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PTCL partners with Virtual University for Ignite’s DigiSkills Initiative

Ignite, Ministry of IT & Telecom has launched DigiSkills program to impart training of one million workforce comprising of youth, skilled professionals and freelancers. Ignite has awarded DigiSkills training project to Virtual University of Pakistan and PTCL has been selected as partner for this strategic project.

DigiSkills program will impart training to one million knowledge resources like youth, freelancers, students, and professionals, who would deliver professionally across the globe and contribute in country’s economic growth. The program aims at, not only developing key specialized skills, but also imparting knowledge about various freelancing and other employment & entrepreneurial opportunities available internationally and locally. Due to limited employment opportunities, it is essential for upcoming workforce to have necessary knowledge and abilities to seize such opportunities to become influential participants in global competitive market for capturing international opportunities across multiple industry segments.

Dr Naveed Malik, Rector, Virtual University of Pakistan and Adil Rashid, Chief Digital Services Officer, PTCL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the PM House today. Dr Naveed Malik, Rector, Virtual University of Pakistan and Adil Rashid, Chief Digital Services Officer, PTCL signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the PM Secretariat today. Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of State for IT & Telecom, Ms. Anusha Rahman, President & CEO PTCL Dr. Daniel Ritz and CEO Ignite Mr. Yusuf Hussain also graced the occasion.

Appreciating and encouraging the initiative, the honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on the occasion said, “The government is committed to bring economic growth and development of Pakistan, I congratulate Virtual University and thank PTCL for collaborating with VU for this Digital Skills Training Programme under the auspices of our government which would train 1 million people of this country all over the world under the umbrella of ’On Demand Economy’. This initiative, would not only create employment opportunities, but also provide the nation to contribute for the vision of prosperous Pakistan”.

Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Ms. Anusha Rahman, while expressing her satisfaction with this significant initiative, congratulated ministry of IT, Ignite, VU and PTCL for partnering on this major initiative of Ministry that will provide online training to 1 Million youth enabling them to earn using technology by accessing online market places. She further hoped that after successful implementation of this programme, Pakistan will be able to achieve number 1 position in global freelancing domain.

President and CEO PTCL Dr. Daniel Ritz shared his views on this accomplishment and said. “PTCL always strives hard to contribute and bring Pakistan at par with rest of the world by launching innovative and enterprising initiatives. Taking another step forward, PTCL has joined hands with Virtual University to train 1 million Pakistanis across the world through its broadband footprint and cloud infrastructure (IAAS) representing all walks of life.”

The key development areas of training include sharing respective strengths, experiences and methodologies for skill development aimed at promoting quality and competitiveness in educational & training sectors of Pakistan and working together on diverse projects of mutual interest to facilitate human resource development initiatives which focus on economic development of the country, especially in implementing innovative projects of mutual interest in the fields of ICT.

Pak Qatar Takaful awards first-ever Scholarship to IBA-CEIF student

Pak-Qatar Takaful Group (PQTG), Pakistan’s pioneer and largest Takaful Group, recently held a special ceremony to award the first-ever Scholarship to Ammar Awais – highest meritorious student at the Institute of Business Administration -Centre of Excellence in Islamic Finance (IBA-CEIF), Karachi. The Scholarship Cheque was awarded by Managing Director of PQTG – Mr. Said Gul. The Chairman of IBA-CEIF – Dr. Ishrat Husain and other senior management team were also present at the occasion.

Pak Qatar Takaful Group is a strategic partner of IBA-CEIF and has collaborated with the institute, nationwide, to support valuable initiatives and academic programmes for nurturing qualified professionals with specialized skills in managing Shari’ah-Compliant financial business models.

This Scholarship-awarding ceremony was graced by prominent personalities including:

Dr. Ishrat Husain – Former Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) & Chairman of CEIF- IBA. They were also accompanied by the Founding Director of IBA-CEIF – Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, board members of CEIF-IBA and senior management of PQTG.

Addressing the graceful ceremony, Dr. Ishrat Husain stated that; “It is always delightful to see the corporate sector supporting the academic programmes and professional training of business managers, with the vision to nurture a highly competitive workforce for a brighter future. Islamic Finance is a promising field that offers a myriad of career opportunities for the youth. I would like to congratulate our brilliant student Mr. Ammar Awais for being rewarded with this valuable financial assistance for his specialized training.”

