SBP KEEPS INTEREST RATE UNCHANGED AT 5.75PC
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has decided to maintain the interest rate at 5.75 percent in its new monetary policy announced on Saturday.
According to the Monetary Policy Statement announced by SBP on Saturday, three features of Pakistan’s economy stand out. First, average headline inflation though higher than FY17 is expected to be lower than earlier outlook and will stay below the target of 6.0 percent, mainly on the back of favorable supply conditions. Second, domestic demand is set to gain further traction as evidenced in the current growth in the real sector, credit to private sector and imports. Third, on the external front, the underperformance of both exports and workers’ remittances greatly impinged upon the current account deficit which reached USD 12.1 billion in FY17 at the start at the start of FY18.
The overall balance of payments is expected to stay at a manageable level in FY18- an assessment relying on steady anticipated financial account inflows and improvement in world growth.
The first two features show that the economy is on an expansionary phase, while the third feature highlights near-term balance of payments challenges. Reflecting further on Consumer Price Index (CPI) tendencies, the headline inflation (in Year on Year terms) has softened at 3.9 percent in June 2017, while core inflation has stayed at 5.5 percent since April 2017. The latter does indicate rising demand.
However, marginally lower six-months ahead inflation expectations- captured by IBA- SBP’s Consumer Confidence Survey of July-2017, show that these remain reasonably anchored.
Accordingly, SBP is projecting average CPI inflation in the range of 4.5 – 5.5 percent for FY18. This projection is explained by lower than anticipated increase in international oil prices, recent behavior of CPI inflation in June 2017, stable administered prices and lower inflationary expectations.
“Cumulative LSM (YoY) growth statistics till May 2017 depict a strong positive momentum with food (especially sugar), steel, cement, automobiles, electronics and pharmaceuticals in the lead. Indeed, July-May LSM growth is 5.7 percent against 3.4 percent recorded during the same period last year,” the statement read.
It also mentioned that the outcome of agriculture sector is far superior to FY16 reaching its target of 3.5 percent in FY17.
This performance is explained by better supplies of factors of production- positively affecting yields of all major crops, and an increase in area under cultivation of sugarcane. The services sector posted 6.0 percent increase in FY17 compared to 5.5 percent increase in FY16. Going forward, these developments will further entrench in FY18.
As far as the money markets are concerned, market liquidity was able to accommodate strong credit demand from the private sector.
Increased economic activity, considerable increase in bank deposits, and low interest rates translated into private sector credit flows in FY17 reaching a decade high of Rs. 748 billion as compared with Rs. 446 billion in FY16.
It is encouraging that fixed investments and working capital loans grew by Rs. 258.5 billion and Rs 360.5 billion in FY17 compared with an expansion of Rs. 171.7 billion and Rs. 219.3 billion last year, respectively.
Demand for consumer financing, especially for auto and personal loans, also gathered pace during FY17. These trends are set to continue in FY18 given the developments on the real side.
THE INDIE ART AND CRAFT SHOW ENDS SUCCESSFULLY
A little rain didn’t dampen spirits or hinder footfall as The Indie Art and Craft show celebrated massive success under The Crafter’s Guild and Firefly on Sunday at The Royal Rodale.
70 participants from Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, and Dubai exhibited an array of crafts and handmade work at the fourth annual summer craft show. The growing popularity of these events has become home to local artists and urban crafters. The platform facilitates the right clientele of hobbyists and enthusiasts, allowing families as well as individuals of varying demographics to enjoy the exhibits, and further granting such participants to find value and success in their work.
Stalls like the Picklenary, Rangoli by Emm Zee and Embellidors received recognition for their efforts through The Guild Award, while majority of stalls were swept clean by evening in terms of response and sales. The event was a mix of color, beautiful displays and Happiness is Handmade energies for participants and visitors alike and is all set for its next edition in December.
