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TPL LIFE AND MOBILINK MICROFINANCE BANK ENTER INTO A STRATEGIC ALLIANCE

TPL Life and Mobilink Microfinance Bank (MMFB) have inked an agreement whereby TPL Life’s innovative life insurance and health insurance products will be available through Mobilink Microfinance Bank branches.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Faisal Abbasi, CEO, TPL Life while shedding light on the importance of insurance products designed for the needs of the common man said, “Since our inception, we have made it a point to be at the forefront of product innovation in the insurance industry. Our products available through MMFB are tailor made to cater to the loss protection needs of less privileged of our nation.” He further shed light on the importance of insurance products which address the needs of common man.

Mr. Ghazanfar Azzam – CEO, Mobilink Microfinance Bank, emphasized on the strategic vision of the bank and how it will revolutionize the industry as well as add phenomenal value to Pakistan’s economy and said “It is our mission to develop financial solutions for the economically underprivileged of the society. This alliance is another thread in that loop. We see a huge potential in microfinance and how it can revolutionize the banking industry and will continue to develop state of the art products and services to stay ahead in harnessing Pakistan’s economy.”

TPL Life provides innovative life and health insurance products which adhere to international standards and address the divergent needs of Pakistanis. The company came into existence with a mandate of providing top notch quality and affordable insurance solutions based on the strength of their seasoned professionals.

Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL) is a leading microfinance bank of Pakistan, backed by VEON, a global telecom giant. MMBL aims to reach out to the vast majority of people of Pakistan who remain financially excluded, by leveraging digital and allied technologies, thus contributing in the promotion of financial inclusion.

SBP AND GOVT SUPPORT ESSENTIAL FOR PROMOTION OF ISLAMIC BANKING: NBP PRESIDENT

As a part of awareness drive for Islamic Banking & Finance, a seminar was organized recently at a local hotel in Karachi. The event started with the opening and welcome note by prominent personalities related to Islamic banking industry. It was followed by the key note address by the Chief Guest, Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion to the packed audience Saeed Ahmad, President and CEO of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) on the Mega Event, emphasized upon the need to clarify misconception about Islamic banking and create awareness among public. Removing misperceptions and putting forward clarification to clarify questions in the minds of potential customers, academia and scholars will pave the way to further advance the cause of the industry.

Saeed Ahmad also acknowledged the positive and supportive role of the regulatory authority, State Bank of Pakistan, for continuously promoting Islamic Banking sector and facilitating approvals for the conversion of conventional branches into Islamic banking branches. He was pleased to hear from Mr. Tariq Bajwa, the Governor of SBP that Governor is committed to maintain SBP’s support for the sector. Strategic aim to achieve 20% share target for Islamic banking sector by 2020 remains intact. As per a study entitled as “Knowledge, Aptitude and Practice (KAP)” commissioned by SBP & DFID UK, 74% of consumers prefer Islamic Banking. However current level of around 12% share leaves a gap of 62%. Saeed Ahmad said that it will not be possible for Islamic Banking to achieve its full potential without support from SBP and the Government. Islamic Banking fits well in the Government’s “National Financial Inclusion Strategy” which aims to achieve 50% financial inclusion by 2020.

Saeed Ahmad reiterated that the biggest characteristic of Islamic banking is that it relates to real economic activities and there is no place for excessive risk taking or speculative activities. He emphasized that ulema may play a very important role in attracting public to riba free banking offered by Islamic Banks. He, however, advised Islamic Banks to have open dialogue with scholars in Masajid to remove their reservations and misunderstanding. According to him, this will create a flood of demand for Islamic banking.

In his speech, Mr. Saeed Ahmad emphasized the importance of Islamic Banking for NBP as well. He highlighted that NBP Aitemaad Islamic Banking has achieved a score of 134 Islamic Banking Branches all over Pakistan. He mentioned that he was very confident that the future of Islamic banking industry is very bright but required passion and dedicated efforts from all those associated with it.

