THE SMART SCHOOL DISTRIBUTES CASH PRIZES AMONGST THE HIGH ACHIEVERS OF MATRIC EXAMINATIONS
Pakistan’s largest school franchise school network, The Smart School through its Southern Region honoured 51 students from 17 campuses for their high achievement in Matric Board Examination 2016-17. The Smart School honoured High Achievers, their proud parents and Network Associates (Business Partners) at a local hotel. The event was attended by over 300 people including students, parents, teachers, school owners and southern region staff.
Mr. Adil Ismail (General Manager Sothern Region, The Smart School) addressed the ceremony saying that “it is a pleasure to have such honourable gathering. These high achievers are success factor of The Smart School. The whole process is a team effort of Southern Region Team, NWAs, Students, Teachers and their parents.
Later on Mian Ahmad Farhan (Project Director, The Smart School) addressed the ceremony and mentioned that “at The Smart School we are focusing on smart learning through utilizing technology advancements and by following best practices in addressing the youth. I want the youth to emphasize on the character building by rightly identifying your responsibilities in specific roles.
We are very optimistic for our future through the uniqueness of The Smart College project and therefore we are announcing a privileged scholarship to all Smart School students upon taking admission in college.
Mian Ahmad Farhan (Project Director, The Smart School) joined Mr. Adil Ismail (General Manager Sothern Region, The Smart School) in distributing awards and cash prizes amongst the high achiever students and school owners. The ceremony further included a musical performance by The Smart School students from various campuses, which showcased the spirit of holistic education fostered by The Smart School. (A project of The City School).
Established under the aegis of The City School, The Smart School is committed to provide an ideal learning environment through technology for all children, so that they are not left behind in rapid-revolving world. We provide quality education from kindergarten right up till Matriculation, in efficient and well-organized schools.
Established in Karachi in 1978, The City School today is one of the largest private school networks in Pakistan with branches all over the major cities across the country. It currently has 185 schools in 52 cities with over 126,000 students in 458 owned and franchised schools. While its Head Office is in Lahore, its regional offices support a network of branches throughout Pakistan and overseas.
PAKISTAN BUSINESSES SHORTLISTED FOR SHELL GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP INNOVATION PRIZE
Three Entrepreneurs from Pakistan have been shortlisted for Shell LiveWIRE ’Top Ten Innovators’ a global competition which highlights and rewards LiveWIRE businesses that demonstrate excellence in innovation.
‘Top Ten Innovators’ is a worldwide competition open to the alumni of Shell LiveWIRE, a Royal Dutch Shell Social Investment Programme, operating in 15 countries, which enables young people to start their own business and create employment. A public vote, of theshortlisted businesses, is taking place between the 1st – 8th September, with the results helping to determine the winners. The Top Ten will be announced in November during Global Entrepreneurship Week, 13th-19th November.
Joanna Cochrane, VP Social Performance at Shell said “Shell LiveWIRE is very important to Shell, because when we help local entrepreneurs to set up businesses, they create long term sources of income for communities, they create jobs and they help to find innovative solutions to social and economic problems.”
Our Pakistani entrepreneurs have the opportunity to win a top prize of US $15,000, three Runner-up prizes of US $10,000 or seven Merit awards of US $5,000. The programme aims to create role models for other young entrepreneurs, and demonstrate that introducing innovation supports growth and job creation.
You can vote for the organisation you want to win on the website: http://topteninnovators.shell-livewire.com/. Below are the nominations from Pakistan:
SehatKahani, bridges healthcare inequality, connecting female doctors with low-income groups via a telehealth eco-system.
SheKab, a subscription based carpooling service connecting women with safe affordable and reliable transport solutions.
Wonder Tree, using augmented reality technology toprovide a cost-effective education tool for teaching children with special education needs.