THE NEW NOKIA 105 AND NOKIA 130 WITH FANTASTIC FEATURES AVAILABLE
HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, today announced the dual release of both the Nokia 105 and Nokia 130. Featuring refreshed, ergonomic designs, both phones come packed with fantastic features, effortlessly combining reliability and excellent value and durability. Both models feature 1.8-inch colour screens, handy LED torch lights and sleek, contoured designs, with each phone being available in a range of three colours.
With more than 1.3 billion feature phone users around the world, many from markets in Asia and Africai, the reliability and excellent value that both the Nokia 105 and Nokia 130 offer is set to ensure yet more people around the world can get connected.
Nokia 105: designed to take on the everyday
With well over 200 million Nokia 105s sold to date around the world, this award winning handset now features an all new sculpted ergonomic design, outstanding battery life, and improved usability, with a larger screen size and new tactile island key-mat. Inspired by the Nokia phone design heritage, the new contoured style of the Nokia 105 makes it a superb fit for your hand thanks to its beautiful, natural shape. With inherent colour throughout its polycarbonate casing minimising the visual impact of knocks and bumps, the Nokia 105 is built to take on everyday life. It offers you the quality, reliability, and robust design you would expect from a Nokia phone.
The new key-mat features separated keys for improved usability, while the larger 1.8-inch screen delivers a better viewing experience when playing your favourite games, like Snake Xenzia, which comes preloaded. Taking full advantage of the larger screen, the Nokia 105 also comes preloaded with two try and buy games – Doodle Jump and Crossy Roadii.
Plus, with up to 15 hoursiii talk time and a month long standbyiii, the Nokia 105 lets you talk from sunrise to sunset on just one charge. And with enough storage space for up to 500 text messages and up to 2,000 contacts, you’ll always be able to stay connected.
Available in Dual and Single SIM variantsiv, the Nokia 105 also features an inbuilt FM Radio and charges using a standard Micro USB cable (USB 2.0).
Nokia 130: feed your playful side
No matter where you are or what you’re doing, music makes life a lot more fun. With up to 44 hours of FM radio playback timev and room for thousands of songs when you add up to 32GB of MicroSD card storage, the Nokia 130 ensures you’ll always have the right track for the moment.
If video is your thing, the clear 1.8-inch colour screen offers a great viewing experience when enjoying video via a MicroSD cardvi. And with 11.5 hours of video playback on a single charge, you can turn free time into entertainment time. The Nokia 130 features Bluetooth support for a headset or speakers – perfect for wireless listening to your favourite playlist on the go.
With its inbuilt cameravii, the Nokia 130 lets you take pictures and record video clips, which you can then play back using a MicroSD card. And with the Nokia 130, sharing your content is simple. Share videos, contacts and more simply by enabling Bluetooth and bringing your Nokia 130 close to another Bluetooth-enabled phone for quick and easy transferviii. The Nokia 130 also supports a MicroSD card, expandable up to 32 GB.
“With more than 4 billion people remaining offlineix and unable to benefit from the social and economic development opportunities of the internet, simply getting connected by voice and text is still such an important step for many people around the world,” commented Arto Nummela, CEO, HMD Global. “More than 400 million feature phones were sold globally in 2016x. We cannot underestimate the need and benefit of being connected and we are dedicated to delivering devices that can enable many people around the world to expand their horizon.”
Both the Nokia 105 and the Nokia 130 feature the ever-popular LED torchlight – simply press the up key twice to quickly turn the torch on and off.
Globally, both the Nokia 130 and Nokia 105 are available in Dual and Single SIM variantsiv. However, both the devices will be available in Pakistan in dual SIM variant only.
In Pakistan, Nokia 105 dual SIM will be priced at PKR 2080/- and will be available in blue, white and black – each colour with a matte finish.
Available in red, grey and black, the Nokia 130 dual SIM will retail for PKR 3310/-.
Both phones will be available at retail stores in Pakistan from August 2017.