Dr. Ishrat Husain further said, “Over the years, Pak-Qatar Takaful has also carried out numerous activities and conferences in partnership with IBA-CEIF, including; The ’World Islamic Finance Forum’ (WIFF). The event invited global leaders in Islamic Finance, along with the representation of the most influential regulatory institutions like; State Bank of Pakistan, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the World Bank and many other international institutions like; ICD (Private Sector Development Arm of IDB), AAOIFI, IIFM, CIMB Bank, Ernst & Young, IRTI, ISRA, Deloitte Touche, etc”.

Mr. Said Gul, Managing Director of PQTG said, “We are honored to be associated with IBA-CEIF as the corporate values are fully aligned with this prestigious institution. Dr. Ishrat Husain has a great vision to promote Islamic Finance across Pakistan. This scholarship is just one of our numerous contributions to achieve our shared goal, to spread Takaful as a Shari’ah compliant financing alternative for the people of Pakistan”.

Mr. Said Gul further said, “Through the training being offered at IBA-CEIF, business managers of tomorrow will be able to gain clearer understanding and deeper insight of various Islamic business-models and services, including; Shari’ah-compliant Investments and Takaful. Moreover, the learned faculty and academic experts are building a solid foundation and knowledge-base for Islamic entrepreneurship, by engaging renowned Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Academicians, Finance Managers, Students, Human Resources Managers, Consultants and other stake-holders of the industry”.

P&G employees dedicate quality time at SOS Children’s Village

As part of P&G’s effort to engage employees in the Company’s community programs and its Diversity and Inclusion mission which aims to recognize and celebrate the uniqueness and authenticity of each employee, P&G employees visited the SOS Children’s Village and dedicated quality time to spend with the children there.

In volunteering their time, P&G people endeavored to spread cheer and happiness by creating a memorable day for the children through the highly anticipated ’Funfest’ event. Around 145 children joined over 50 P&G volunteers in various fun-filled activities aimed at promoting a spirit of collaboration, team-work, healthy competition and passion to win. P&G’s dedication to doing this is grounded in its Purpose to improve lives of Pakistani people in need. Through its social responsibility programs, P&G seeks to provide everyday basics to help create the experience of home and improve everyday health and confidence for people in need.

P&G Pakistan, Vice President, Sami Ahmed was particularly excited about the event. He said, “We are committed to creating opportunities such as this where our employees can play a part in P&G’s community programs. Many children do not know what it is like to have the basic comforts of home. Our partnership with SOS Children’s Village symbolizes our commitment to help create the experience of home for those who do not know this comfort. Over the past 5 years more than 100 P&G employees and interns have volunteered personal time towards this cause.”

SOS Children’s Villages provide orphan and abandoned children a home, good nurturing and an equal chance in life. The P&G Home at SOS Children’s Village in Islamabad provides orphan children affected by the devastating earthquake of 2005 a permanent home in a loving, caring and secure environment. These children will live under SOS care until they are able to lead independent lives.

Employee volunteerism has been an integral part of P&G’s social responsibility efforts in Pakistan. Through active participation and commitment of its employees, P&G is able to make a positive difference in the lives of the communities where it operates. P&G employees have contributed over 2,500 volunteer hours towards various social causes in the country over the past 9 years.

Since it began operations in Pakistan in 1991, P&G has grown to be amongst the top fast-moving consumer goods companies in the country and has made significant investments in the industry, talent development and community.

Olper’s milk 100PC pure & safe for consumption

The country’s leading scientific and technological research organization – Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) declared Olper’s and Olper’s Lite, Engro Foods Limited’s (EFL) ultra-heat treatment (UHT) milk brands, 100% pure & safe, based over the tests on 16 packaged milk brands in line with the directives of the Supreme Court recent proceedings.

Olper’s samples had to undergo extensive tests within various physical, biological and chemical parameters which are acceptable globally. The brand has always been declared as ’acceptable for human consumption’ in all tests conducted during the past two years.

Furthermore, Olper’s has also been declared pure & safe for consumption by other renowned laboratories – euro fins, ISO-17025 and Intertek. Irrespective of these tests, EFL’s products are certified with FSSC 22000 in addition to ISO 9000, ISO 14000, ISO 18000 and ISO 22000 certifications – awarded based on third party audit of the manufacturing sites in detail.

To ensure that supreme quality standards for the raw milk being collected, EFL’s Quality Assurance department performs 27 stringent physiochemical tests before the UHT process – ranging from sourcing to packaging.

Keeping up with its commitment of delivering highest quality standards, all products of EFL are in line with the national standards of Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA).

Recognizing that customers are increasingly worried about the quality of products they consume, EFL plays a leading role in ensuring its dairy products are sourced and processed through best agricultural and production practices – from grass to glass.

