IIL Pakistan opens first vessel, transmission products distributor in Sukkur
IIL Pakistan, the country’s leading pipe manufacturing company, marked a significant milestone with the inauguration of its first Vessel & Transmission products distributor in Sukkur namely Rehman Manufacturer and Trader.
The momentous event was attended by esteemed guests, including Mr. Abdul Shakoor Sheikh and Mr. Abdul Latif Sheikh from Rehman Manufacturer and Traders, along with representatives from IIL: Mr. Samar Abbas (Chief Marketing Sales Officer), Mr. Usman Ali (National Sales Manager), Mr. Zahid Abbas (Regional Sales Manager), and Mr. Waqas Ahmed (Product Marketing Lead).
The inauguration ceremony drew a distinguished audience comprising local retailers, who gathered to witness the latest development in the region’s pipe industry. IIL Pakistan took this opportunity to showcase its diverse range of high-quality products and outline the strategic significance of establishing a distribution network in Sukkur.
During the event, Samar Abbas, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer of IIL Pakistan, addressed the attendees and provided a comprehensive overview of the company’s rich history, achievements, and commitment to delivering innovative pipe solutions. He highlighted the company’s unwavering dedication to ensuring reliability, durability, and sustainable practices across its extensive product portfolio.
Muhammad Usman, National Sales Manager, discussed the importance of the Sukkur market and emphasized the company’s commitment to serving the local community. He elaborated on IIL Pakistan’s Vessel & Transmission products, showcasing their superior performance, cutting-edge technology, and their ability to meet the specific requirements of various industries.
Mr. Abdul Shakoor Sheikh and Mr. Abdul Latif Sheikh from Rehman Manufacturer and Traders further emphasized the positive impact of the new distributorship on the Sukkur market, stating, “With the establishment of IIL’s distribution network in Sukkur, retailers and traders will have easier access to the widest range of high-quality pipes. This expansion will not only benefit the local economy but also elevate the standards of infrastructure development in the region. I am confident that the partnership between IIL and the Sukkur community will be mutually beneficial, leading to increased growth and prosperity for all stakeholders.”
The inauguration event successfully fostered networking opportunities between IIL’s leadership team and retailers, setting the stage for fruitful collaborations and strengthening the company’s presence in Sukkur’s pipe market.
Standard chartered launches women in Tech Cohort 5
Standard Chartered, in partnership with INNOVentures Global (Pvt) Ltd, announces the launch of the 5th cohort of its Women in Tech (WiT) programme in Pakistan.
A flagship programme of Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, the bank’s global initiative to tackle inequality and promote economic inclusion, WiT is designed to help address gender disparity in entrepreneurship. Through this programme, the Bank supports female-led enterprises via capacity building through business management training and mentoring, provided by its award-winning accelerator programme.
In Pakistan, this initiative was launched in 2019, has appealed to over 1200 female-led enterprises, with 88 female founders participating in the bank’s accelerator programme. Once graduating from the accelerator programme and on final pitches, 26 of these enterprises have also received seed funding.
Commenting on this occasion Mr. Rehan Shaikh, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Pakistan said, “There is an increased focus on the role banks play in supporting the growth of small businesses, and furthering financial inclusion and education. In line with the Government agenda, WiT is Standard Chartered’s effort in supporting female-led enterprises upscale through technology. Curated with the objectives of removing barriers, providing opportunities and furthering financial inclusion for women in Pakistan, over the last four years this programme has surfaced to be a great platform for aspiring women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. This initiative further builds Standard Chartered’s focus on increasing women’s access to entrepreneurial finance and supporting adolescent girls and women through capacity building, encapsulating our Futuremakers community strategy of enabling the next generation to learn, earn and grow.”
Partnering with INNOVentures Global, the Standard Chartered Women in Tech programme aims to promote the economic and social development of women in Pakistan through innovation or technology led entrepreneurship. The programme is aimed at helping identify and grow female led businesses by bringing their unique business ideas to the market whilst celebrating women in Pakistan.