For Top Ten Innovators 2015, we had LapPro Solutions from Pakistan receive the runner up prize, their medical innovation simulates laparoscopic surgery, providing a training resource for surgeons to learn and practice the technique at a fraction of the cost of comparable products
Two merit awards were presented to Kaghaz Kay Karnamay, a craft paper making and recycling enterprise which repurposes waste to produce a diverse range of paper products, and SK Motor Syndicate a vehicle restoration, modification and repairs company with a used car retail arm.
The global winner for 2015 was Esther Wang, winning the competition was the start of her journey to becoming a global supplier. Her innovation was the toy ’Rabbit Ray’, which is used to calm young patients undergoing medical procedures. Since the business started in 2012, the product has been used with over 10,400 children in several hospitals.
Esther comments, “The Shell LiveWIRE Global Top Ten Innovators Award strengthened Joytingle’s brand, which enabled Rabbit Ray to support more children worldwide.
“As an Asian company introducing our products overseas, having such a prestigious international award behind us is a fantastic endorsement and tells hospitals worldwide that our product is worth checking out.”
STANDARD CHARTERED BANK (PAKISTAN) LIMITED’S ANNOUNCES
H1 2017 Results
Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited has announced its H1 2017 Results.
The Bank declared a Profit (before tax) of PKR 8.6 billion in H1 2017.
Revenue was lower by PKR 1.6 billion primarily due to reduced margins and re-pricing within the investments portfolio. However, underlying client income across all segments has increased. Administrative costs continue to be well managed through operational efficiencies and disciplined spending with in-country cost decreasing by 3per cent from comparative period of last year.
The Bank’s advances have grown by 26per cent since the start of this year. On the liabilities side, the bank’s total deposits grew by 4per cent, whereas current accounts grew by 8per cent since the start of this year.
The continuous increase in low cost deposits has significantly supported the Bank’s performance with current and savings accounts comprising 93per cent of the deposit base.
Interim cash dividend of 7.50 % (Re. 0.75/- per share) in respect of the half year ended June 30, 2017 has been declared by the Board of Directors in their meeting held on August 28, 2017.
Commenting on the results Shazad Dada, Chief Executive, Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited, said, “These results demonstrate resilience of our business. We are well capitalised, highly liquid and are becoming stronger, leaner and more efficient. With a diversified product base, the Bank is well positioned to cater for the needs of its clients. We are now focused relentlessly on building sustained asset & income growth with existing and new clients and are working hard to further optimise our control environment to achieve that.”
OXFORD HOSTS A DISCUSSION ON 70 YEARS OF WRITING IN PAKISTAN
Oxford University Press (OUP) organized a discussion titled ‘70 Years of Writing in Pakistan’ as a part of a series of events being held to commemorate 70 years of Pakistan.
Speakers in the discussion included Tariq Rahman, Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Beaconhouse National University; Taimur Rahman, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences; and Raza Naeem, social scientist, literary critic, and translator. The conversation centered around the evolution of literature and writing in the country over the past seven decades. The speakers reviewed and highlighted the literary journey of Pakistan, the literary personalities who have shaped it, the various factors that have affected the narrative, and the literary trends that have emerged over the years. The discussion was followed by a musical performance by Taimur Rahman who is also the lead singer of the Laal band.
Earlier in his welcome address, Tariq Haq, Regional Sales Director, OUP Pakistan, said that OUP has published the Platinum Series to celebrate the country’s seventieth birthday. The series includes books on the nation’s achievements and outlook during this period as well as scholarly works, titles in gender and women’s studies, economics, sociology, history, politics, art, and culture all written by experts in their field.
NIGAAH ART AWARDS CELEBRATED
The most awaited Nigaah Art Awards was celebrated on 26th August at Mohatta Palace Karachi to honour and acknowledge the artists of Pakistan.
Art patrons, art gallery owners, painters, sculptors, photographers and other artists were present to witness art celebrated in various genres of art.
