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Pakistan’s first specialised credit guarantee company for SMEs opened

NCGCL launch will generate higher economic growth, employment, and development impact: Finance Minister

Ministry of Finance and Karandaaz Pakistan launch NCGCL, Pakistan’s first specialised Credit Guarantee Company for SMEs.

National Credit Guarantee Company Limited (NCGCL) will be the first-ever specialised market-based SME credit guarantee facility for enhancing SMEs’ access to finance in Pakistan, said Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, the caretaker minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs, on the launch of Pakistan’s first specialised credit guarantee company for SMEs in collaboration with Karandaz.

During her keynote address, Dr Shamshad Akhtar emphasised the importance of enhanced SME credit, which at present stands at 5.2% of the total private credit in Pakistan. She underscored that with over 1.5 million SMEs and an estimated market size exceeding PKR 3.7 trillion, the NCGCL will craft products to de-risk SME financing, collaborating with financial institutions to bolster credit availability across diverse market segments. This transformative initiative aims to revolutionise SME credit accessibility across Pakistan, leveraging capital allocation for SMEs to generate higher economic growth, employment, and development impact.

Addressing the audience, Ms Jane Marriott, British High Commissioner to Pakistan, highlighted NCGCL’s core objectives: extending financial inclusion and fortifying SME credit penetration. The NCGCL’s initial capitalisation of approximately PKR 6 billion, exclusively provided by the UK Government under its Financial Inclusion Program, underscores the UK’s commitment to this cause.

Mr Waqas ul Hasan, CEO Karandaaz, shared that Karandaaz specialises in the creation of development finance instruments which push the needle for making capital available to underserved individuals and firms. NCGCL will have the ability to partner with full range of bank and non-bank financial institutions and will pursue financial inclusion agenda with well-defined development impact objectives.

Focusing on developmental goals and economic sustainability, the NCGCL anticipates nearly PKR 50 billion additional exposure in the Pakistani market. Given that SMEs create jobs, contribute to economic growth and exports, NCGCL is expected to create significant impact for the country.

Karandaaz Pakistan is committed to fostering financial access for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises through diverse investment platforms, promoting technological solutions for financial inclusion. Leveraging a portfolio of debt and equity instruments, it actively supports SME finance in Pakistan.

Notable attendees at the event included representatives from the British High Commission Islamabad, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), State Bank of Pakistan and the Ministry of Finance, underscoring the collaborative commitment towards fortifying SME credit and financial inclusion.

Zong 4G and ASA Pakistan to offer communication and data connectivity solutions

Zong 4G, Pakistan’s leading digital communication company, has signed a corporate partnership agreement with ASA Pakistan Limited, a leading Microfinance Bank, to provide data and voice services for their customers.

Zong Business team strives to provide each client with industry-leading tailored solutions that can enhance their business productivity and streamline their processes. This partnership was finalized with a signing ceremony conducted on 2nd November 2023 at ASA microfinance bank Pakistan ltd head office in Karachi. Mr. Farooq Raza Khan, Director Govt. & Corporate Sales & Services Zong CMPAK and CEO ASA Pakistan Mr. Saeed Uddin Khan signed the partnership on behalf of their respective organizations.

The official spokesperson of Zong 4G added, “Our partnership with ASA Pakistan (MFB) Limited is a testament to our commitment to excellence and innovation. We are dedicated to providing our customers with customized GSM and data products that cater to their communication needs.”

Mr. Saeed Uddin Khan, CEO ASA Pakistan, emphasized the importance of telecom services for his company and discussed the benefits of Zong 4G’s services. “Zong 4G’s seamless services will help ASA Pakistan (MFB) Limited users to improve their productivity and drive business growth”.

Standard Chartered to digitise Haier Pakistan’s value-chain

Standard Chartered Pakistan and Haier Pakistan have recently signed a strategic agreement to digitise Haier Pakistan’s value-chain and optimise their cashflows.

Standard Chartered will transform Haier Pakistan’s paper-based payments to a virtual account solution for their 1300 dealers; Enabling them to make real-time, round the clock payments digitally. The Bank is also providing Haier Pakistan with an API-based service for real time collection notifications which would allow them to release appliances/goods to their dealers instantly and enable their dealers to immediately obtain incentives of early payments.

Present at the signing ceremony were Shiraz Hyder, Head of Transaction Banking and Ali Haider Zaidi, Head of Global Subsidiaries from Standard Chartered Pakistan. Feng Xianfa, Chief Executive Officer, Zhang Hao, Chief Financial Officer, and Mohammad Faraz Khan, Director Finance joined the ceremony from Haier Pakistan.