The WiT Incubators/accelerators by Standard Chartered, were first launched in October 2014 by Standard Chartered Americas as a local community project. The programme is now active in thirteen countries and as of April 2023 this programme has reached more than 3200 female entrepreneurs globally.
Summit Bank Limited Announces Name Change To Bank Makramah Limited
Summit Bank Limited is pleased to announce that the State Bank of Pakistan has granted its consent to change Summit Bank’s name to Bank Makramah Limited (abbreviated as BML). This will become effective subject to other regulatory and corporate approvals. This name change follows the recent acquisition of a controlling stake in Summit Bank by prominent UAE investor, H.E. Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah.
H.E. Nasser Abdulla Hussain Lootah’s vision for Bank Makramah Limited (BML) is to develop it into a leading Islamic bank, providing exceptional financial services and innovative products in line with Islamic principles. The name change from Summit Bank Limited to Bank Makramah Limited (BML) signifies the bank’s commitment to embracing Islamic finance principles and delivering innovative and ethical financial services to its valued customers.
Bank Makramah Limited (BML) is in the process of developing a comprehensive plan to transition into a full-fledged Islamic bank. The bank’s transformation will involve a complete overhaul of its operations, introduction of Shariah-compliant financial solutions, and adherence to Islamic banking practices. Bank Makramah Limited (BML) remains committed to serving its customers and ensuring a seamless transition throughout this transformative phase.
Bank Makramah Limited (BML) will continue to provide updates on its progress as it moves forward in its journey toward becoming a full-fledged Islamic bank.
AlHuda CIBE and FDO to set up Islamic microfinance window operation
AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) and Farmers Development Organization (FDO) have signed an agreement to establish an Islamic microfinance window operation. The agreement was signed by Muhammad Zubair, CEO of AlHuda CIBE and Mr. Ghulam Mustafa, CEO of FDO. The Islamic microfinance window will provide financial services to low-income and marginalized communities in Pakistan.
In his statement, Muhammad Zubair, the CEO of AlHuda CIBE, highlights the significant role played by the Islamic microfinance industry in promoting financial inclusion and poverty alleviation. Firstly, he emphasizes that Islamic microfinance serves as a crucial tool for providing financial services to low-income and marginalized communities. These communities often face challenges in accessing traditional banking systems due to various reasons such as lack of collateral, limited documentation, or exclusion based on socio-economic factors. Islamic microfinance steps in to bridge this gap and ensure that these underserved populations have access to financial services that can help improve their livelihoods.
Furthermore, Mr. Zubair believes that Islamic microfinance has the potential to transform the lives of individuals and entire communities. By providing financial services tailored to Islamic principles, such as profit-sharing and asset-backed financing, Islamic microfinance offers an inclusive and ethical alternative for those who prefer or are restricted by religious considerations. This approach enables individuals to participate in economic activities, start or expand their businesses, and ultimately uplift themselves from poverty.
Moreover, Mr. Zubair suggests that establishing an Islamic microfinance window operation can have dual benefits. Firstly, it would boost the Islamic microfinance industry by expanding its reach and impact. This would encourage the growth and sustainability of Islamic microfinance institutions and enable them to cater to a larger segment of the population. Secondly, setting up an Islamic microfinance window operation can provide a solution for individuals who refrain from using conventional microfinance services due to religious perspectives. These individuals may have reservations about engaging with interest-based financial systems, which are not in line with Islamic principles. By offering Islamic microfinance options, these individuals can access financial services that align with their religious beliefs, promoting greater financial inclusion and participation.
Mr. Ghulam Mustafa, the CEO of FDO (Farmers Development Organization), highlights the organization’s purpose and approach in improving the lives of farmers and rural communities in Pakistan. FDO focus on uplifting the lives of farmers and rural communities, which suggests that they work towards improving agricultural practices, providing resources, and enhancing overall living conditions for these populations. FDO recognizes the specific challenges faced by individuals and families with limited financial resources. By understanding these needs, FDO can tailor its programs and initiatives to effectively address the issues and provide meaningful support.