By tapping in to Royal FrieslandCampina’s 140 years of knowledge and expertise, EFL is set to develop Pakistan’s dairy value chain whilst offering nutritional dairy products via an enriched product portfolio and innovation capabilities.

Oil & gas development company’s annual dinner

The annual dinner for officers of OGDCL was arranged by office bearers of OGDCL Officers’ Association in Marriot Hotel, Islamabad on January 30, 2018. Mr. Zahid Muzaffar, Chairman Board of Directors, OGDCL was the Chief Guest for the evening. Out of all the applause and recognition received from the Chairman, he highly appreciated the expeditious completion of projects like Sinjhoro, UCH-II, KPD and Nashpa and added that the same could only be possible due to a well-thoughtout and professionally sound project development strategy. He also congratulated the management and the officers on the progressive growth despite numerous challenges.

It may be noted that the KPD project of OGDCL has given the production of LPG as 350 M.Ton per day and almost the same potential is expected from Nashpa. E & P activities of such level are not only the pride to the professionals involved and the organization rather such achievements are national jubilations.

Mr. Zahid Mir, Managing Director/CEO appreciated the cordial and positive tendency of the association during their tenure. He vowed the heartfelt dedication and keenness in Company’s all endeavors/ventures/projects enabling OGDCL to become a backbone support of the country’s economy and a backlash to the energy crisis. He emphasized on the necessity of adopting viable operational patterns for progressive transitions in the Company. He also conveyed and shared the pride of accomplishing the landmark in exploration activities and that drilling activities of wells at Dhok Hussain within a period of 199 days is the astounding achievement.

The opening address of the evening was given by Mr. Mahmood Ul Hassan Gurmani, President OGDCL Officers’ Association wherein he congratulated and extended a heap of gratitude to the Chairman, Board of Directors and the management for providing leadership and steering the company forward. He highlighted the welfare of the employees as motivational tool as an integral part of the organization building and elevated performances.

In the end, Tariq M. Qureshi, General Secretary, OGDCL Officers’ Association assured that no stone shall remain unturned to bring the best for Company’s development and we will stand by the side of management in the betterment of the Company.

NBP and UBL collaborate for offering Digital Financial Services

National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and United Bank Limited (UBL) inked a Strategic Partnership Agreement for providing NBP customers Digital Financial services, at the signing ceremony that took place at the NBP Head Office.

This Strategic Partnership agreement brings together the largest Government Bank with the pioneers of Digital Financial Services in the country, UBL Omni. The state-of-the-art solution will provide NBP customers with the ability to utilize 40,000+ UBL Omni authorized agents across the country.

The agreement was signed by Mr. Saeed Ahmed, CEO & President National Bank of Pakistan and Ms. Sima Kamil, President & CEO UBL in the presence of senior officials including Mudassir H. Khan, SEVP/Group Chief Payment Services & Digital Financial Group, NBP and Mr. Sharjeel Shahid, Group Head – Digital Banking, UBL, and other delegates. This initiative of NBP and UBL will empower millions of customers to make instant digital payments all over the country.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Saeed Ahmed used a reference from Quran and said “The best people are those who make the lives of others easier and UBL Omni is a product, which creates ease for ordinary people to make payments to meet every day needs. NBP & UBL are competitors in business however, we understand the importance of collaboration on certain fronts. NBP is proud to be associated with UBL Omni. We believe it is essential for Pakistani banks to collaborate and drive the pace of the banking industry to bring it at par with the International banking standards. He emphasized on the efficiency of interoperability for payment systems to make P2P, P2B, B2B, P2G and G2P payments”. He mentioned that he has been working on implementing measures to increase interoperability during his association with State Bank of Pakistan as a Deputy Governor and very soon the financial sector will see some considerable changes for further advancement of Digital Financial in Pakistan.

He agreed with Ms. Sima Kamil, the President & CEO UBL that the level of financial inclusion in Pakistan is very low. The target is to bring financial inclusion at 50% by 2020, which appears to be a big challenge to achieve in the coming 3 years however it is not impossible if the banking industry is able to develop an infrastructure and an eco-system to facilitate payment services. National Bank of Pakistan along with other banks will play its role in aggressively contributing towards this goal.

The President NBP said that “Since the introduction of Payment Services & Digital Financial Group, NBP has come into the lime light, we have our own challenges, targets and objectives but NBP is well positioned to overcome these challenges. NBP has already collaborated with Easy Paisa, Jazz Cash, U Paisa and UBL Omni is the fourth collaboration. Other partnerships like Zong and JS Bank are in pipeline after which NBP will be the first bank to have a completely interoperable platform.” He emphasized on Customer protection and stressed on a centralized well defined mechanism to handle disputes & complaint resolution. He stressed on providing Ease of use to the customers and suggested for developing joint marketing campaigns for developing customer awareness about products and the solutions that create the real benefit to the consumers.

