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RAKEZ ENGAGES OVER 120,000ATTENDEES AT THE PAKISTAN INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR

Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone continues to go global with its upcoming participation at this year’s Pakistan International Trade Fair (PITF), one of the biggest consumers and trade fair happening in Expo Centre Karachi in Pakistan from 26 to 29 October 2017.

Expected to gather over 120,000 visitors and 16,000 exhibitors from 20 different countries, RAKEZ will capitalise on the event’s large-scale attendance to tap into expanding players in the field of construction, automobile, chemical, pharmaceutical, and textile, among others.

“Over the years, investors from Pakistan have been consistently very active in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) market. In 2014, investments by Pakistani nationals in the UAE reached $23 billion, and most of them are heavily investing in the country’s property market,” said RamyJallad, Group CEO of RAKEZ, RAK Free Trade Zone and RAK Investment Authority. “However, the UAE, particularly RAKEZ, presents boundless investment opportunities not only in real estate but in over 100 industries – this is just in addition to the range of incentives that we provide to our clients, such as bespoke facilities, first-class services and simplified business set-up processes. We are very eager to interact with local investors during the Pakistan International Trade and offer them a sneak peak of what RAKEZ has to offer.”

Jallad also noted that from the over 6,000 Pakistani companies currently active in the UAE, around 610 are flourishing in the ecosystem of RAKEZ. “Pakistan has always been among our major investors in RAKEZ, and in fact, they are among our top 5 well-represented nationalities in RAKEZ,” he said.

Among the economic zone’s success stories from Pakistan are: Adroit Factory FZC, a top class manufacturer and distributor of high quality edible oil products in the Middle East; Modern Fence FZC, a gabion manufacturer; and VSF Logistics FZE, a company that provides logistics, cold storage, refrigerated logistics, as well as customized logistics.

“We chose RAKEZ due to its flexible rules and regulations and excellent, ongoing support from economic zone’s professionals, providing us wit a seamless business set-up experience,” Adnan Asad, VSF Logistics FZE’s owner. “What’s more impressive was its full range of ready-made facilities. RAKEZ provided us with the best possible solutions for the unique warehousing needs of our company.”

RAKEZ’s expert business development team will be available throughout the three-day event at stand D21, Hall 4, to provide insights about the benefits of choosing RAKEZ as a launch point to enter the lucrative Middle East market. One-to-one business discussions will also be held.

SYSTEMS HOSTS A CONFERENCE ON DATACENTER OPTIMIZATION WITH MICROSOFT

Systems Limited, a premier technology company, hosted an exclusive roundtable conference with Microsoft today. Titled “Datacenter Optimization”, the event was attended by several prominent CIOs and CTOs at local Hotel in Karachi.

The roundtable discussions focused on best practices for datacenter optimization through disaster recovery, data protection, and hybrid cloud storage on Microsoft Azure. Participants explored ways to improve agility and enhance IT infrastructure.

“We are extremely delighted to work with Microsoft on this knowledge-sharing initiative,” said Asif Peer, CEO, Systems Limited. “With the participation of so many technology experts from industry-leading enterprises, I anticipate that a wealth of ideas and opinions will be exchanged. Most of all, by collaborating on ways to improve all aspects of datacenter operations and infrastructure, I hope that this event contributes to sustained technological progress across the nation.”

METRO CASH & CARRY PAKISTAN JOIN HANDS WITH WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME ON FOOD SECURITY

Metro Cash & Carry Pakistan (METRO) has join hands with World Food Programme (WFP), as part of their global partnership with the United Nations agency mandated to combat hunger around the world. This is an opportunity for METRO to help WFP advance towards the second of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030”.

As part of the effort METRO Pakistan handed over their first fundraising cheque, that included contributions from cause-related marketing and its employees, to Ms. Cecilea Garzon, Head of Nutrition Unit World Food Programme Pakistan by Marek Minkiewicz, Managing Director Metro Cash & Carry Pakistan. Also present at the occasion were Ms. Zahra Hussain Director HR and Mr. Pervaiz Akhtar Director Corporate Affairs from METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan, and Shahzada Rashid Mehmood Chief World Food Programme Punjab.

Pakistan has made gains becoming a food surplus country, and is one of the leading producers of wheat. However, more than 50% of the population is still facing food insecurity. This is due primarily to limited economic access by the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly women and children, to an adequate diet and diverse nutrition.

MJSF, ASD WELFARE TRUST OPEN AUTISM AWARENESS CAMPAIGN IN SINDH

A seminar was organized at the Jahangir Siddiqui Auditorium at IBA City Campus, Karachi, on 19th October to mark the opening of Autism Spectrum Welfare Trust Office at Karachi and to launch Autism Awareness Campaign in Sindh.