Mr Tauqeer Muhajir, Editor and Publisher of Nigaah Art Magazine in his welcoming address stressed on the significance of recognizing the talent of Pakistani artists and promoting art through such programmes. Mr Hameed Haroon, who chaired the jury of Nigaah Art Awards showed his full support to encourage and honour artists through such initiatives. The Jury members including Amra Ali, Adil Salahuddin, Marjorie Husain, R.M Naeem and Taimur Ahmed Suri were present at the occasion. Among other notable names from the art fraternity who graced this programme included Salima Hashmi, Shehnaz Ismail, NoorJehan Bilgrami, Sameera Raja, Riffat Alvi, Farrukh Shahab and A.S. Rind. Among presenters were distinguished guests including Rehana Hakim, Editor-in-chief of Newsline Magazine, Rainer Schmiedchen, Consul General of Germany, Ayesha Tammy Haq, TV anchorperson and many other names from the business, social and educational segments.
The programme reflected the true essence of art through its modest yet engaging entertaining segments including Sitar and Tabla performance by Shehroz Hussain and Wajahat Ali, Dastaan Goyee, an Urdu narrative by Fawwad Khan, live painting by artist Farrukh Shahab and Auction of paintings, the proceeds of which will be forwarded to deserving art students as scholarships. The grand finale was the Lifetime Achievement Awards given to Ms Salima Hashmi and Ms Marjorie Hussain.
Aimed as an annual programme, this year’s Nigaah Prize was given in a total of 13 categories of work displayed during January 2016 to June 2017.
The winning artists across different genres were
Landscape Painting – Shahid Jalal
Landscape Painting special prize – Sadaf Naeem
Still Life Painting – Shakeel Siddiqui
Abstract Painting – Mohammad Ali Talpur
Miniature Painting – Syed Hussain
Portrait Painting – Irfan Hasan
3D Sculptural Work – Fahim Roa
Drawing Category – Adeel-uz-Zafar
Khatati/Calligraphy – Ghulam Muhammad
Photography – Arif Mahmood
Photography special prize – Jamal Ashiqain
Emerging Painter – Noor-ul-Huda
Art Critic – Aasim Akhtar
Curatorial Work – Mohammad Zeeshan
Curatorial Work Special Prize – Nasreen Askari
NBP AITEMAAD ISLAMIC BANKING AND EFU HEMAYA INK MOU TO SELL TAKAFUL PRODUCTS
Recently a signing ceremony was held between NBP Aitemaad Islamic Banking and EFU Hemaya at NBP Head Office. The ceremony branded ’Building Partnership’ was held in the presence of Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President & CEO of National Bank of Pakistan, and Mr. Taher G.Sachak, MD & CEO of EFU Life Insurance along with other senior officials from both organizations.
Through this arrangement EFU Hemaya representatives will sell takaful products to NBP Customers through NBP Branches nationwide. Takaful is the Shariah complaint alternate to conventional insurance, where members contribute their money into a pooling system which guarantees all contributors against individual losses and damage.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Taher G.Sachak CEO EFU Life Insurance said “Bancatakaful is the commencement of a new chapter in the Shariah compliant market and a means of strategically penetrating through the industry that has witnessed prodigious growth in Pakistan itself. We are confident that along with NBP Aitemaad, our top quality services would create room for business longevity through the newly established platform of trust.”
Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President and CEO of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), emphasized the importance of Takaful (Shariah Complaint alternate to insurance) in the growth of Islamic Finance industry. He mentioned that we have a long term business relationship with EFU life insurance. He highlighted the main concern of the Insurance industry regarding pressure selling where by insurance sales agents sell products forcefully to customers to meet their targets. He specifically mentioned that such an approach should not be practiced in NBP branches. He further emphasized that this partnership between NBP and EFU will help in building long term relationship with our valued customers. Mr. Saeed Ahmad emphasized up on the importance of NB introducing fee generating business. He stated that this will be successful only when quality of services rendered by our staff exceed the expectation of our clients. He advised the sales team to build long term relationship with customers rather than a single transaction based.
Speaking on the occasion, Head of Islamic Banking Group, Mr. Khawaja Muhammad Aminulazam mentioned that “Bancatakaful arrangement will provide National Bank of Pakistan the opportunity to meet Family Takaful requirements of its customers. He further said that through this partnership, we combine the expertise of one of the leading insurance company with our extensive branch network, to offer our branch customers’ convenient solution to their family takaful needs”.