Sharing her views, Ms. Sima Kamil said, “UBL has always prided itself on being a progressive and Innovative bank. UBL continues to lead the way in creating new and convenient products and services for our stakeholders”. Sima Kamil said that while competing with NBP in other areas of banking this is one area where collaboration and synergies will work better. UBL is proud of Omni and this alliance with NBP will further increase the coverage of this product. With our focus on adopting mobile and digital technologies for convenient financial solutions, we are pleased to partner with NBP to deliver Digital Financial services through UBL Omni. This landmark collaboration with NBP will strive to create a greater societal impact by providing banking services to the unbanked segment of society.”

JS Bank & Porsche Pakistan Join Hands

JS Bank and Porsche Pakistan have signed an agreement to provide auto financing solutions for Porsche’s ultra-luxury & sport cars to consumers in Pakistan. The signing ceremony was held at JS Bank Private Banking Centre at Ocean Tower, Karachi. Senior management from both Porsche Pakistan & JS Bank Limited were present at the occasion.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Basir Shamsie, Deputy CEO JS Bank stated, “The idea behind our alliance is to offer the world’s most dynamic & luxurious vehicles to enthusiasts in Pakistan. This joint experience is designed to be superior, enabling customers to buy new Porsche 911, Panamera, Cayenne or for upgrading their Porsche cars.”

Speaking at the occasion, Ms. Rabia Akbar, Head of Sales & Marketing – Porsche Pakistan, said “Porsche stands for high performance and German engineering excellence and we in Pakistan have been endeavoring to offer the same values and services to our customers in Pakistan for the last 10 years. We look forward to this association with JS Bank and hope it will be a great platform for shared values of excellence and superior solutions and services for our customers. We hope that this association will be a step forward in providing value addition to Porsche enthusiasts all over the country”.

HBL leads the way as the only bank with a branch in Gwadar and China

HBL opened its branch in the Gwadar Free Zone on the 29th of January 2018, making it the only bank to have a branch in Gwadar as well as China.

The branch was inaugurated by the Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Mr. Yao Jing, along with Mr. Zhang Baozhong, Chairman China Overseas Port Holding Company Ltd. and Mr. Rayomond Kotwal, Acting President and CEO, HBL. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Kotwal stated, “Today HBL stands proud as it becomes the first bank with branches in Gwadar as well as China. We are honored to be playing a leading role in supporting the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, opening new avenues of business, trade and investment between the two countries.”

Last year, HBL had become the first Pakistani bank to open a branch in China. That branch was opened in Urumqi – a city with enormous potential. HBL was also the first Pakistani bank to offer CNY accounts to its customers in Pakistan.

HBL offers a comprehensive product range covering corporate and individual customers, including financing, trade based facilities, guarantees, remittances, loans, debit and credit cards and much more. HBL’s target market is not just limited to customers in Pakistan and China but it aims to market CPEC opportunities across borders using its international reach and customer base.

As a bank that is an integral part of Pakistan’s fabric, HBL aspires to contribute to economic development in Pakistan, and looks forward to enriching the lives of its customers with its commitment to banking excellence.

Fertilizer industry concerns over higher rate of GIDC

Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) was imposed by the Government in 2010 through an ordinance, which was struck down by Peshawar High Court and the decision was upheld by Supreme Court being ultraverie. The Act was passed in 2015 by the Parliament and remains sub judice for being unreasonable and against the government policies. Notwithstanding the legal position, the GIDC act is highly discriminatory as well. Federal Government of Pakistan had subjected the Fertilizer industry to the highest rate of ’Gas Infrastructure Development Cess’ (GIDC) as compared with other industries. GIDC has been imposed at the rate of Rs.300 per MMBTU on Feed Gas (used as raw-material for urea manufacturing), while a GIDC rate of Rupees 150 per MMBTU is being charged on feul gas used by all other industries. Moreover, the Fertilizer industry is charged higher rate for fuel gas beside this discrimination within industrial sector. GIDC inclusive average gas prices (Rs 488 per mmbtu) are more than double the international prices (1.5 to 2 dollars per mmbtu) for gas provided to fertilizer sector. Thus high cost of production should in principle lead to higher rates of Urea; however, it is not the case. When GIDC was imposed, the urea was selling above Rs 2000 per bag and should have risen by Rs 373 per bag. However, because of government intervention the prices have been brought down to Rs 1400 per bag with a subsidy of Rs 100 and GST reduction of Rs 184 per bag. Fertilizer industry suffered a loss of Rs 106 per bag in support of subsidy scheme. Therefore, the fertilizer sector is being burdened with high cost of production that the industry is unable to pass on.