NBP GROWS ITS REMITTANCE’S MARKET SHARE
Seldom before home remittances have been vitally important for emerging economies like Pakistan as they are today. With immense pressure on sustaining and improving our foreign currency reserves, in the backdrop of struggling exports, home remittances has the potential to fill in the critical gap. “NBP has experienced a growth in its Home Remittance’s market share despite a reduction in home remittances by 3.08% in FY2017”, said S. H. Irtiza Kazmi, Group Head – Global Home Remittances at NBP. This turnaround has been made possible by the keen interest that the NBP management has shown in improving the overall business for the bank. Continuous efforts have been made by NBP to provide superior services to its remittance customers through its extensive online branch network of more than 1,400 branches and 1100 ATMs, new alliances with international money sending businesses (MSBs) and through focused marketing of its products both in the local as well as international markets. Home remittances has been one of the major factors sustaining the economy over the past several years. Special focus by the Ministry of Finance and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) through Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) has helped increase the remittances to Pakistan through legal channels from USD11.20 billion in 2011 to USD19.30 billion in 2017.
Remittances volume from Australia to NBP increased by 150%+ during June 2017 alone. This was the result of one of several marketing campaigns that NBP launched during Apr-Jun quarter. One of the marketing campaigns with a leading MSB in GCC (including KSA and UAE) resulted in volume growth of 16% month-on-month. Yet another marketing campaign with a leading bank in KSA showed volume increase of 17%. Several similar campaigns are also planned to be launched in the second half of 2017.
NBP is also working closely with the Ministry of Overseas Employment and HR development and Pakistani embassies/consulates across the globe to educate the existing and future expatriates regarding NBP’s remittance services. NBP has taken a lead in promoting legal channels to send remittances to Pakistan and discouraging Hundi/Hawala which are the key factors hampering the growth of formal remittance business in Pakistan through legal/banking channels.
Introduction of Foree Remittance Account, an account designed especially for the remittance customers by National Bank is another step towards promoting financial inclusion. It is the most convenient way to receive remittances by beneficiaries in Pakistan getting free SMS alerts. The Foree Remittance Account launched in 2014, has seen a stable growth in the deposit base for the bank while providing banking services to the unbanked population. With SBP’s vision to increase the ATM penetration, NBP Foree Remittance Account holders have the facility to withdraw cash from any linked ATM across Pakistan.
It is NBP’s vision to provide unmatched services to its remittance customers through digital platform integration. NBP is also moving towards creating digital disruption in the existing remittance market by introducing technologically advanced products to its customers. This will eliminate the need to visit a branch to collect remittances or even to visit an ATM hence offering a one window solution for various banking needs.
NBP, under the leadership of a forward-looking management is striving with renewed vigor and fervor to provide seamless banking services to all its customers. Improving our services is the number one priority and we will leave no stone unturned to achieve new heights in our service standards. We are committed to live by our slogan of being The Nation’s Bank.
MAHVASH & JAHANGIR SIDDIQUI FOUNDATION SPONSORS YOUNG PROFESSIONALS TO ATTEND EAD PROGRAM
Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation (MJSF) sponsored young professionals for a weeklong summer program at the European Academy of Diplomacy in Warsaw, Poland. The participants were selected from all over Pakistan after extensive interview sessions for the programme “Diplomatic Skills Masterclass”.
This is the third consecutive year MJSF is collaborating with the European Academy of Diplomacy for aspiring diplomats and young professionals as part of its belief in investing in progressive learning programs for the betterment of Pakistan. MJSF has also been involved in similar summer programs taking place at National University of Singapore and Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar.
The program prepared the participants for the challenges and rigors of diplomacy, public speaking, bilateral negotiations, fundamentals of leadership, diplomatic protocol, international business and working in multinational organizations.
The program made participants engaged in 30 hours of simulations, workshops and lectures using modern techniques, held at the European Academy of diplomacy.
The Mahvash and Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation is a non-profit organization that has been working towards healthcare, education and social enterprise through sustainable development to underprivileged members of society with a special focus on women, minorities, children and disabled individuals. Foundation goal is to promote economic development and to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential.
JS Group conducts its Corporate Social Responsibility through a series of independent chairtable foundations led by the Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation.