The agreement was signed by Mr Sarfaraz Ahmed Senior Vice President from NBP and Mr. Taher G. Sachak MD & CEO EFU Life Insurance.
NBP PRESIDENT UNDERTAKES MAJOR E-CREDIT FACILITY REFORMS FOR THE FARMERS
Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Finance Minister of Punjab and Mr. Muhammad Naeem Akhtar Khan Bhabha, Agriculture Minister Government of Punjab had a meeting with Mr. Saeed Ahmad, the President of National Bank of Pakistan to discuss the close cooperation between Government of Punjab and NBP in e-credit scheme for agriculture.
Under the e-credit scheme, small agri farmers are being provided financing for which mark up is being borne by the Punjab Government. NBP has committed to lend up to PKR 30 million under the scheme of the Government of Punjab. Ms. Ayesha Ghous appreciated Mr. Saeed Ahmad’s vision and association with the development of the scheme while he was Deputy Governor of SBP.
National Bank will continue its commitment to finance the agri sector. NBP is one of the leading bank associated with this sector with more than 800 branches dealing with agri lending. “We need to modernize our agri production techniques in accordance with the present day practices to enhance yields, improve storage facilities and have better access to markets nation-wide as well as internationally. It is important to use tested seeds with high yield potential after soil testing for determining right sort of input and economical use of water. Prosperity of our farmers is the key to success of any initiative in agriculture and this may only be achieved by guiding them to improve yield.”
Pakistan is an agri based economy keeping the focus on the growth of this sector is imperative for the overall growth of the economy. To ensure that the loans under e-scheme reach the most deserving candidates, a strategy was designed where NBP will partner with the best performing micro finance institutions and extend credit lines to these institutions. These institutions will use the same credit lines to disburse loans to the small farmers under e-credit scheme country-wide.
At this occasion Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President and CEO National Bank of Pakistan said “NBP will be driven with firm commitment on bringing the change needed to empower our nation especially in the agri sector. We have and always will be committed to serving the nation and deliver solutions for over 80% of the unbanked population of Pakistan. It is crucial that the masses which are not catered by any commercial bank are empowered to rise, grow and received support by National Bank of Pakistan”.
Under the new leadership NBP is being driven to work with dedication, adopt the finest service practices and deliver with commitment towards the nation.
Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Finance Minister of Punjab stated that the government of Punjab is determined to empower farmers, especially small land holders, landless farmers and those who have never availed any financial facilities. She further added the government of Punjab is also working on schemes to promote SME Sector for which they will be seeking co-operation from NBP and other banks.
Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President & CEO, NBP stated that NBP is willing to cooperate with all provinces to promote agri financing. He reiterated that the Governor State Bank of Pakistan Mr. Tariq Bajwa declared new lending targets for agriculture sector of PKR 1001 Million. Though it is a challenging number but banks have shown their commitment to achieve this target. Mr Bajwa is also emphasizing on SME Sector and financial inclusion.
Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President & CEO, NBP said that NBP is fully supportive of SBP initiative as these will move our economy in the right direction and provide economic stability. He said that NBP is keen to participate in schemes to promote all provinces.
MMI HOSPITAL ORGANISES HEPATITIS-C FREE SCREE SCREENING
Memon Medical Institute Hospital (MMI Hospital) organized Hepatitis C Free Screening Camp on August 19, 2017 and August 26, 2017 in Gadap, District Malir. The objective of the camp was to address the growing Hepatitis C disease in the locality and to create awareness among the local residents about this life-threatening disease.
The camp was attended by not only the residents of the area but also from remote areas of Gadap. During the camp, over 1300 people screened for the disease and out of that 336 patients are found with Hepatitis C positive i.e. 25%.
Patients diagnosed Hepatitis C positive in the camp will be treated free of charge with the support of donors.