The stakeholders of fertilizer industry have expressed their concerns, stating that; the high rate of this Cess imposed on fertilizer sector is quite unfair and discriminatory in comparison to all other industries, whereby it places an unnecessary financial burden on this essential sector. In 2015, as result of negotiations, the fertilizer sector paid over Rs 100 billion to the national exchequer. It is worth mentioning that the bulk of the fertilizer industry is maintaining its own dedicated pipelines and spending billions of rupees on installation of compression stations because of the falling pressures due to diversion of gas to power sector from dedicated gas fields.

Fertilizer manufacturers are the biggest consumers of natural gas, because they are using gas as a basic raw-material to produce Urea. They do not burn gas solely as a fuel to operate their factories, hence making optimal use of our precious gas reserves through value addition. The government must consider that this industry has invested billions of Dollars to play an essential role in agricultural productivity, which is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy. Putting more tax-burden on this industry will also have a negative impact on domestic and international Food-Security, because Pakistan is a sizeable exporter of agricultural food-crops.

The GIDC Act 2015 passed by the National Assembly, states that the revenues generated through the ’Cess’ shall be utilized by the Government for the development of Gas-infrastructure, which includes major trans-national projects and LNG imports, etc. However, there is nothing in sight in this regard and Fertilizer Manufacturers are not going to benefit from the new infrastructure.

Byco modernizes its logistics operations

Pakistan’s leading energy company, Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited, is modernizing its logistics operation and is inducting brand new oil tankers for safely transporting petroleum products from its refinery in Mouza Kund across Pakistan. Following OGRA’s new safety protocols and guidelines, Byco is inducting modern oil tankers that comply with the latest OGRA & NHA safety guidelines for ADR Tank Lorries in its fleet for white oil transportation.

At a ceremony to induct the new oil tankers, Mr. Amir Abbassciy, Chief Executive Officer, BPPL, remarked: “Byco’s roll out of state-of-the-art, OGRA compliant oil tankers underscores our commitment to ensure that safety will always be Byco’s top priority.” Adopting industry best practices, Byco intends to completely modernize its white oil fleet of approximately 200 tank lorries to ensure the safe transportation of Byco’s products across Pakistan, consistent with the rules and regulations of transporting petroleum products. To ensure compliance of the OGRA & NHA standards, new tank lorries of 24 KL & 48 KL each were inducted in Byco’s fleet today at Byco’s Head Office in Clifton.

Byco places the utmost importance on safety. In December 2017, Byco conducted the nation’s largest Oil Spill simulation exercise in conjunction with the Pakistan Navy, entitled Barracuda. This exercise tests the readiness of the firm to deal with a maritime loss of containment. Similarly, Byco has put into place Tier 3 oil spill response, making it the only firm in Pakistan having this international standard. Byco regularly conducts safety trainings for its employees, to ensure they are aware of their roles and responsibilities and are prepared in case of any mitigating circumstances.

‘Empowering women in Punjab’ event held

ACCA women members from Lahore attended a learning session at the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women PCSW last week where they heard from the Chairperson Fauzia Viqar. At the occasion, Ms. Viqar stated that since PCSW was established in 2014, various endeavours have been taken to support women’s economic empowerment, including inter alia skills development opportunities and residence for survivors of violence, and a vibrant 24/7 helpline to address women’s legal and other queries. PCSW’s Leadership Initiative recruits dynamic women Executives from the private sector, and recommends them for placement on Boards of public entities in Punjab, to improve diversity of thought and innovation in the public sector. Establishment of an Economic Incubator and Employment Facilitation Hub are also in the pipeline.

Also speaking at the event was Haroon Jan Regional Head of Member Affairs who said “even though over 50% of our total global membership are women, in Pakistan we do lag far far behind. Professional finance roles are a perfect career choice for women in the 21st century due to the technological advances and flexibility in work. More and more employers need to invest in human capital as well as social and relationship capital to ensure they have the right gender equity. I hope this collaboration with PCSW means that our members, both men and women can play a constructive role for empowering women in Punjab.”

According to ACCA’s report Building a Better Business Through Finance Diversity “As businesses become more global, teams comprising individuals with a wide range of experiences are better placed to support the business. They give the organisation a much broader insight across markets, and help minimise the risk that uniform perspectives and entrenched views will hamper innovation. Diversity of thinking and skills allows companies to get more out of their workforce.”

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