Arslan Nayeem, Head of Client Coverage – Corporate Commercial and Institutional Banking (CCIB) for Standard Chartered Pakistan said, “We are committed to working closely with our clients to raise the bar on industry standards and empower them as we bank the business models of the future. As we continue to invest in our digital platforms to collaborate with clients like Haier Pakistan, providing them with smart digital solutions to solve real-time problems, we live up to our global commitment to be Here for Good.”

Mr Feng Xianfa, Chief Executive Officer of Haier Pakistan, expressed his gratitude to Standard Chartered Pakistan, for their support and for offering Haier Pakistan with an exceptional digital-banking platform, world-class solutions, and exceptional customer service. “With this ‘Virtual Account for Collection’ (VAC) solution coupled with Credit notification API for real time reconciliation, Haier Pakistan is now able to instantly realize their receivables. This digital receivables solution will help Haier Pakistan in optimising its financial-resources and achieve greater efficiencies.”

UBL partners with Philanthropic organisations for UBL Ameen Esaar Account

UBL Ameen has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with Indus Hospital and Health Network (IHHN), ChildLife Foundation, The Citizens Foundation (TCF) and Akhuwat, institutions which are serving humanity in the field of Health, Infant Care, Education and Employment respectively. This collaboration stemmed from the launch of “UBL Ameen Esaar Account” which is a one of its kind Islamic liability product that not only caters to banking requirements of consumer, but also contributes to the welfare of society. UBL Ameen has designed Esaar Account to incentivize the customer for contribution to humanitarian causes. The Bank sponsors free of cost Takaful plan for securing risk of Income loss due to Death or Accidental /permanent disability of accountholder for succeeding 12 months in addition to Reimbursement of Medical Expenditure as a token of gratitude.

The idea behind contribution for the sake of welfare of society is that the bank allocates a certain amount from its own pocket, based on the balance maintained in the account by the customer, and distribute among above-mentioned four organizations for onwards spending among deserving people. This contribution gives customer a sense of satisfaction for playing their part in noble cause.

From UBL’s side, the signing ceremony was attended by Mr. Alee Khalid Ghaznavi, Group Executive – Islamic Banking, UBL, and senior executives of the Bank. Donation amounts allocated under UBL Ameen Esaar Account since its inception were handed over by UBL Ameen team to respective representatives of these organizations.

New govt must prioritise economic equality: 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 January 17 the disparity between the wealthy and the impoverished is swiftly widening.

The newly elected government should make economic equality a major priority since, in the absence of an equitable economic structure, the nation will not have a future, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the government that will be formed as a consequence of the election ought to make economic equality a priority. This is because, just like in the rest of the world, the gap between the wealthy and the impoverished is growing bigger in Pakistan as well.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that a fair economic system is the need of the hour as the divide is growing, which is affecting the economy and fragmenting the social system.

According to the business leader, except in a few nations, capitalists have taken control of the world’s economies, which is why their assets are growing at an incredible rate while the general population is getting poorer.

He added that due to the prevailing economic system, the wealth in almost every country is being concentrated in a few hands, and if this trend is not stopped, world peace will end.

He furthered that during the COVID pandemic, almost all countries not only printed excessive currency but also adopted policies that greatly increased the wealth of capitalists.

In Pakistan, too, under the guise of the welfare of the people, the wealthy class was rewarded. After the pandemic, many countries stopped printing excessive currency, due to which inflation started to decrease at the global level, but in Pakistan, due to the devaluation of the rupee, fiscal deficit, and current account deficit, inflation broke all previous records.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the increase in the wealth of many of the world’s richest people by more than 100 percent on an annual basis is surprising, which reveals the weaknesses of the current economic system.

Currently, half of the world’s population owns only two percent of the resources, while large multinational companies have been earning an average of 52 percent annual profits for the past three years, he informed.

In some countries, it is not allowed to increase the wealth of the rich by squeezing the masses, while in all the remaining countries, it has become the norm.

He observed that the present economic system can only function if the full tax is collected from influential companies instead of continuous tax concessions, the power of the corporate sector in the country is not allowed to grow beyond limits, and exploitation of the people is not allowed.

The welfare of the people should be taken into consideration, and profit limits should be set instead of open profiteering; otherwise, despair, unemployment, ignorance, and anxiety will continue to increase in society.

He warned that the consequences of such frustration would be very serious, and the rich would not be able to escape the rage of the masses.

K-Electric digitised connections enhancing accessibility, ease

In an increasingly digital landscape, K-Electric has made significant investments to automate and digitise its operations for an enhanced customer experience. Today over 1.5 million of KE’s customer base are interacting virtually with the company. Furthering this vision, K-Electric has digitised its “New Connections” process, a fully digitised platform that embeds convenience, transparency, and customer-centricity.