The Seminar was opened by a welcome address by Ms. Rukhsana Shah, Chairperson of the Trust, who spoke about the lack of awareness about autism and learning disabilities among doctors, teachers and parents all over Pakistan, and lauded the efforts of the government of Sindh in this field. She appreciated the role of the Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation (MJSF) who sponsored the setting up of the Autism Trust in Lahore in 2015, as well as funded the Karachi Office which opened on the 1st of October this year.

In her inaugural speech, Mahvash Jahangir Siddiqui, Chairperson MJSF gave a brief background of the work done by the Foundation all over Pakistan. This was followed by an address by the Chief Guest, Dr. Zulfiqar Shallwani, secretary to the government of Sindh for Special Education.

Dr. Shallwani enumerated the efforts of the government of Sindh in the field not only of autism, but all disabilities in general. He said that in April, the first Autism Centre was set up in Karachi at the existing Special Education Centre in Gulistan-e-Johar. In other parts of Sindh, we are also setting up a similar Centre for Down’s syndrome and Neuro Developmental Disorders in which medical colleges and DHQ hospitals would be involved to ensure sustainability and growth of the Centre.

The key-note address on Autism was delivered by Dr. Irum Rizwan, a pioneer in the field of Autism in Karachi, who also runs the Autism Unit at Dow University of Health Sciences. This was followed by a presentation on ADHD by Dr. Salma Khalil, a discussion on Learning Disabilities by Ms. Sanam Hafeez, and Overview of Trainings for ASD management by Ms. Asma Ahmad, followed by a detailed discussion.

The seminar was attended by about 200 teachers of special and mainstream schools, doctors, parents, professionals and prominent members of the civil society.

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’s 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.

KHUSHHALI MICROFINANCE BANK INAUGURATES ITS NEW BRANCH IN HUNZA

Khushhali Microfinance Bank (KMBL) has inaugurated its new branch in Hunza. This branch will offer all-inclusive banking services including Group and MSME loans, deposit, remittances, online transfer and insurance. The new Hunza branch is KMBL’s third branch in the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region; the other two are present in Gilgit and Gahkuch.

This move is in line with the bank’s commitment of further expanding its geographic spread as Pakistan’s pioneer microfinance bank. The opening of the Hunza branch was attended by Manager Distribution, Adnan Sattar, accompanied by senior management from the Retail and Marketing Department and Area Manager of Gilgit-Baltistan.

In his message on the occasion, Ghalib Nishtar, President Khushhali Microfinance Bank said, “There is an enormous potential in Pakistan’s remote and northern markets, which KMBL is hoping to nurture. We are devoted to serving outlying segments of the population excluded from formal financial service access. With our branch network in Gilgit-Baltistan, KMBL envisages to support the economic development in the area following the business boom expected to be brought in through the CPEC Corridor.”

Manager Distribution, Adnan Sattar added, on the occasion, “Apart from rural markets, another area of focus for KMBL is the Gilgit-Baltistan area. This is driven by the requirements of the China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC is unveiling new business opportunities for people in northern areas every day, making the bank’s presence in the region a necessity.”

KMBL aims to be a paramount resource for the citizens of GB, who wish to start small businesses. Moreover, the institution encourages females to use banking services for saving and investing in their business. The idea is to generate employment opportunities for residents of GB at large.

The bank’s expansion in GB also supports the State Bank of Pakistan’s financial inclusion agenda, which concentrates on reaching out to remote areas. Currently, the bank has a network of 149 branches and 24 service centers across Pakistan.

ALI KAZIM WINS MAHVASH & JAHANGIR SIDDIQUI JURIED ART PRIZE

Ali Kazim from the National College of Arts won the Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Juried Art Prize at the Karachi Biennale 2017 (KB17). The biennale exhibitions displayed various forms of art including performative and digital. In his installation for KB17, Kazim used human hair to create a three-dimensional drawing in the space. His work derives from his interest in the complexity of the human body, both in its physiognomy and as a thematic concern.

Ali Kazim was selected for the Award by three independent jurors. The jury comprised of an international cultural journalist; Ingo Arand, an international art historian and critic on modern and contemporary South Asian art; Savita Apte and one of Pakistan’s leading contemporary art collectors, Khurram Asim.

The KB17 jury convened from the 18th to 20th October, surveying over 140 works of art displayed across 12 venues in Karachi. Their judgment was based on originality of creativity, interpretation of the theme WITNESS, innovative use of material and imagination of depiction.

The Karachi Biennale is supported by JS Group as its lead partner. The group from the beginning has understood KB17’s vision to hold this special art event and put Karachi on the global art map. It ensures that the international artists and audience realize the potential of Pakistani art and its artists. JS Group has a long association of promoting arts and culture in Pakistan.

JS Group is one of Pakistan’s most diversified and progressive financial services groups controlling and operating market-leading financial services companies in Pakistan. JS Group contributes towards Corporate Social Responsibility through its charitable arms, Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundation and Future Trust.

