.3%, the Bank remains well positioned for future growth. On the back of a strong performance, the Board of Directors were pleased to announce highest ever interim cash dividend of 15% (PKR 1.50/- per share) in respect of the half year ended June 30, 2022.
IBA Karachi and Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam organized a webinar on floods 2022 and the way forward
Centre for Business and Economic Research (CBER), Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi and Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, jointly organized a special webinar titled ‘Floods 2022: Situation, Response, Blind Spots, and Way Forward’. Dr. Junaid Alam Memon, Director CBER, moderated the webinar and set the context by introducing the speakers.
Dr. Fateh Marri, Vice Chancellor, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, provided the status for the current situation of the disaster and emphasized the loss of economic activity, future productions, missed opportunities, and the limited capacity of human resources. He stated that Pakistani universities are not only engaged in flood relief operations but are also committed to provide policy advises, technical assistance and setup a solution-oriented research agenda.
Dr. Iqrar Ahmed Khan, Vice Chancellor, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, highlighted that drainage is the main issue for Sindh province due to its location and it requires attention. He also suggested that while providing food items to affected households, the feed for their livestock may also be part of their relief package.
He hoped that the farmers would be able to cultivate wheat if lands become ready otherwise oilseeds are to be planned.
Dr. Mubarik Ahmed from TDAP confirmed that the agriculture losses to the country are tremendous, and among other crops, 80% of the cotton in Sindh and 100% of cotton crop in Baluchistan are affected.
He warned that the disaster would result in reduced export and increase our dependence on food and seed imports.
Dr. Abdul Rehman, Pro Vice Chancellor, BUTIMs, Quetta talked about damages to cities and pointed towards increased incidences of domestic violence, child labor, and various forms of harassment that often slip from disaster response initiatives.
Mr. Naseer Memon, Country Representative of Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, Pakistan, pointed out that the encroachment in the rural and urban areas is the underlying cause of flood-induced disaster and held weak institutional capacity and lack of political will is responsible for that.
Dr. Shereen Narejo, Former Chairperson of Planning, and Development Department, Sindh, stated that the issue of population growth is often missed in climate discourse and emphasized that disaster is our collective problem and requires collective action.
She urged that the society has to take required steps and academia and others have to play their due role.
Mr. Fazullilah Qureshi, Former Federal Secretary, Planning Commission, pointed out that flood may be a national catastrophe but of different magnitude for different provinces and suggested that the Sindh is worst hit due to faulty projects such LBOD.
He said that a minimum amount of Rs. 400 billion should be allocated for flood recovery for Sindh by federal and provincial governments by reducing unnecessary expenditures. He also proposed to have an oversight body including government, academia and civil society for flood recovery works and funds management.
In his closing remarks, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman, Higher Education Commission (HEC) informed that HEC has created a sizable research fund specifically to support evidence-based and solution-oriented research to address current and future natural disasters.
He said that the higher education sector is fully aware of the situation and public and private sector universities are playing their role in relief work. The webinar was also attended by Dr. Qamar u Zaman, Vice Chancellor, Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi; and Dr. Robina Wihaj, Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations.
UPaisa expands measures to help flood victims across Pakistan
In continuing its support during these challenging times, UPaisa is offering flood relief support to vulnerable communities by enabling its subscribers to make direct donations to a host of organizations participating in relief efforts. UPaisa customers have the freedom to choose from a list of aid organizations which they can access by logging in to the application or by simply dialing USSD *786*8#.
Edhi Foundation, Akhuwat, Shifa Foundation, Health and Nutrition Development Society, Rashid Khan Trust, Saylani Welfare International Trust, Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan, Bait us Salam Welfare Trust, Sundas Foundation, Rizq Trust & Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund are some of the causes that users can donate to. These NGOs will use the funds donated to offer further assistance to the people affected by floods and provide them essential items such as emergency medical supplies, clothes, shelter, food and more.
UPaisa provides its customers with a user-friendly interface that enables donors to transfer funds in just a few taps. Users no longer have to log onto their computers or look for a collection point to make donations. Without leaving the comfort of their homes subscribers can also make direct donations to assist families affected by the floods.
The easy-to-navigate application will allow subscribers the freedom to make donations from anywhere and anytime. Beyond providing essential connectivity, Pakistani telecom company Ufone 4G together with UPaisa are rallying together and taking swift action in expanding their relief efforts across the flood-affected areas. Their priority is to ensure the people affected by the floods can stay connected to their friends and family.