The new platform replaces lengthier, manual processes with a seamless system that is integrated end-to-end with SAP. This allows applicants of all kinds including residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural to easily apply for and track the progress of their application process in real-time.

Applicants will also be informed of progress on their cases through SMS and email updates and access challans for payments made digitally via approved banking channels.

Dedicated personnel will also be assigned to assist customers requesting for high-load connections above 80 kW.

This initiative reinforces KE’s commitment to its customers by enhancing their accessibility and simplifying the most important first step in the process of energizing a premises. It also aligns with KE’s vision to foster growth; by 2030, the company forecasts a 30% increase in its customer base to 5 million.

Speaking about the milestone, spokesperson KE, Imran Rana remarked, “at KE we understand that the world is increasingly transforming into a virtual ecosystem. Customers require ease, clarity, and transparency. Our new connection website aims to achieve just this. We want to reduce the barriers to access and empower future users of electricity by extending the portfolio of KE’s digital services. We remain focused in anticipating customer needs and taking concrete steps to address them.” He further highlighted KE’s previous digital based interventions such as the launch of KE Live App and the popular KE WhatsApp service.

Steady and determined, KE continues to set the benchmark to improve on power distribution services in Pakistan. With another digital milestone crossed, the company remains focused on a hassle-free experience for those seeking to power their homes, businesses, and lives.

Unity Foods wins top edible oil importer award

Unity Foods was honoured as the top Importer of Edible Oil in Pakistan for the year 2023 during the 6th Pakistan Edible Oil Conference held in Karachi, recently.

Kamran Tessori, the Governor of Sindh, bestowed the award upon Safdar Sajjad, the Executive Director of Unity Foods Limited. As we celebrate this remarkable achievement, Unity Foods remains dedicated to fostering growth, sustainability, and continued success in the industry, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.

US Ambassador visits IBA’s Center for Entrepreneurial Development to endorse the startups landscape

The Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi welcomed the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome, for a networking meeting where Executive Director IBA, Dr. S Akbar Zaidi provided an overview of the IBA Karachi.

Director, IBA-CED, Dr. Lalarukh Ejaz presented a compelling overview of the center’s programs and initiatives. The ambassador was accompanied by U.S. Consul General in Karachi, Conrad Tribble; and Public Affairs Officer, Lee MacManis and others.

The Ambassador enthusiastically engaged in discussions with founders of several notable startups of IBA-CED, including Valeem, Logexcourier, Get Go Rides, Khud Muhafiz, and winners of IBA-CED’s GreenEnovate Waste Management Challenge Royella Trading, and Dominator Bio Tech. He commended their work and appreciated their vision behind the startups.

National Foods Limited: Leading the Change in Education, Literacy, and Women Empowerment on International Day of Education

On International Day of Education celebrated across the world annually on 24th January 2024, National Foods Limited proudly reaffirms its steadfast commitment to transformative education, literacy, and women empowerment through two impactful projects rooted in its rich history and visionary leadership.

National Foods Limited celebrates a two-decade partnership with The Citizens Foundation (TCF) in the Aagahi Adult Literacy Program. Pioneered under the guidance of the late Mr. Abdul Majeed, Co-Founder of National Foods, and TCF Co-Founders, Mr. Ahsan Saleem and Mr. Ateed Riaz, this program has changed the lives of countless individuals. In January 2024, the partnership was strengthened through a strategic MoU signing, amplifying the program’s impact on communities across Pakistan.

This year, National Foods Limited proudly announced its commitment to support 250 learning centers, reinforcing the company’s dedication to community engagement and women’s empowerment. The Aagahi program stands as a beacon of hope, equipping women with foundational skills in math, reading, and writing, thereby creating a ripple effect that positively influences entire households.

Mr. Zahid Majeed, Chairperson at National Foods Limited, emphasized the program’s transformative impact, stating: “Aagahi is not just a literacy initiative; it’s a catalyst for change. We believe in empowering women with the tools they need to shape their lives and contribute meaningfully to their communities.”

The Aagahi Adult Literacy Program embodies National Foods Limited’s commitment to fostering lasting change, breaking barriers, and creating a more inclusive and literate society. Along with the Aagahi program, National Foods Limited continues its impactful journey in education with the School Khana Program in collaboration with Allah Walay Trust. By onboarding a government primary school in Jaranwala, Faisalabad, and sustaining the program in Bhattapind, Lahore, the company addresses the critical issue of child hunger in schools. Approximately 650 primary school children will receive nutritious meals, promoting better health, improved performance in classrooms, and increased retention rates.