The statement also emphasizes the importance of Islamic microfinancing in enhancing growth and development. Islamic microfinancing adheres to Islamic principles and does not involve interest (usury), which is prohibited in Islamic finance. Instead, it operates on profit-sharing, trade-based and/or asset-backed financing models. This approach can empower individuals to start or expand their businesses, invest in agricultural improvements, and ultimately contribute to the economic growth and development of their communities.
Loan apps should be outlawed right away: 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 said on July 17 that all online loan applications should be banned immediately.
These applications are being run without following any rules and regulations and most of them are cheating the poor people by employing different dirty tactics amid the provision of cheap and quick loans, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that heavy interest and penalties are also charged for late repayment of loans, while the staff of these companies extort many times more than the original amount through threats, intimidation, fraud, and blackmailing.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that poor borrowers are helpless to confront a well-organised company.
A few days ago, a person from Rawalpindi took a loan of thirteen thousand rupees to pay the children’s fees and house rent but had to commit suicide due to the bullying, threats, and blackmail of the staff of a company.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that due to the increased inflation, poverty and unemployment, many people are not able to meet the necessary expenses, so they take quick loans with the help of these applications. Despite paying the loan within the deadline, they get stuck with endless demands from the company.
In the presence of institutions like the State Bank, FIA, PTA, Security and Exchange Commission, and Competition Commission in the country, this exploitative business is flourishing that can be a result of tolerance, collusion, and incompetence.
The business leader said that after numerous complaints and the suicide of a person, the FIA has raided some offices involved in loan sharking, which will not stop this business; therefore, the government should root out this business that thrives on exploiting the masses.
Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission said online lenders were barred from tougher recovery measures, but this was limited to the company’s statement, while the Competition Commission urged the public to be cautious when dealing with such lenders.
After making these two statements, both organisations believed that their responsibility was over and that the public was left at the mercy of the online loan sharks.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that apart from online companies, other people across the length and breadth of the country are also doing the nefarious business of giving loans at high-interest rates on unfair terms. May are selling goods in instalments and robbing the poor with both hands, for which legislation is needed.
He demanded that the government can make it easy for people to take small loans so that illegal businesses could not thrive.
Self-employment schemes should also be introduced, and small loans should be provided on easy terms for rickshaw pullers, vegetable vendors, bakers, plumbers, carpenters, etc.
IBA Karachi launches report on ‘The State Of Pakistan’s Economy 2023-24’
The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi successfully launched its report titled ‘The State of Pakistan’s Economy 2023-24 | Trials and Turmoil: Navigating the Interconnected Challenges of Politics, Economy, and Climate Change’.
The report is authored by the esteemed faculty members of the Department of Economics, School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS). The report launch was held at the IBA Main Campus. This comprehensive report provides a critical analysis of the persistent issues faced by Pakistan and offers valuable recommendations for sustainable economic growth and societal well-being.
The report sheds light on three key challenges that have significantly impacted the nation: the political situation, economic challenges, floods, and climate change. Through extensive research and econometric projections, the report offered insightful policy recommendations to address these interconnected challenges. Its aim is to guide policymakers, academia, and the government in improving Pakistan’s economy by fostering increased exports, resolving issues in the energy sector, and building resilient communities against floods.
The event featured a panel discussion comprising renowned experts, providing a platform for insightful discussions on the report’s findings and recommendations. The panelists included Dr. Nooreen Mujahid, Director, Applied Economics Research Centre (AERC), University of Karachi; Dr. Ali Hasanain, Associate Professor, LUMS; and Mr. Ammar Habib Khan, Chief Executive Officer, CreditBook Financial Services. Dr. S Akbar Zaidi, Executive Director, IBA; and Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmed, Member, Board of Governors (BOG), IBA also attended the discussion which was moderated by Dr. Asma Hyder, Dean, School of Economics and Social Sciences, IBA. The event was also attended by members from the academia, corporate sectors, finance sectors, media, faculty members and PhD students.