ACCA UNVEILS IT’S NEW ’ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL SKILLS MODULE’

Marks a significant development in the ACCA Qualification as ACCA held the launch event for their Ethics and Professional Module in Pakistan.

The event featured a panel discussion on ACCA’s report, ’Ethics and trust in a digital age.’ The panellists included; Helen Brand OBE – Chief Executive, ACCA, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal – Dean & Director, Institute of Business Administration, Fuad Hashimi – Executive Director, Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business (CERB, part of Pakistan Business Council), Syed Atif Zafar-Head of Research, JS Global Capital Limited, Asim Siddiqui – Country Managing Partner/CEO, EY Ford Rhodes Chartered Accountants. The panel was moderated by Faisal Qamar – Managing Partner, HRSG BPO and the chief guest was Sirajuddin Aziz – President & CEO, Habib Metropolitan Bank.

It is a hugely exciting time for professional accountants across Pakistan, as the economy benefits from new global commerce developments and other innovations. The progress being made – through inward investment, the opening of new trade routes and supporting infrastructure – is undeniable. Now is the time that for the business community here in Pakistan the wider value of ethical behaviour should be a 24-7, 365 concern.

At the launch, Helen Brand, ACCA’s chief executive highlighted, “Our qualification is the world’s first to emphasise professional as well as technical skills and ethics in this way. Through this, we’re building on our market-leading position – we were the first professional accountancy body to introduce a compulsory ethics module a decade ago – and reinforcing ACCA members’ standing as professionals who deliver public value. In this way, together, we will define the professional accountant of the future.”

Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan commented, “This innovation in our Qualification is underpinned and informed by recent global research we conducted into the future ethical landscape. Our report, Ethics and trust in a digital age, published in August 2017, is our compelling look at the perceived importance of ethical behaviour in a rapidly evolving digital era, and the challenges that technological advancement puts on the professional accountant.”

It was discussed at the launch event that to behave ethically and instill trust in a digital age, professional accountants will need to learn new information relatively quickly, and to apply their judgment to this information, often in situations they may not have seen before. Also it was jointly concluded by the panellists that all those involved in professional education have a duty to make sure individuals are equipped to apply the highest standards of ethical judgement throughout their careers in a fast-moving world. That’s why ACCA is in the process of unveiling a series of evolutions to its Qualification, including a new Ethics & Professional Skills module.

ACCA LINKS WITH PBC FOR BUSINESSES DEVELOPMENT

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the management of Pakistan Business Council (PBC). The MoU revolves around ACCA and PBC’s mutual agenda of supporting the development of businesses that emphasises on financial disclosures and reporting that is the key to attract and excite local and foreign direct investment in the economy.

ACCA and PBC share a common vision of advancing public interest, advocating corporatisation and business formalisation as the driver of economic growth.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive highlighted, ’By cementing the links we enjoy with Pakistan Business Council (PBC), we’re showing ACCA’s firm commitment to the further development of the country’s business and economy, as Pakistan grows in strength and influence on the world stage.’

Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan, said, ’ACCA and Pakistan Business Council’s recent collaboration on the UN Sustainable Development Goals was an excellent example of what this MoU can bring to members of both PBC and ACCA in terms of capacity building, sharing of thought leadership material and addressing current business challenges and proposing solutions.’

Ehsan A. Malik, CEO of PBC added that ’PBC is excited about entering into an MOU with the ACCA. PBC will work with the ACCA to promote high standards of corporate behavior, inculcate critical thinking for managing ethics, leverage private sector growth for inclusive development and encourage sustainability, amongst others, through integrated reporting. Its main agenda is to strengthen domestic industry to generate jobs, value-added exports, promote import substitution and the equitable broadening of the tax base. Working with the ACCA and its members, PBC hopes to make its advocacy even more effective.’

FuadHashimi, Executive Director CERB shared that ’CERB’s vision is to assist Pakistani businesses to pursue long-term value creation, and its mission is to contribute towards ethical and responsible business practices that lead to inclusive and sustainable development. In doing so, private sector would also be fulfilling its role in motivating Pakistan towards achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. CERB will endeavor over time to change the mind-sets of businesses towards “Integrated Thinking” when deciding on their business models and this is a necessary prequel to “Integrated Reporting”.

Arif Masud Mirza, Head of Policy MENASA, commented, “In order to be sustainable, the social agenda of the companies with a Triple Bottom Line (TBL) approach is to look beyond the profits and this is only possible through the change in mindsets first. The nucleus of the MoU is that we will endeavor our time to change the mindsets of businessess and will make it into a speaking MoU. We are looking forward to work with an energetic team of the PBC to take this agenda forward.”

ACCA and PBC are to jointly work with regulators and stakeholders to contribute towards policy making, advocacy and educating businesses to create (i) awareness around agendas like SDGs, corporate governance, integrated reporting, gender diversity as well as (ii) excitement around global best practices.

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