National Foods Limited’s dedication to education, literacy, and community welfare highlights its commitment to strategic social responsibility. These initiatives represent the company’s holistic approach to making a positive and lasting impact on the lives of individuals and communities across Pakistan.

Jubilee Life becomes the official insurance partner for HBL PSL Season 9

Jubilee Life Insurance, Pakistan’s largest private sector insurance company, partnered with the Pakistan Cricket Board as the Official Insurance Partner for HBL PSL Season 9. The announcement was made at the Gadaffi Stadium, Lahore, and was attended by Syed Usman Qaiser, Head of Marketing and Brand Management, Jubilee Life Insurance, Naila Bhatti League Commissioner HBL PSL, and Sohaib Sheikh, Director HBL PSL.

This is the 7th consecutive year that Jubilee Life has partnered with HBL PSL as the Official Insurance Partner. Both sides have lauded the partnership as a significant opportunity for the mutual growth and development of the two brands. The HBL PSL Season 9 is set to begin on February 17 in Lahore.

GTR Tyre Presents Kaliwali Zalmi Cricket League Season 3

The Kaliwal Zalmi League Season 3, proudly presented by GTR Tyre, has culminated in an extraordinary cricketing spectacle, showcasing the raw talent and passion that define the heart of cricket in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The event, featuring a record-breaking 782 teams and over 12,500 young cricketers, unfolded across the vibrant landscapes of the province.

The climactic final round of the Kaliwal Zalmi League Season 3, which took place at Kabal Ground Swat from December 29th to 31st, 2023, showcased an intense battle among the top eight teams, each representing the divisional champions from the 34 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). These elite teams included the Hazara Panthers, Bannu Bulls, Khyber Tigers, Swat Hawks, Kohat Knights, Charsadda Eagles, Bara Titans, and DI Khan Stallions.

The pinnacle of the tournament witnessed a riveting clash between two formidable contenders, the Bannu Bulls and Khyber Tigers. The atmosphere at Kabal Ground Swat was charged with excitement as the teams fought fiercely for the coveted title. In a thrilling face-off, the Khyber Tigers displayed exceptional skills and resilience, ultimately emerging victorious in the final match. The triumphant Khyber Tigers secured their position as the champions of the Kaliwal Zalmi League Season 3, marking their success in the prestigious tournament.

Arshad Khan, Education Secretary KPK, along with Asad Usmani, Head of Marketing GTR Tyres, PCB Level 3 Coach Jamal, and other local government officials, graced the closing ceremony, celebrating the success of the cricketing event. GTR Tyre played a pivotal role as the sponsor, reaffirming its commitment to nurturing young talent and making a positive impact in the communities it serves.

The journey began with Phase 1, launched on December 7th, where 782 teams from 34 districts of KPK participated in a grassroots competition that spanned from Peshawar to Kohat, DI Khan to Hazara. The competition showcased the rich tapestry of cricketing fervor in the region, leading to the emergence of 34 district champion teams.

In Phase 2, the 34 district champion teams engaged in intense competition to qualify for the final round of Kaliwal Zalmi League Season 3. The top eight divisional champions—Hazara Panthers, Bannu Bulls, Khyber Tigers, Swat Hawks, Kohat Knights, Charsadda Eagles, Bara Titans, and DI Khan Stallions—emerged victorious, securing their spots in the final round.

Javed Afridi, Chairman of Peshawar Zalmi, expressed gratitude to the young cricketers of KPK for their overwhelming response to the Kalewal Zalmi League, emphasizing a commitment to organizing healthy activities for the youth in the future. CEO of GTR Tyres, Hussain Kuli Khan, echoed this sentiment, stating that GTR believes in organizing sports and healthy activities for the youth in Pakistan.

The successful conclusion of Kaliwal Zalmi League Season 3 stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of GTR Tyre and the cricketing community of KPK, highlighting the importance of promoting sports and nurturing emerging talent for the future. As Asad Usmani remarked during the closing ceremony, “The raw talent displayed by the teams aligns perfectly with our mission to foster and celebrate excellence.

EFU General Brings Insurance Round The Clock

EFU General Insurance Ltd. brings a mobile app, aimed to deliver a premium customer experience with enhanced accessibility for purchasing and managing motor and travel insurance policies at any hour of the day. The app ensures a simple, quick, and seamless customer journey.

This mobile app provides comprehensive details of policy coverage, quotes premium, allows users to make payments through a secure gateway and intimate claims. Customers will now have a simplified policy management system in the palm of their hands.

“Right here, right now. Simply get your Motor and Travel insurance policies round the clock conveniently and instantly.” stated the spokesperson of EFU General.

The app aligns with digitising the insurance landscape and upholding the tradition of delivering premium services to the largest customer base in the non-life insurance sector in Pakistan.

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