Addressing the audience, Dr. Mujahid stated, “This report serves as a timely and comprehensive analysis of the challenges facing Pakistan’s economy. It offers actionable recommendations for policymakers to navigate the trials and turmoil and foster sustainable economic growth.” Furthermore, while speaking about the energy sector of Pakistan, she mentioned that the provinces can play a significant role, particularly in improving the strategies related to energy, considering their own challenges and resources that will eventually provide regional benefit on a micro level and national benefit on a macro level.
Dr. Hasanain, while emphasizing taxation and its relationship with economic development, mentioned that taxation is not a technical problem, but a political problem, and the provinces need to be given more responsibility to generate political solutions. He also opined that the report’s insights on the interplay between politics, economy, and climate change provide a valuable framework for addressing the key challenges faced by Pakistan and that it is essential for stakeholders to heed the recommendations for a resilient economic future.
Commenting on multiple sectors in Pakistan and highlighting the importance of each, Mr. Khan emphasized, “As the report highlights, strategic measures are required to strengthen the energy sector and enhance exports. The findings and recommendations are crucial for shaping a prosperous and stable economic landscape.”
Delivering the closing remarks, Dr. Zaidi thanked the panelists for their invaluable insights and commented, “The Pakistan economy is at a particularly critical juncture, far worse than what has become normalized. We need to realize how deep we are in the hole before we can dig ourselves out. It is obvious that doing things the way we have for decades has not worked, time to rethink and disrupt old patterns.”
Following the discussion, the attendees engaged in a Q&A session with the panelists.
The event concluded with Dr. Ahmed presenting mementos to the panelists.
The difference is digital – Zong 4G celebrates 15 years of success in Pakistan
This month July 17 marks a momentous milestone for Zong 4G as it celebrates 15 years of unwavering excellence in Pakistan. Guided by the belief that “the difference is digital,” Zong 4G has revolutionized the country’s digital landscape through the widest 4G network, leaving an indelible mark through its adaptability, customer-centric approach, and unmatched network infrastructure. Beyond being a telecom giant, Zong 4G has become the unrivaled digital provider for future generations, shaping the very fabric of Pakistan’s technological future.
At the forefront of technological advancement for over a decade and a half, Zong 4G has been instrumental in propelling the nation’s digital revolution. Pioneering the introduction of 3G and 4G networks and successfully testing 5G, Zong 4G has been a tireless advocate for technological progress, transforming the way Pakistan connects and communicates.
Committed to socio-economic upliftment, Zong 4G has invested significantly in expanding its network infrastructure, erecting over 14,000 towers nationwide. With a massive investment of over USD 3 billion, Zong 4G has extended its cutting-edge technology to even the remotest corners of the country. As a result, millions of Pakistanis now have access to the most affordable and best-in-class telecommunications services, bridging the digital divide and empowering individuals, businesses, and communities alike. Zong 4G has made a concentrated effort along the One Belt, One Road to improve infrastructure and invest in the country’s remotest corners and the communities around it. Zong 4G has also been one of the largest contributors to the country’s tax collection in the past 15 years.
Going beyond commercial success, Zong 4G actively contributes to society’s betterment. Understanding the importance of giving back, the company has positively impacted the lives of 6.6 million Pakistanis. By focusing on education, health, disaster relief, and environmental sustainability, Zong 4G leverages its resources and expertise to create a more inclusive and sustainable future.
Zong 4G’s resounding motto, “Let’s Get Digital,” resonates with the core of Pakistan’s digital and technological advancement and emerges as a trailblazer, relentlessly empowering and connecting people from all walks of life across the vast landscape of Pakistan. Zong 4G has been at the forefront of the technological movement by offering cutting-edge solutions for their customers, bringing in new technologies such as 5G and IoT, building on existing infrastructure and investing in underdeveloped areas. They have introduced innovative and affordable International Roaming and Dialing offers for over 100+ countries, tailor-made to travelers’ needs. Zong 4G’s motto ensures that it remains ahead of the curve at all times.