In addition to the Governor SBP, Mr. Jameel Ahmed Deputy Governor SBP, Mr. Samar Hasnain Executive Director SBP, Mr. Irfan Siddiqui President Meezan Bank, Mr. Shafqat Ahmed CEO of Albaraka, Dr. Imran Usmani, experts on Islamic Banking also took part in the event and emphasized upon the importance of the sector and problems faced by it. They acknowledged and appreciated Mr. Saeed Ahmad’s services for Islamic finance during his tenure at SBP as Deputy Governor and his commitment to assist in solving issues faced by the sector.

NOKIA 6 IS AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN PAKISTAN

HMD Global – the home of Nokia Phones, announced the launch of Nokia 6 last week . It is the third Android-powered smartphone of Nokia, which will be available across all local markets in Pakistan.

Unveiled earlier this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, these devices combine superior craftsmanship, distinctive design and powerful entertainment features, offering you the ability to use your phone, your way.

Speaking on the launch of Nokia 6 in Pakistan, Kamran Khan, Head of Near East, HMD Global said, “Ever since the new Nokia smartphone range had been announced at the MWC in Barcelona, we have received an overwhelming response from smartphone users across the globe who have welcomed the return of Nokia Phones with amazing zeal.”

“Today, It gives me immense pleasure to announce the launch of the much awaited Nokia 6 in Pakistan, delivering performance and immersive entertainment in a premium and extremely robust design, at an attractive price”, added Kamran Khan.

Combining superior craftsmanship and distinctive design with an immersive audio experience and a 5.5î full HD screen, the new Nokia 6 delivers a truly premium smartphone experience. The unibody of the Nokia 6 is crafted from a single block of 6000 series aluminium and is perfect for those who want a robust phone with outstanding entertainment credentials. The smart audio amplifier with dual speakers allow consumers to experience a deep bass and unmatched clarity, whilst Dolby Atmos® sound delivers a powerfully moving entertainment experience.

With outstanding color reproduction, the Nokia 6 has a fully laminated display stack delivering excellent sunlight readability without compromising the slim form. The Nokia 6 comes with the dual SIM variant in Pakistan, powered by the Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 430 mobile platform and the Qualcomm® AdrenoTM 505 graphics processor, the Nokia 6 strikes the perfect balance between performance and power consumption, designed to deliver premium quality entertainment with battery life to spare, maximizing your entertainment experience on the go. The Nokia 6 is available in three distinct colors – Matte Black, Silver and Tampered Blue, and will retail at PKR 27,900.

With all Nokia smartphones you will always have the latest pure Android experience for your device. With monthly security updates your Nokia smartphone is safe, up-to-date as well as clutter-free – putting choice at the heart of the consumer experience. And with the latest Android come the latest features including the latest capabilities of Doze, which saves battery life while the phone is in a pocket or bag. The new Nokia smartphones feature Google’s most recent innovation, the Google Assistant, builds further on a great Android experience. Our teams have worked together to ensure conversations with the Google Assistant happen seamlessly on Nokia smartphones.

Availability:

The Nokia 6 will be available on 08 August 2017 from Advance Telecom and will retail at PKR 27,900/-

MIR HASIL KHAN BAZINGO ASSURED THE SHIPPING & LOGISTICS INDUSTRY FOR GOVERNMENT’S FULL SUPPORT

The well attended 7th Sustainable Shipping, Logistics & Supply Chain Management Conference & Exhibition ended with speech by Chief Guest Mir Hasil Khan Bazinjo (Federal Minister for Ports & Shipping, Government of Pakistan).

In his speech the Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping accepted the deliberations, concerns and recommendations of the conference being shipping and logistics support services in shambles in our country, infra structure in a dilapidated state and supply chain management depends on out sourcing. He not only assured his support but also promised to redress the grievances of the business community. He further assured the participants of the conference of his full assistance for the growth and development of warehousing and port in the country. He also suggested to change the name of his ministry to Maritime Ministry. The Conference was also attended by Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Projects), Pakistan Navy, Naheed Memon, Chairperson, Sindh Board of Investment, Brgd Rashid Siddiqi, Executive Director, PNSC and many other professionals. They also addressed to the august gathering.

