Previous Editions

Remarkable feat of EFU General Insurance

Solar Clean Energy Participation

EFU General Insurance Limited is proud to announce its participation and sponsorship at International Solar Clean Energy Pakistan Conference & Exhibition. The conference serves as a platform to foster discussions, share knowledge, and showcase the latest advancements in solar energy and clean technology. The event brings together industry professionals, governmental bodies, researchers, and stakeholders with the common goal of promoting sustainable and green energy solutions.

Spokesperson at EFU General Insurance said “We believe that sustainable and clean energy solutions are crucial for our nation’s future, and we are fully committed to supporting the growth and development of the solar energy sector through our insurance services.”

The company acknowledges the significance of solar energy in reducing carbon emissions and addressing the persistent energy crisis in Pakistan. Through its wide range of insurance solutions and expertise, the company aims to facilitate the growth of the solar energy sector and provide comprehensive risk management solutions tailored to the unique needs of this emerging industry.

Prestigious 20th Annual Environment Excellence Award 2023

EFU General takes great pride in announcing its recent achievement as the recipient of the esteemed 20th Annual Environment Excellence Award 2023 by National Forum of Environment and Health (NFEH). This accolade recognises EFU General Insurance’s unwavering commitment towards incorporating sustainable practices and environmental stewardship within its operations.

The company has consistently strived to develop innovative solutions that not only meet the needs of its clients but also align with the broader goal of protecting and conserving the environment. The company remains committed to driving meaningful change, spreading ecological awareness, and fostering a greener and healthier environment for future generations.

‘Brands Icon of Pakistan 2022’

It is with great pride to announce that EFU General has been awarded the ‘Brands Icon of Pakistan’, the most esteemed and highest recognition from the Brands Foundation.

This award is a testament to our dedication, hard work, and exceptional services. It signifies our commitment to excellence in the Insurance Industry and our relentless pursuit of client satisfaction.

AL Amthal financing engages Codebase technologies to launch instant digital lending services in KSA

Al Amthal Financing Co., a prominent SME lending company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has chosen Codebase Technologies, one of the world’s fastest-growing open API banking solutions providers, with a strong presence in the Middle East, to launch their digital lending services in the KSA market. The project will be supported by Codebase Technologies local partner, Raqmiyat.

Statistics show the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen a significant penetration of digital banking services since 2013. According to Statista, the adoption rate has surged from 15.55% to 51.42% in 2023, with projections showing a further increase to nearly 70% by 2028. As with many regions worldwide, financial institutions in the KSA are recognizing the importance of adopting modern banking practices to attract and retain customers.

Salem Albalhareth, Chief Information & Digital Officer, Al Amthal Financing Co, commented on the partnership saying, ”

Choosing Codebase Technologies is a strategic move towards realizing our digital transformation objectives. We are keen to capitalize on market trends and transformative technologies, and we’re committed to introducing innovation for the benefit of our customers. This initiative is one of many in our strategy, and we believe it will form a strong foundation for us to deliver superior Sharia-compliant experiences in line with our core values.”

The collaboration will digitize the SME lending operations of Al Amthal and expand their retail lending business by utilizing the cutting-edge capabilities of Codebase Technologies’ Digibanc platform, enabling the Saudi lender to offer their Retail and Corporate customers a Sharia-compliant digital onboarding, loan origination, and servicing experience.

Codebase Technologies MD for MENA, Tamer Al Mauge, added

, “We are thrilled to partner with Al Amthal, a major player in Islamic financing in KSA, to revolutionize their lending business. Our Digibanc platform’s omnichannel and digital onboarding components, coupled with instant credit decisioning and loan disbursement capabilities, will not only enhance Al Amthal’s market position, but also offer their customers an exceptional digital experience.”

Codebase Technologies will leverage the omnichannel component of their Digibanc fintech and banking platform to provide Al Amthal customers with seamless digital experiences accessible through web and mobile channels. To ensure compliance and security, Digibanc’s API integration layer will be used to seamlessly integrate with external agencies like SIMAH, Nafath, and Yakeen.

“Al Amthal Financing aims to position itself as one of the leading Islamic financial institutions in the region and engaging Codebase Technologies and Raqmiyat will accelerate the organization’s long-term digital transformation strategy, enabling the lender to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving digital financial landscape,” commented Acting General Manager & Vice President of Sales at Raqmiyat, Bahaa Eddine Al Indary.