As it embarks on the next 15 years, Zong 4G envisions the rise of “Gen Zong,” an era where the collective power of multiple generations fuels a digital revolution, propelling Pakistan into the realm of limitless possibilities. With unwavering commitment, Zong 4G acts as the catalyst for change, forging an enabled Pakistan where connectivity knows no bounds and the aspirations of its people soar to unprecedented heights.
As the nation looks to the future, Zong 4G stands poised to shape Pakistan’s economy and society, defining a brighter path for upcoming generations. With its dedication to digital progress and prosperity, Zong 4G epitomizes the essence of transformative change, securing a prosperous and technologically advanced Pakistan for years to come.
United Bank Limited reports strong results for H1’23
United Bank Limited (UBL) declared a Consolidated Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 52.0 billion for the half year ended June 30th 2023, with an impressive growth of 50% over last year. Profit After Tax (PAT) was reported at Rs. 27.5 billion, with a two-fold increase. Earnings per Share (EPS) was measured at Rs. 22.01 (H1’22: Rs. 9.77). The ROE for the current period was reported at 26% (HI’22: 13%).
The asset base has crossed Rs. 3.4 trillion, deposits have reached Rs. 2.4 trillion and advances were recorded at Rs. 916 billion as at Jun’23. The Bank’s gross revenues stood at Rs. 85.5 billion, growing by 36%, driven by the buildup in the deposit base and well positioned investment portfolio. Net-markup income (NII) increased by a robust growth of 54% to Rs. 72.3 billion for H1’23. The Bank’s Non-Fund Income (NFI) was reported at Rs. 13.1 billion for H1’23.
Domestic CASA deposits averaged Rs. 1.5 trillion for H1’23, with a growth of 13% year on year and a portfolio increase of Rs. 167 billion. The average CASA to total deposits ratio continued to strengthen and was measured at 90% in H1’23 (H1’22: 87%). Islamic banking remains a key priority and UBL continues to expand within this fast-growing segment. UBL Ameen’s branch network stands at over 150 branches with 500 Islamic Banking Windows (IBWs) all across Pakistan. The bank sees the Islamic segment as a tremendous growth opportunity and will continue to build on the UBL Ameen footprint.
UBL has embraced the digital age by offering a comprehensive range of digital banking services. UBL’s digital banking platform has revolutionized financial services, providing convenient, secure, and user-friendly solutions. In 2023, the number of registered accounts reached 3.7 million increasing by 27%. The number of financial transactions has increased by 69%, while the payment value of financial transactions has grown by 84% to over Rs. 2.1 trillion YTD Jun’23. The Bank is redefining the financial landscape with a futuristic mindset, innovative ideas and well directed capital allocation towards technology investments.
Branch banking remains the foundation of our business, and we are investing in our footprint while improving service and staff levels across the country. UBL is committed to actively contribute to the development of the economy as Pakistan’s leading financial institution, with a major presence across all sectors. We will continue to build on financial inclusion in the country and provide banking services throughout Pakistan across all our touch points.
UBL’s most valuable asset is our people, and the bank is committed to investing in their growth and development. We remain extremely focused on our customer service levels, growth in digital banking, as we build our franchise in coming years. We remain fully committed to delivering a strong return on equity, with an efficient capital base as we drive the organization towards a larger ambition.
Implementing all IMF’s conditions favours Pakistan: 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 said on July 19 that Pakistan has promised the IMF to reduce subsidies on energy, increase revenue, remove a ban on imports, cut expenditures on salaries and pensions, and allocate an additional amount for the Benazir Income Support Programme to get the standby programme.
Pakistan has also promised to keep the difference between the open market and interbank rate of the dollar within the limit of 1.25 per cent, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the full implementation of all these conditions is in the interest of Pakistan.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the IMF has asked the government for a plan to levy taxes on the favoured sectors of agriculture and construction to raise revenue, which must be fulfilled and implemented.