Ufone 4G, is a socially responsible Pakistani entity understands the plight of the affected communities and stands ready to assist them. The relief measures through the UPaisa App is not only dedicated to bringing positive change but also serve as a commitment towards enabling customers to continue making donations from a secure and trusted platform. As part of its purpose, UPaisa is providing a platform for all its subscribers to offer humanitarian support to vulnerable communities in Pakistan.
Codebase Technologies wins “best Islamic Finance solutions provider” at prestigious global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2022
Codebase Technologies, one of the world’s leading Open API banking solutions fintechs, was awarded “Best Islamic Finance Solutions Provider” at the 2022 Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) held in Djibouti on September 14. The award honors Codebase Technologies’ exceptional track record, excellence in digital Islamic banking, and pioneering role in driving digitization in the Islamic financial services industry. The award also recognized the innovative capabilities of Codebase Technologies’ Digibanc platform, which is currently used by two of the three biggest Islamic banks in the world.
GIFA, one of the world’s most prestigious Islamic finance awards, was founded in 2011 by Lon-don-based think tank Edbiz International Advisors. The label of excellence award recognizes governments, financial institutions, companies, and individuals who have exhibited outstanding achievements in their fields, contributing to the sustainability and innovation of Islamic banking and finance.
Since establishing its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates in 2017, Codebase Technologies has helped leading financial brands across the region and beyond realize their digital-first ambitions. The award follows closely on the heels of the company’s notable achievements; launching Pakistan’s first digital onboarding for Roshan Digital Accounts for Dubai Islamic Bank Pakistan, implementing the GCC’s first fully automated regulatory reporting platform for Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain, being selected by Bahrain Commercial Facilities Company (BCFC) for digital transformation along with Atyaf eSolutions, and joining the VISA Fintech Connect Partners program.
Rizwan Warsi, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Codebase Technologies, said: “We are proud to receive this coveted award from one of the most highly regarded awarding bodies in Islamic banking. Codebase Technologies has grown exponentially over the last few years and pioneering the space of digital Islamic banking has always been of particular focus for us. We’re truly honored that GIFA has recognized our achievements and acknowledged the innovative milestones we have helped our clients achieve through our work and Digibanc platform.”
In early 2022, the company launched the MENA region’s first digital bank for financial inclusion, Blink, with the Capital Bank of Jordan, leveraging its Digibanc platform to bring Blink to market in just six months. Codebase Technologies has since been Capital Bank of Jordan’s preferred technology partner, supporting the Bank in numerous digitization initiatives, using its Digibanc platform to empower the Bank to innovate at scale. Codebase Technologies’ Digibanc platform is built on an open API micro-services architecture, featuring multiple ready-to-market compo-nents allowing financial institutions to accelerate their time to market for a wide range of prop-ositions from digital onboarding and omnichannel banking through to instant lending, card is-suance, digital wallets and more. Recently Codebase Technologies added a dedicated BNPL component to Digibanc, allowing financial institutions to launch their own white labeled BNPL offerings.
“We thank GIFA for recognizing our consistent work in pioneering digital Islamic finance. We would like to extend our appreciation to our committed team and express gratitude for the support of our partners, clients, and stakeholders. We know that many Islamic FIs struggle with their digitization journeys, especially in today’s dynamic market filled with challenger banks, neobanks, fintechs, and non-bank players entering the space. Our Digibanc platform has been instrumental in addressing the needs of today’s Islamic institutions, enabling them to go digital-first and setting them up with a foundation from which they can innovate long into the future, all the while ensuring alignment with Sharia principles. This award inspires us to continue achieving excellence and doing great work, globally,” added Raheel Iqbal, Managing Partner of Codebase Technologies.
The 12th GIFA Awards Ceremony was held at Djibouti Palace Kempinski in the Republic of Dji-bouti and was hosted by His Excellency Ismail Omar Guelleh, the President of Djibouti and the Central Bank of Djibouti. His Excellency Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia was the Chief Guest of the ceremony and the international event was attended by ambassadors from 26 countries, senior ministers, members of the cabinet, multilateral institutions, local & interna-tional institutions, and individuals.