Al Amthal is taking a leap forward in digital finance by deploying the solution on a cloud infrastructure. This move positions the organization as an early adopter of cloud banking technology in KSA. The dynamic scaling capabilities of the cloud enable Al Amthal to seamlessly adjust to fluctuations in customer demand, ensuring that their services are always available to customers and are scalable at speed. In addition, the deployment on cloud will help Al Amthal save significant costs on their CapEx and OpEx, and benefit from robust data and customer security features.

“Al Amthal will leverage Digibanc’s in-built, AI-based credit decisioning to optimize the lenders efficiency and improve accuracy for decisioning leading to a reduction in operating costs and increase in revenue. Access through remote onboarding also expands the organization’s market reach and customer base, while improving satisfaction and lowering customer attrition. We commend Al Amthal’s decision to move to the cloud, as this will significantly improve their agility and scalability while ensuring robust security. We are excited to deliver tangible value to Al Amthal and their customers through this transformative partnership,” added Mazen Baalbaki, Territory Sales Manager at Codebase Technologies.

Pakistan Cables Launches The Highest Voltage (69 KV) CCV line for MV cables in Pakistan

Pakistan Cables launched the nation’s first highest voltage (69KV) CCV line for Medium Voltage (MV) cables through world class German technology. As the pioneer in the wires and cables industry in Pakistan, the company has a legacy of breaking barriers. In addition, Pakistan Cables has also set up a High Voltage Testing (HVT) facility at Nooriabad, which enables testing of cables at higher voltage grades.

“This is a significant milestone for the Company during its 70th year anniversary. It reflects 70 years of uncompromised dedication and setting Industry benchmarks. “Fahd K expressed his thrill at the outcome and pride in our hardworking team that led the project. Chinoy, Chief Executive Officer Pakistan Cables Ltd.

OMI Hospital and Jubilee Life Insurance join hands to elevate healthcare access for Jubilee health cardholders

OMI Hospital, a renowned healthcare institution based in Karachi, and Jubilee Life Insurance, Pakistan’s largest private sector insurance company, are pleased to announce their strategic partnership.

Under this partnership, OMI Hospital extends an array of exclusive privileges to Jubilee Health Insurance members, including discounts on Outpatient Services (OPD), Emergency Room (ER) consultations, radiology services, laboratory services, and home collection of specific test samples at reduced rates. Additionally, members will benefit from discounts on medications with home delivery. To access these benefits, members need only present their valid Jubilee Health Card during their visit to OMI Hospital. As part of this cooperation, a dedicated Patient Relationship Officer will serve as the primary point of contact for inquiries or concerns, ensuring prompt resolution of customer needs. Furthermore, appointment requests will be given priority, enhancing the overall healthcare experience.

Javed Ahmed, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer of Jubilee Life Insurance, expressed, “Jubilee Life Insurance is unwavering in its commitment to enhance the healthcare journey for our esteemed customers, whether through seamless onboarding, facilitation, or strategic partnerships with leading institutions across the country. This partnership with OMI Hospital reinforces our dedication, and we have full confidence that the collaborative efforts between OMI and Jubilee Life will continue to elevate the healthcare experience for Jubilee Health cardholders.”

Kashif Mustafa, Managing Director of OMI Hospital, also shared his perspective on the partnership, stating, “At OMI, our mission is to provide high-quality and affordable healthcare to patients. Through this collaboration with Jubilee Life, we aim to expand our reach, enabling more convenient and streamlined access to the finest medical care for every Jubilee Health cardholder.”

It is worth noting that all exclusive discounts offered through this partnership will be applicable at both OMI Hospital campuses: Saddar and DHA.

Dysfunctional power sector wrecking country’s economy: 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 September 8 that the sluggish power sector is ruining the country’s economy.

Local and foreign investment is difficult without bringing transparency to the power sector and introducing reforms in it so that it can become self-sufficient, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that taxes worth Rs734 billion will be collected on electricity bills in the current year, but it will not help the power sector unless strict measures are taken to eliminate electricity theft, line losses, and non-payment of bills.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the power sector has become very incompetent and a burden. Due to the high cost of electricity, its use is decreasing while theft is increasing, and there is a need to stop theft of electricity, collect electricity bills, save electricity by closing the markets early, and revise the agreements made with private power plants.