The event was also attended by Mr. Abdul Hakeem Baloch, MNA from the area who greatly appreciated the efforts of MMI Hospital. He said that Hepatitis is a very growing disease in the rural area of Sindh and he is very keen to provide all support to curb this disease.
A public awareness seminar was conducted in the camp which was attended by large numbers of local residents. During his presentation, Dr. Shoaib Siddiq – Gastroenterologist emphasized that Hepatitis C is a life threatening disease and we all have to take this disease more seriously.
METRO CASH AND CARRY PAKISTAN WITH PFA HOLD ‘SCHOOL OF HYGIENE’ PLAN
METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan and Punjab Food Authority recently concluded a month long successful collaboration on the School of Hygiene Training program, where METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan provided its team of Quality Assurance experts that served as the Master Trainers at the designated School, as well as over 1000 sets of aprons and hygiene caps for the participants.
To conclude this one month collaboration program, a closing meeting was organized at PFA head office between METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan and PFA representatives headed by Director General Punjab Food Authority (PFA) Mr. Noor-Ul-Amin Mengal and Mr. Marek Minkiewicz Managing Director METRO Cash and Carry Pakistan. Mr. Marek Minkiewicz appreciated the DG PFA for his efforts on this long term sustainable initiative “School of Hygiene for food handlers” while Mr. Noor-Ul-Amin Mengal also appreciated the support offered by METRO Management on appointing competent expert team as master trainer and the commitment for making this initiative successful.
During the month long training program 1400 food handlers from different hotels, restaurants, caterers, and small & medium food business organizations were trained in 8 batches at each divisional PFA school. Along with food handlers the internally recruited PFA master trainers were also trained at a level where they can independently run these training schools.
Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has commenced training schools in 5 major cities of Punjab province which are aimed at imparting training to people attached with food business.. This collaboration is aimed at developing training module followed by execution and effectiveness evaluation by METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan experts for food handlers as well as PFA officials on Level-I food safety program.
KHUSHHALI MICROFINANCE BANK & WWF ON THE ROAD TO MAKE PAKISTAN GREENER
Continuing their journey for a greener Pakistan, Khushhali Microfinance Bank (KMBL) and WWF Pakistan have collaborated once again to plant at least 2,000 indigenous trees as part of the second round of WWF-Pakistan’s Tree-A-Thon Activity. This association is one of its kind where both organizations are committed to raising awareness about the importance of trees and regular plantation among their employees as well as deliver a message to a wider audience regarding the importance of environment conservation and Khushhalibank’s commitment to the cause.
Over 150 KMBL employees, including senior management, participated in the second round of the tree plantation drive Saplings were planted in the Green Belt, opposite Chaman Metro Station, G-8/1.
Speaking on the occasion, the bank’s Head of Marketing, Nabeel Saeed commented: “Khushhali Microfinance Bank aims to protect and create awareness for our environment as a key aspect of our mission to transform lives in Pakistan. Our collaboration with WWF is not just emphasize the importance of planting trees, but also growing tree. The long-term stewardship and planting of trees should be seen as creating viable assets for communities.”
Today the world is facing many environmental problems including climate change, global warming, water scarcity, and increasing environmental pollution. Part of the Solution to these problems lies in planting more trees and such plantation drives aim to contribute towards a batter environment.
The first round of the drive was held in May 2017 in Kachnar Park, where KMBL senior management of along with representatives of WWF Pakistan planted tree saplings.
JS BANK AND ZAMEEN.COM TO FILL THE HOME FINANCING GAP FOR PAKISTANIS
JS Bank Limited and Zameen.com have signed a MoU to offer Zameen.com customers mortgage finance facility. This partnership shall enable JS Bank & Zameen.com customers in the buying, construction and renovation of their properties across Pakistan. Furthermore, millions of overseas Pakistanis searching for properties on the Zameen.com property portal will also be able to benefit from this partnership. The MoU signing ceremony was held at the JS Bank Private Banking office, at Ocean Towers.