He said that now we have to stop prioritising politics over the economy and force non-taxpaying sectors to pay tax; otherwise, the next IMF review due in November may be stalled.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that on the one hand, the IMF is asking for a plan to impose taxes on agriculture and the real estate sector as per the agreement reached with the government of Pakistan, on the other hand, according to reports, a change has been quietly made in the General Sales Tax Act, which will push 4,800 of the 9,082 large retailers out of the tax net.
This decision will result in a tax shortfall, which will shift the burden on the industrial sector and the salaried people, who are already reeling under the burden of inflation and other problems, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that this time the deviation from the agreement will have dangerous consequences, which are not being taken seriously.
The business leader further said that favours to the blue-eyed sectors are no longer possible, and before the IMF takes any action in this regard, the changes made in the Sales Tax Act should be withdrawn.
The IMF should not be insulted by violating the agreement; otherwise, the economy will be pushed again into bankruptcy if the lender takes serious action.
Keeping certain sectors out of the tax net in a country that has been creating world records in population growth, poverty, and illiteracy is tantamount to filling the foundations of the economy with explosives, he said.
He warned that in the event of a default, no one would be spared from its terrible political, social, and political implications.
In these circumstances, when compliance with the current standby programme of the IMF appears difficult, the lender will never agree to another programme.
Kabeer Naqvi appointed as Chairman, Pakistan Microfinance Network
The Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) is pleased to announce the appointment of its newly elected Chairman, Mr. Kabeer Naqvi. Mr. Naqvi brings a wealth of experience, insight and expertise to lead PMN in promoting financial and social inclusion as well as economic empowerment for the underserved population of Pakistan.
Mr. Kabeer Naqvi is the President & CEO of U Microfinance Bank (U Bank) and has been with U Bank since 2015. He has played a pivotal role in the remarkable turnaround and expansion of the bank and represents a new breed of bankers who continue to push for innovation, evolution and forward thinking while staying true to the commitment and spirit of service to the country.
Mr. Naqvi has been a key figure in the microfinance industry for nearly two decades and has been deeply committed to the subjects of economic enablement, poverty alleviation and sustainable growth. His visionary leadership, strategic thinking, and proven track record make him an ideal candidate to steer PMN’s mission forward.
As the Chairman of PMN, Mr. Naqvi will assume the responsibility of designing new areas of interest, overseeing the network’s initiatives, fostering collaboration among member organizations, and driving the collective effort to expand access to financial services for the unbanked and underprivileged segments of society. His leadership will play a critical role in strengthening PMN’s advocacy for inclusive policies along with improvement and enhancement in regulatory frameworks and more open dialogues with all stakeholders to further propel the growth and development of the microfinance sector in Pakistan.
On behalf of PMN and its members, we extend our heartiest congratulations to Mr. Naqvi on his new role as the Chairman. We strongly believe that under his dynamic leadership, unwavering passion for social and economic change, and dedication to PMN’s mission will inspire and empower our stakeholders, partners, and beneficiaries alike.
Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Mr. Kabeer Naqvi as the new Chairman of Pakistan Microfinance Network. Together, we will work tirelessly towards building a more inclusive and prosperous Pakistan.
CPEC Book ‘Silk Route Revisited’ available
On the occasion of celebrating the decade of CPEC Book titled, “SILK ROUTE REVISITED: ESSAYS & PERSPECTIVES IN CPEC AND BEYOND” was published on July 14, 2023 in collaboration with HEC, China Study Centre and Karakaram International University.
The Book co-authored by Urooj Aijaz, Dr. Hassan Daud Butt and Nighat Moin from Bahria University and several other contributors from different parts of Pakistan and edited by Attaullah Shah, Faqeer Muhammad, Saranjam Baig and Khalid Mahmood Alam (team of Karakaram Univers ity and China Study Centre).