K-ELECTRIC REITERATES ITS COMMITMENT TO MEET CITY’S GROWING POWER DEMAND
The second day of a two-day hearing on K-Electric’s (KE) review motion was held on 14th July 2017, at a local hotel in Karachi. Organized by NEPRA, the proceeding was attended by businessmen, renowned professionals, philanthropists and civil society.
Speaking on KE’s review motion, representatives of industrial associations, appreciated KE’s decision of granting 100% load-shed exemption to industries and stated that the previously allowed performance based structure led to operational improvements in KE. They added that a performance based structure is ideal in case of a Vertically Integrated Utility (VIU) to enable it to continuously invest across the value chain and therefore NEPRA should consider the same for KE.
Commenting on the likely implications of the new tariff presented by KE in its review motion, stakeholders deliberated upon the importance of investment for Karachi’s power infrastructure and stressed that KE’s tariff should ensure the viability and sustainability of the company so that it may undertake the required investments to strengthen its infrastructure and better serve the consumers.
The stakeholders also urged NEPRA to carefully assess the possible repercussions of the tariff, as lack of investments in the given scenario would have far reaching implications, particularly for the consumers including increased load-shed. They added that it is critical that NEPRA objectively assesses these implications and revises the tariff so that consumers may benefit and the economy may prosper.
Addressing the concerns and observations put forward by the audience, Aamir Ghaziani, Director Finance & Regulations at KE, reassured the utility’s commitment towards meeting the growing power demand and providing reliable and uninterrupted supply to its consumers for which a sustainable tariff would be essential. However, the determined tariff 2017 neither fully covers the costs nor allows adequate returns, resultantly will turn KE into losses, and impair KE’s ability to invest. KE therefore, requested NEPRA to ensure that the tariff allows for sustainable operations, offers reasonable returns and enables execution of KE’s investment plan.
JAZZ INTRODUCES LEVER A WORLD CLASS TALENT ACQUISITION SYSTEM
Jazz, Pakistan’s number one Telco, announced that it is adopting a sophisticated world class digital talent acquisition platform called Lever. This system aims to improve a prospective candidate’s application experience through automation and transparency.
Speaking on the occasion, Asghar Jameel, Chief Human Resource Officer, Jazz, “Jazz is a world-class organization where people experience spell agility, digitalization and fun. Talent is our strongest asset and we are investing in solutions that strengthen talent experiences. This partnership with Lever allows us to adopt cutting edge talent acquisition technology that is inherently human, social, and collaborative.”
Lever makes it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to hire candidates that are a cultural fit and ensures the only the most qualified and adaptable candidates join the organization.
“Leading companies all over the world are choosing Lever’s modern recruiting software to make talent a competitive differentiator. We’re excited to partner with a market leader like Jazz and bring collaborative hiring to Pakistan,” said Sarah Nahm, CEO, Lever.
This innovative platform will help JAZZ acquire the right talent to meet its ambitious digital journey ahead.
APBF CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT NEW AND VP OF SUNDAR INDUSTRIAL ESTATE
The ’All Pakistan Business Forum’ (APBF) has officially congratulated its National Board members – Mr. Asif Tipoo and Mr. Syed Maaz Mahmood, who have been recently appointed as the President and Vice-President of the Management-Board of the Sundar Industrial Estate in Lahore.
The APBF officials extended best wishes and expressed their confidence that both these distinguished members have exceptional competence and managerial acumen, to successfully execute their responsibilities as the President and Vice-President, to take the Sundar Industrial Estate to new heights of performance and progress.
The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi stated that; “Mr. Asif Tipoo and Syed Maaz Mahmood will prove to be valuable contributors to the Board of Management at Sundar Industrial Estate. The Board has expressed its trust in the leadership qualities of these highly accomplished members of the APBF. We are confident that they will expand the vision and lead the Estate to new milestones of robust performance to achieve ambitious objectives.
The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) is a vibrant business association which promotes and protects the interests of the business community and industry. It also suggests and advises the Government sector, regarding policy formulation, regulatory realignments and implementation in the commercial and industrial sectors of the economy. APBF has been consistently playing a positive role in elevation of standards and facilitation of business activity in Pakistan.