Earlier, in the morning, the conference was inaugurated by Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Projects), Pakistan Navy and attended by prominent Speakers Ms. Naheed Memon, Chairperson, SBOI, Tariq Rangoonwala, Chairman, ICC Pakistan, A Hashim, President & CEO, Homepack Freight, Ali Tariq, Managing Director, Taq Logistics, Fahim Sulaiman, Director Jang & Geo Tv, Mohammed Hanif Ajari, Director Supply Chain, Getzs Pharma, Ateeq Ur Rehman, CEO, Coastals Packers and others. Deputy Chief of Naval Staff emphasized to bring the technologies in the trade and get the benefits of digitalization. Naheed Memon briefed the corporate audience about the developments in CPEC and the role of sindh government and SBOI.

Mehmood Tareen Founder & CEO, The Professionals Network and the organizer of the conference emphasized on the importance of such Conferences, he thanked for coordination of sponsors, participants and facilitators for their valuable support for making this conference a grand success and result oriented. He promised to continue his efforts for the betterment of supply chain solutions.

Ateeq Ur Rehman spoke of misplaced priorities and gross negligence in the shipping, logistics and warehousing industry of Pakistan. He requested the government to release the burden of the supply chain management entrepreneurs from imposed indirect and withholding taxes. He suggested reducing the custom duty on the import of pre engineered building (Warehouse) and place it on zero rating, thus this will encourage the growth of warehousing in the country.

At the concluding of the event, nine companies were awarded with the Executive Green Supply Chain Award by the Federal Minster Ports & Shipping. Companies include were, PNSC, CEI Logistics, APL Logistics, Emirates Logistics, Uniship Pakistan, Searle Pakistan, Assurety Consulting, BOML CFS Warehousing and Raaziq International.

K-ELECTRIC NOTIFIES PAKISTAN STOCK EXCHANGE FOR DEVELOPMENT OF 900 MW BQPS-III

K-Electric has issued a notification to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) about development of 900 MW (450 MW x 2) RLNG based Combined Cycle Power Plant at Bin Qasim Power Station Complex (BQPS-III).

The plan for the development of BQPS-III, including simultaneous upgrades to associated transmission infrastructure with an estimated cost of US$ 1 billion, was unveiled by the power utility last month and the notification sent to PSX was issued today after approval of the same by the Board of Directors of K-Electric in a meeting held on Wednesday at KE head office. The Board noted with concern that favorable result of company’s review petition on Multi Year Tariff (MYT) determination 2017, pending NEPRA is critical for financing and development of this mega project.

As per the latest KE’s Multi Year Tariff (MYT) determination issued by NEPRA, the investment plan has been fixed and it does not include the investment for proposed BQPS-III plant. KE already has filed a tariff review motion with NEPRA and requested for a flexible performance based tariff where additional investments are possible including 900 MW BQPS-III plant.

The power demand of Karachi is increasing exponentially with growing economic, industrial and residential infrastructure. In consideration of the demand supply gap of the mega city, it is direly needed to upgrade the power infrastructure with added investment and the same is not financially sustainable unless the review petition on MYT pending with NEPRA is decided with a view to undertake the sustainability of KE’s future cash flows in a realistic manner.

The Bin Qasim Power Station-III comprises two power units of 450 MW each. The first unit is targeted to start production by summer 2018 whereas the second unit is expected to be commissioned by end of 2019. The overall project, including a state-of-the-art power plant and simultaneous transmission upgrades will enhance the reliability of power supply across K-Electric’s network. Once completed, BQPS-III will represent one of the largest private sector investments of its kind in the country’s power sector.

According to KE spokesperson, “This is indeed a milestone which also reflects KE’s commitment to significantly increase the generation capacity and is poised to play a critical role in further supporting the energy needs of Karachi. While completion of the project is subject to all statutory and regulatory requirements and corporate as well as commercial actions, we aim to commission the project in the fastest possible time and are confident that with the right facilitation from all quarters, partial power from the plant may be added to our supply as soon as summer of 2018.”