He said that closing the markets in the evening will save a huge amount of electricity, which will also save foreign exchange, which is in short supply in the country.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the total amount of theft and non-payment of bills in the country this year is estimated to reach almost two trillion rupees, which is enough to bankrupt the people and the economy.

He further said that at present there are about one million defaulters in the country, while the number of defaulters who have been disconnected is almost 150,000, except for those in Karachi.

The business leader said that the defaulters owe more than one and a half billion rupees, which must be recovered.

He said that the currency market in Pakistan is unrestrained and unruly; it enjoys unprecedented freedom in Pakistan, which is draining the economy.

The role of the black sheep of this sector in the economic disaster cannot be ignored, he said, adding that an action against the currency dealers who are breaking the law has proved good for the economy.

He said that currently, no organisation is willing to accept the responsibility of plunder by shady exchange companies. The central bank and SECP (Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan) continue to blame each other for the situation; therefore, the exchange companies should be fully subordinated to the central bank; their supervision should be increased; but their business should not be closed because they play an important role in receiving remittances.

Islamic microfinance industry surpasses $60bn mark in value

  • Shariah FinTech service, can help get goal of poverty alleviation: Zubair Mughal

The global Islamic microfinance industry has reached a significant milestone, surpassing $60 billion in value within the $3.8 trillion Islamic finance landscape. This achievement highlights the growing recognition of Islamic microfinance as a potent tool for poverty alleviation. The industry’s potential to bridge financial gaps while adhering to Shariah principles positions it as a viable alternative for fostering financial inclusion and tackling global poverty challenges.

Despite ongoing efforts and UN Millennium Goals, global poverty eradication remains unachieved. This challenge is particular in Muslim majority countries, where conventional financial structures often hinder progress due to their reliance on prohibited elements like Riba (interest). Financial exclusion due to these factors underscores the necessity for alternative financial solutions that are Shariah-compliant.

Addressing this need head-on, AlHuda CIBE, a renowned Islamic finance consultancy and advisory firm since 2005, has established the Center of Excellence for Islamic Microfinance. This initiative aims to introduce Islamic microfinance as a powerful poverty alleviation tool in diverse countries around the world. AlHuda CIBE’s impactful projects have earned them a reputation for collaborating with esteemed international organizations, including the United Nations (UN), World Bank (WB), IFC, Asian Development Bank (ADB), USAID, GIZ, and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). The firm has also extended its services to various central banks, rural development initiatives in different countries, agricultural development projects, and numerous other developmental ministries at the micro-level. Over its operational history, the consultancy firm has successfully executed more than 45 diverse projects through its Center of Excellence, which is composed of dynamic and dedicated team members operating under the guidance of vigilant management.

Mr. Muhammad Zubair, CEO of AlHuda CIBE, emphasised the crucial role Islamic microfinance plays in tackling global poverty. Despite its promising growth, the industry represents just 2% of the total Islamic finance landscape. To truly uplift populations living under the poverty line, he emphasized the need for exponential contributions.

Mr. Zubair called for the rapid introduction of Shariah (Islamic) FinTech services, a revolutionary concept combining Islamic finance, microfinance, and cutting-edge technology. This three-fold approach, he believes, holds the key to achieving the UN’s top priority goal of poverty alleviation.

He further added, in the context of Muslim-majority countries, there exists a unique challenge where the poor population is proportionally twice as large. This demographic reality underscores the pressing need for inclusive financial solutions tailored to these nations. Remarkably, a staggering 72% of the unbanked population hails from these Muslim-majority countries, indicating a substantial gap in financial inclusion. The financial exclusion experienced by a significant portion of these inhabitants underscores the critical importance of addressing this issue with innovative and relevant approaches. This disparity not only represents an economic hurdle but also a social and developmental imperative that necessitates immediate attention. Islamic microfinance serves as a compatible and highly viable solution, seamlessly integrating with various micro-credit lending approaches such as Grameen lending, village banking, co-operative societies, credit unions, self-help groups, and commercial microfinance models. This synergy enhances its efficacy in addressing the pressing issue of financial inclusion within these communities.