Commenting on the partnership, Basir Shamsie, Deputy CEO JS Bank stated “This strategic alliance between JS Bank and Zameen.com shows our commitment towards facilitating Pakistanis in purchasing their dream homes at affordable rates and at their convenience.”
Speaking at the occasion, Ahmad Bhatti, Country Head of Sales Zameen.com said, “Over 4 million customers every month visit the Zameen.com portal for innovative solutions to their home buying and renovation needs. Addition of mortgage finance facility by JS Bank to Zameen.com’s fast growing Home Partner Program offers a win-win solution for all in the real estate and associated industries.”
Present at the occasion were senior management representatives from JS Bank Limited including Head of Product Development and Business Management Babbar Wajid, Head of Retail Assets, Corporate and Retail Banking Group Ahsan Amjad, Senior Vice President Zaid Haroon and. Zameen.com team included the Regional Head (Central) Shuja Ullah, Regional Head (South) Taha Mehmood and Business Development Manager Muhammad Anwer Khawaja.
Zameen.com’s Home Partner Program has been catering to value added needs of its customers through similar industrial collaborations. Millions of Pakistanis from both home and abroad rely on Zameen.com to make property related decisions. This partnership between JS Bank & Zameen.com is an ideal platform for services and products including mortgage finance, architecture, construction materials, landscaping, paints, home interiors and furnishing and much more.
JS Bank is considered amongst the fastest growing banks within Pakistan’s banking landscape with 307 branches in 152 cities and one international branch. JS Bank is part of JS Group, one of Pakistan’s most diversified and progressive financial services groups. For more information, visit http://www.jsbl.com
Zameen.com is Pakistan’s number 1 property portal serving the country’s real estate market since 2006. With over 12,000 registered real estate agencies all across Pakistan catering to the buying and selling requirements of over 4 million monthly visitors, Zameen.com today is a household name. For more information please visit our website at www.zameen.com
JS BANK WITH PAYSYS LABS TO LAUNCH PAKISTAN’S FIRST MOBILE BASED BIOMETRIC SOLUTION
JS Bank signed an agreement with Paysys Labs to launch the first ever mobile based biometric solution in Pakistan, Instascan. The signing ceremony between JS Bank & Paysys Labs was attended by Mr. Imran Soomro, Chief Information Officer, JS Bank, Mr. Khurram Shaikh, Chief Digital Officer, JS Bank and Mr. Karim Jindani, Chief Executive Officer of Paysys Labs Private Limited.
The mobile based, touchless biometric solution has been integrated with JS Bank’s branchless banking mobile application, JCash to biometrically verify customers for over the counter (OTC) transactions. JCash customers can now avail higher limits of PKR 50,000 for domestic remittances). Agents can easily verify customers sending or receiving domestic remittances by simply taking a picture of their finger. The Instascan solution extracts the biometric data from the finger and sends it to NADRA for real-time authentication.
This breakthrough solution is powered by Diamond Fortress Technologies, Inc. which converts standard smartphone cameras into high quality fingerprint sensors without any additional hardware). The solution enables financial service providers to easily incorporate biometric authentication through open APIs, without having to incur the expense of developing purpose-built hardware and concerning themselves with form factor redesigns. This reduces cost and integration time so that they can get the solution in the hands of end-users faster as compared to typical hardware based touch sensors.
Furthermore, riding on this sizable smartphone penetration in Pakistan, financial service providers can now onboard more customers without having to invest in capital, in terms of hardware and branches in remote areas. Whatever the case, be it opening bank accounts, mobile wallets or providing proof-of-life for pension disbursement, they can all be now facilitated without the customer having to physically be present in the branch.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Khurram Shaikh said, “JS Bank is pleased to be the first bank in Pakistan to introduce the mobile-based biometric authentication technology which will cater to our banking customers’ needs by providing a much more convenient way to authenticate themselves and avail our banking services instantly.”