The power utility is hopeful that the policy makers and the regulatory authorities will continue to ensure an enabling business environment through a conducive Multi-Year Tariff that will allow K-Electric to not only complete this project but also proceed with other such projects in the future. K-Electric remains fully committed to further improve the availability and reliability of supply to the people of Karachi and to support the economic growth of Karachi and Pakistan.

K-ELECTRIC RECORDS IMPROVEMENT IN PROFIT LAST YEAR

The Board of Directors of K-Electric Limited convened on Wednesday at KE headquarters, to review the Company’s performance for the year ended 30 June 2016.

In its financial results issued to the PSX, KE declared profits of PKR 32.75 billion including deferred tax of Rs 7.95 billion during the period as compared to PKR 28.32 billion during the same period of FY 2015. The company’s earnings per share (EPS) also increased to 1.19 rupees per share as compared to 1.03 rupees.

The main reason for efficiency improvement is due to the reduction in transmission and distribution losses, which decreased to 22.2% compared to 23.7% last year, showing a reduction of 1.5%. The reduction in T&D losses, together with the gains resulting from higher electricity units sent out (FY 2016: 16,545 GWh; FY 2015: 16,111 GWh), have led to an improvement in EBITDA by 28.1%.

The Board in recognition of the continuing improvement plan by K Electric across all operations decided not to declare any dividend, and to reinvest the profit earned in the business. Capital expense of PKR 26 billion has been invested in generation, transmission and distribution during the reporting period. The board emphasized the need for significant investment in reducing the supply and demand gap by adding more generation and enhancing the transmission and distribution network. In this regard, cash generated will be invested back in the business, with no dividend to the shareholders.

The Board further observed that a favorable result of Company’s review petition on Multi-Year Tariff (MYT) determination 2017, pending with NEPRA is critical for sustaining the transformation, efficient operations and profitability of the Company.

According to Tayyab Tareen, CEO, K-Electric, “KE’s financial results have shown a sustained improvement over the years. KE’s transformation continues to be recognized as a success story of privatization and strengthens our position as a progressive power utility. The growth in EPS and EBITDA is yet another reflection of our strong performance, sustained investments in our systems and infrastructure to enhance fleet efficiency and services to our customers. We are optimistic that we will continue to build infrastructure for enhancing our ability to serve our customers.”

The power utility remains fully committed to its vision statement of ’Energizing Karachi’ while serving over 25 million people of Karachi and its adjoining areas.

IMPERIUM HOSPITALITY SIGNS HOTEL FRANCHISE AGREEMENT WITH STARWOOD

Imperium Hospitality has signed a hotel franchise agreement for Sheraton Grand Lahore Hotel with Starwood, the leading hotel company in the world. Starwood the parent company of Sheraton Grand Hotel reflects excellence through an inspiring lifestyle with five star plus hotel.

The CEO of Imperium Hospitality Mr. Qasim Jafri shared his views and commented, “We intend to surpass international benchmarks, not match them. Imperium Hospitality is re-engineering premium hospitality and luxury living landscape of Pakistan. We strongly believe that with our quest for excellence, combined with cutting edge skills in planning, construction, and operations, we will deliver unparalleled architectural design with a stunning hospitality experience.”

Mr. Qasim Jafri – Chief Executive Officer of Imperium Hospitality and Mr. Jerome Briet – Vice President of Development Middle East & Africa, Marriott International signed the agreement. Mr. Ayub Izhar, Mr. Abbas Ali Khan, Mr. Raza Ali Khan, Mr. Sheraz J. Monnoo, and Mr. Afan Aziz from Imperium Hospitality attended the event.

With the recent merger of Starwood hotels and Marriott International in 2016, Sheraton became part of world’s largest hotel company.

HBL AND DARAZ OFFER MEGA DISCOUNT FOR 70 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

This August, HBL and Daraz are celebrating a story that entails the blood, sweat, tears and dreams of millions of Pakistanis. As an institution, HBL is the largest bank of Pakistan, whereas Daraz is the digital powerhouse of the country, proud to have given e-commerce culture a home to call its own in Pakistan. Independence Day provides the two a two-fold opportunity to honor the traditions of the past and brace for the innovations of the future.