Shariah FinTech’s cross-border accessibility and less regulated nature make it a game-changer in the financial world. As technology, including blockchain, cryptocurrencies, DiFi, and the Metaverse, merges with microfinance, accessing Islamic microfinance services becomes more convenient. This integration empowers impoverished populations, fosters financial inclusion, nurtures new startups, and drives expansions in existing small businesses.

To expedite progress, Mr. Zubair urged experts, governments, and central banks to collaborate on introducing FinTech regulations, creating an enabling environment for innovation. By embracing Islamic Microfinance and Shariah FinTech services, the world can become closer to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, making steps towards a more inclusive and poverty-free world.

Reports of another interest rate hike are concerning: 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 said on Wednesday that reports of a further increase in interest rates by State Bank are worrying.

Interest rates are already so high that any further increase would prove disastrous for the economy, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that before making a decision, its implications should be considered by policymakers.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the central bank is considering increasing the interest rate from one hundred to one hundred and fifty basis points as it thinks it will help reduce inflation while also stabilising foreign exchange reserves.

However, the central bankers should also consider that the interest rate was raised to 22 percent in April and was not cut last month, which disappointed the business community, he said.

The business leader said that a further increase of one or one and a half percent will make it impossible to do business for many, which will close many businesses and increase unemployment.

The move will also increase the burden of interest on the government, which is already 7200 billion rupees annually.

In the current situation of the country, it would be more beneficial to reduce interest rates than to raise them, as businesses are in a bad state, unemployment is high, and bank defaults are also increasing rapidly, he noted.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that new trade agreements are being made between international powers in our neighbourhood. Western nations and Arab countries are increasing trade by ignoring the open violation of human rights in India, while Pakistan is playing the role of a silent spectator instead of being a part of this whole issue, which is a sign of poor management.

The G20 meeting in India has proved that the world is more interested in trade than ethics, and if we want to be valued and heard, sloganeering will no longer work, but trade will.

He said that concrete measures will have to be taken to increase the exports of the country, without which the economy cannot become stable.

No one in the world cares about a bankrupt country, no matter how big the consumer market is or whether it is armed with nuclear weapons.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that in these circumstances, the establishment of SIFC is a ray of hope, and it is necessary to enhance the role of the private sector in order to achieve its goals.

Mansha brothers unveils cutting-edge NEC communication products, showcasing innovation and connectivity

Mansha Brothers, a renowned name in the technology industry, proudly announced the launch of their latest line of NEC products at a grand event held in Karachi in August 29 at a five-star hotel.

The event was marked by the presence of distinguished guests and media, insightful speeches, and a comprehensive product showcase, highlighting the brand’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation and connectivity in the business communication sector.

The evening commenced with an engaging guest registration process, setting the stage for an evening of technological revelations. The master of ceremonies, Hira Khan welcomed the guests and attendees, setting a tone of anticipation for the unveiling of the latest advancements in communication technology.

Tahir Lone, Director Mansha Brothers, took the stage to express his enthusiasm about the launch, stating, “At Mansha Brothers, we believe in bringing revolutionary solutions to the market. Our partnership with NEC has allowed us to deliver products that redefine the way businesses communicate and collaborate.”

Francis Wong, NEC Regional Unified Communications Division, shared his thoughts on the collaboration, emphasising the mutual dedication of both companies to drive progress and enhance communication experiences for businesses worldwide.

Also speaking on the occasion, Abbas Lone, who brings a wealth of experience and strategic vision to the company as CEO of Mansha Brothers said, “Mansha Brothers has thrived as a centre of excellence in providing solutions that meet the evolving needs of clients.” He gave a brief introduction of his company and collaboration with renowned principal partners around the world.

The event’s spotlight then turned to Xian Yang, Business Development Manager, NEC Regional Unified Communications Division, who introduced NEC and presented the NEC PAB X Market share. This comprehensive overview shed light on the industry’s landscape and demonstrated NEC’s leadership in the market.

Justin Yong, Presales Manager, NEC Regional Unified Communications Division then presented a comprehensive overview of NEC SMB Solutions, delving into the features and benefits that these solutions bring to small and medium-sized businesses. His presentation highlighted the adaptability and scalability of NEC’s products to meet the evolving needs of businesses.

An interactive question and answer session followed the presentation, allowing attendees to engage with the experts and gain deeper insights into the products and solutions.