Mr. Karim Jindani, Chief Executive Officer of Paysys Labs commented:” We strongly believe that secure & friction-less identity verification is one of the major challenge in digital financial services space in Pakistan today. The biometric ID verification solution, Instascan, will provide financial service providers a seamless and purely digital onboarding process that can be used to authenticate and verify potential customers anywhere and at any-time.”
JS Bank is considered amongst the fastest growing banks within Pakistan’s banking landscape with 307 branches in 152 cities and one international branch. JS Bank is part of JS Group, one of Pakistan’s most diversified and progressive financial services groups. For more information, visit http://www.jsbl.com
Paysys Labs is a Boutique Payments and Retail, Digital Financial Solutions Company providing reliable and secure technology platforms that enable Banks, Telcos and Businesses to offer their customers a vast array of payment types, across multiple channels, anywhere at any time. For more information, visit www.paysyslabs.com
MOU BETWEEN IBA AMAN-CED MUISTD FOR IBA NATIONAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM
IBA Aman-CED is committed to promote entrepreneurship in the whole country. To pursue this commitment, it is going to launch IBA National Entrepreneurship Program in different cities of Pakistan. IBA Aman-CED has joined hands with Mehran University of Engineering and Technology to work together and start an entrepreneurship certification program in Hyderabad. On Friday 25th August, 2017, the MOU Signing ceremony between IBA Aman-CED and Mehran University Institute of Science, Technology and Development (MUISTD) was held at Main Campus IBA Karachi.
Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Dean & Director-IBA, welcomed the guests from MUISTD and reiterated that IBA National Entrepreneurship Program is an effort towards National Development Strategy. Dr. S.M. Qureshi, Honorary Director, MUISTD, appreciated the efforts of IBA Aman-CED for reaching out to them and he hoped that the efforts of both institutions to promote entrepreneurship would bear fruit in the near future. Dr. Shahid Qureshi, Program Director, IBA Aman-CED briefed the guests about the background of the program, course contents, methodology and expected outcomes of the joint exercise. Dr. Farrukh appreciated the cooperation of MUISTD and he expressed to extend every possible effort from IBA for success of this program. Dr. Sami Qureshi, Dean, MUISTD, Dr. Arabella Bhutto, Co-Director, MUISTD and Management team of IBA Aman-CED were also present in the event.
The MoU was signed by Dr. Farrukh Iqbal (Dean & Director, IBA) and Dr. S M Qureshi, Honorary Director, MUISTD. According to this MoU, IBA Aman-CED will launch a certification program in Hyderabad and will provide, faculty and course contents whereas MUISTD will provide the infrastructure. In this process, selected faculty members of MUISTD will also be trained so that in the future they can run these type of programs by themselves. Moreover, IBA Aman-CED will also help to develop entrepreneurial center at MUISTD. The first batch through this program will commence in the mid of October, 2017 in Hyderabad. IBA Aman-CED will also enter into similar partnerships with local partners in Faisalabad and Gujranwala for the implementation of IBA National Entrepreneurship Program.
FERTILIZER SUBSIDY REMAINS UNPAID DESPITE PROMISES
The Government of Pakistan is still dragging on the issue of fertilizer Subsidy-claims. Billions of Rupees in subsidy payments are continuously stuck up due to Red-tapism and institutional lethargy. One whole month has passed since the Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) was directed by Prime Minister’s Office to release all these pending amounts urgently, but still nothing has been done to reduce the financial burden. It was decided at high level meeting at PM Office, chaired by Secretary to PM Mr Fawad Hassan Fawad on 24 July that 80 percent of the total subsidy claims will be immediately released and remaining twenty percent will be paid within three months after third party validation. To the much frustration of industry, the payments are still pending, with lame excuse of non availability of funds. Whereas, Finance Division has already released the requisite amount, thus holding of payments does not make much sense.
Similarly, for future subsidy mechanism, the government has included an unnecessary restrictive clause in the scheme; where the government asks for National Tax Number (NTN) of every fertilizer dealer. This clause makes this scheme non-viable as it ignores the fact that; a big majority (over 90 percent) of the smaller dealers are not registered with the taxation authorities and do not have NTNs. Moreover, the subsidy claims are based on sales tax, which has no relationship with NTN. Hence, such a step may ultimately hamper the distribution of Urea denying the subsidy-benefits to the farmers.