In a short span of time, Daraz has cast a wide net over Pakistani commerce, its services penetrating the most bustling of metropolises and the humblest of villages. Together, HBL and Daraz are united in their desire to deliver joys for the Pakistani consumers.

In the words of Daraz Managing Director Zain Suharwardy, “As a pioneering, youth-driven e-commerce company, we cannot sit hunched over the weight of what has been. We’d much rather ask ’What can be?’ ’What can be?’ is a question Daraz asked itself when first pioneering e-commerce in Pakistan. The HBL Independence Day ShopFest goes out to these fans, spread as they are across the length and breadth of Pakistan.”

Speaking on this occasion, Mr. Aamir Kureshi, Head Global Consumer Banking, HBL said, “HBL is proud to partner with Daraz.pk to offer our card customers additional value and a secured, convenient online shopping experience. While we are continuously exploring new ways of offering our customers a rewarding card experience, our partnership with Daraz is a step towards promoting e-commerce card usage in Pakistan”.

Join HBL and Daraz in the country’s 70th Independence Day Celebrations, as we continue to restlessly pursue the question: What is next? For, it is on the cutting edge of technology and digital culture and the power of connectivity to bring people together- that we find our purpose.

The HBL Independence ShopFest will bring discounts up to 70%, to celebrate 70 years of independence. Additional discounts will be available to all HBL credit and debit cardholders.

“Starting midnight on the 13th of August, a celebration of independence awaits. Prepare your wish lists, mark those calendars in green and download the Daraz app while you’re at it! It’s time to rekindle the flame. A forward-looking, progressive Pakistan is not a place only in name: we’ll see you there,” Team Daraz.

ACCA SIGNS MOU WITH TELENOR TO PROMOTE SHARED SERVICES AMONG FINANCE COMMUNITY

The benefits of standalone shared services and outsourcing are well understood and proven. They typically include cost reduction, enhanced efficiency, improved control, better quality and service levels, and a greater focus on the core business. The global finance outsourcing market size is around $35 billion and is growing annually. If Pakistan succeeds in getting a share from the pie, it will help in the creation of around 100,000 accounting jobs in the next few years. Pakistan needs to concentrate on developing a proper eco system of IT and telecom sector supplemented with favourable policies as per global requirements the growth in this sector will be phenomenal.

Telenor Global Shared Services is the shared services centre of Telenor Pakistan. and actively seeks opportunities to drive quality and efficiency improvements across Telenor’s business units worldwide using shared services as a vehicle. Telenor recognizes that finance functions of the future are changing and they will need new ways of operating but most importantly, new ways to leverage learning partnerships.

Speaking at the recently held MoU signing ceremony between the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Telenor GSS Pakistan, Imran Ashraf, CEO Telenor GSS Pakistan said: “Tenyears of collaboration with ACCA speaks for itself. ACCA is a credible organisation and this agreement is an example of a partnership where two organisations will work together for the betterment of the profession. With uncertainty being the new norm, it is important to work together, to gain competencies from partnerships and shared resources to cut costs. For me the real brand is the youth working for Telenor GSS Pakistan and we want to prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead.”

Head of ACCA Pakistan, Sajjeed Aslam, highlighted, “ACCA Pakistan understands that shared services roles have become an attractive career choice for finance professionals. Automation and artificial intelligence sit well within the shared services model and ACCA is working very hard to reposition shared services from back office to hotbed of innovation in Pakistan. According to a recent survey of over 260 shared service leaders by ACCA, 45% of the respondents perceive that a finance shared services leadership role provides the opportunity to develop a long-term career in business operations (shared services or GBS). Our MoU with TGSS will further promote the acceptance of shared services among finance community as a place they’d desire to work as part of their career plan.”

Also present at the ceremony was Stuart Dunlop, Regional Director, MENASA Markets, ACCA spoke about the long standing relationship between the two organisations and that both entities had a common vision and objective of promoting shared services so that it will become a mainstream finance function career path in the future.

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