The highlight of the event was the product demonstration, featuring the NEC SL2100 and SV9100. Attendees were able to witness firsthand the seamless integration, advanced features, and user-friendly interfaces that will make these products stand out in the market.

The evening concluded with a networking dinner, providing an opportunity for attendees to connect, share ideas, and foster collaborations in a relaxed environment.

Mansha Brothers’ NEC Product Launch event was an exceptional showcase of innovation, highlighting their dedication to delivering state-of-the-art communication solutions that empower businesses to thrive in the modern digital landscape.

Standard chartered launches comprehensive digital-banking solution

Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan announced the strengthening of its Digital Banking Solution at a press conference on August 30. This full-fledged client centric solution will enable the Bank’s clients to enjoy the benefits of 24X7 banking convenience and most of all, experience unparalleled financial services in the digital age. It has been developed leveraging global expertise and best practices in partnership with local service providers under the digital drive of the State Bank of Pakistan.

With this digital innovation the Bank strives to deliver an end-to-end, scalable digital experience. The all-encompassing Digital Banking Suite is designed to empower clients with seamless and secure access to banking services from anywhere, at any time. It also includes the digital on-boarding journey where clients can open bank accounts and complete transactions within minutes.

Rehan Shaikh, Chief Executive Standard Chartered addressing the media stated, “I am delighted to celebrate an important milestone today in our transformation journey as we integrate cutting edge technology, innovation, global expertise and learnings into our digital offerings to empower customers with seamless access to their finances, offering real-time insights, personalized services, and convenient transactions. By embracing technology, we endeavour to revolutionise the customer experience, making financial management more intuitive and enabling individuals to achieve their goals with greater ease. Our SC Mobile App is prepared to break barriers and set new benchmarks for innovation in financial services. This is an important step in our aspiration to help lift participation and drive financial inclusion across Pakistan. The role of the State Bank of Pakistan has been instrumental in pushing the frontiers in the digital space by fuelling innovation to advance an integrated digital banking ecosystem. Going forward we will continue to invest in our People, Technology and Infrastructure to go even further and faster in achieving our ambitions of offering complete client-centric banking solutions.”

Saadya Riaz, Head, CPBB, Standard Chartered added, “Standard Chartered recognises that technology-driven enablement and partnerships can facilitate the resolution of challenges faced by our clients in various sectors and accelerate economic growth for different market segments. Through enhancement in digital capabilities, the Bank is committed to working with the Central Bank, local and financial technology players to innovate and develop especially curated products for multiple segments. Existing and potential clients now have access to banking facilities with a tap through our SC mobile App. We are truly grateful for the patronage of our clients, who are the driving force to keep us motivated, persuading us to challenge ourselves as we continue to grow and break barriers.”

With this launch, Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan once again combines its international expertise in digital banking with its local knowledge to bring forth a unique offering in the digital banking and financial landscape. Building on this shift, the Bank intends to enhance client experience and cater to an even larger client base with flexibility, convenience and security at their fingertips.

Inflation widening gap between rich and poor: 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 said on September 11 that inflation is widening the gulf between the rich and the poor.

The middle class has become poor, and the people are suffering under the burden of inflation, which is causing economic and social problems, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the business community cannot invest or plan for the future due to inflation, so this problem should be solved immediately.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that inflation is a significant cause of economic instability, which is an obstacle to domestic and foreign investment.

He said that unemployment will continue to rise until there is no investment in the country, and the solution to unemployment is to promote technical education.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that there is a need to create a strategy to end inflation, in which the first priority should be given to speculation and hoarding while administrative measures should be taken.

Targeted subsidies for poor people should be increased because people can no longer feed themselves. SIFC is an excellent arrangement for prioritising foreign investment under which investors will be provided with a better environment so that they can provide employment to the people and also transfer technology, he observed.

While other measures are necessary to save the country’s economy and attract domestic and foreign investors, it is also necessary to improve the broken energy sector.

The current price of energy and supply disruptions are enough to scare away any investor.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the capacity payments of the power sector, which were Rs185 billion in 2013, will reach Rs1,600 billion in 2023, while by 2031 these payments will reach Rs3,700, which will be 75 per cent of the electricity bills.

The vast majority of the country’s population will not be able to buy electricity due to increasing capacity payments.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that due to corruption and incompetence, the power sector has been ruined to such an extent that success in this regard is now the only option; otherwise, it will destroy the economy.