The authorities have not even started the external-audit process, required to resolve this subsidy-crisis, which is really debilitating for the national economy. The MNFS&R has still not issued the Terms of Reference (TORs) about this external audit of the fertilizer industry.
Although the fertilizer industry is facing numerous cash-flow challenges, created by more than 20 Billion Rupees of outstanding subsidies, these companies have acted very prudently and kept the urea prices down in the Pakistan market. The fertilizer producers are cooperating with the government by absorbing 106 rupees per bag to keep the prices low, although, the government has promised to pay Rs. 100 per bag as subsidy.
Fertilizer Manufacturers of Pakistan Advisory Council (FMPAC) reiterated the industry’s pledge to work cohesively with the government to resolve the subsidy crisis. The official further said: “The government must appreciate that the fertilizer industry is the highest contributor to the national exchequer, as it plays a vital role in agriculture growth. The fertilizer companies are waiting patiently for a favorable response from the government. We have not disrupted the supply of subsidized fertilizers to the farmers, despite the major cash-flow problems we are facing.”
An amicable solution of this subsidy crisis is eagerly awaited. The concerned officials must take personal interest in this matter, to ensure that the benefit of this subsidy continues to reach the farmers, and the supply of urea in the market remains uninterrupted. The Ministry of Finance, FBR, State Bank and the MNFS&R are expected to accelerate their efforts to reduce this financial pressure and simplify the procedural complexities in the subsidy scheme.
EDOTCO, PARTNERS WITH DAWOOD HERCULES, TO ACQUIRE JAZZ-OWNED PAKISTAN TOWER BUSINESS DEODAR
edotco Group Sdn Bhd (edotco), in its biggest expansion to date, together with Dawood Hercules Corporation Limited (DH Corp), a leading listed investment conglomerate in Pakistan announced the acquisition of approximately 13,000 towers from Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited (Jazz).
edotco, through Tanzanite Tower Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of edotco Pakistan Private Limited (“edotco PK”), entered into an agreement with PMCL to acquire its tower subsidiary, Deodar Private Limited (“Deodar”) and its portfolio of over 13,000 tower assets. As part of the transaction, DH Corp will be investing a 45% equity stake with the remaining 55% control stake to be held by edotco. The total transaction consideration for the proposed acquisition is USD 940 million, which will be funded through a combination of debt and equity.
Suresh Sidhu, CEO of edotco said, “edotco is delighted to expand its business in Pakistan by catering to the network requirements of Jazz, the country’s number one digital communications company. With Dawood Hercules as our partner, we are confident in the potential of the market in Pakistan and will continue to demonstrate our long-term commitment to supporting the development and enhancement of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure.”
Inam ur Rahman, CEO of DH Corp, said: “DH Corp has always invested in projects and businesses that directly contribute to Pakistan’s growth and prosperity. Continuing our commitment to the future, we are excited to partner with edotco Group Malaysia and bring their wealth of knowledge to the local telecommunications sector. We are confident this enterprise will serve as a beacon for more investment in Pakistan and in our people.”
Aamir Ibrahim, CEO of Jazz commented, “This transaction with Tanzanite Tower will allow Jazz to further improve its core strength in providing best in class products and services to its customers. Partnering with a trusted partner like Tanzanite Tower will ensure that Jazz’ customers will continue to benefit from industry leading network quality. It also allows Jazz to focus on its journey to becoming an innovative digital lifestyle partner.”
At completion of the sale, Deodar will enter into a master services agreement (MSA) with Jazz, whereby it will continue to provide tower services to Jazz. The initial term of this MSA is twelve years and is renewable at Jazz’s discretion for three consecutive periods of five years each.
As a result of the terms of the Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (Jazz)/Warid earn-out agreement, following the completion of the transaction, GTH’s stake in Jazz will be approximately 83%.