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UBL and Dow University of Health Sciences collaborate on Cash Management Services

United Bank Limited (UBL) and Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for structured disbursements and collections through UBL’s state-of-the-art, fully automated retail cash management solutions. UBL’s financial solutions are widely used by the educational sector for their innovative product spectrum combined with unmatched customer service and nationwide branch network.

At the MoU signing ceremony, DUHS was represented by Prof. Dr. Mohammed Saeed Quraishy, DUHS’s Vice Chancellor and UBL was represented by Sima Kamil, President & CEO UBL. Also present at the event were Zia Ijaz, Group Executive-Branch Banking Group, UBL, Nadeem Shakoor Javeri, Director Finance, DUHS, and senior executives of both organizations.

At the occasion, Prof. Dr Quraishy stated that he is looking forward to experiencing the innovative digital solutions offered by UBL along with the convenience of seamless digital banking practice for Dow University’s day-to-day transactions.

Sima Kamil said, “UBL strives to be the best digital bank in Pakistan and this MoU with DUHS allows us another opportunity to contribute to Pakistan’s digital landscape by enriching its customer experiences and reinventing existing capabilities.”

Pakistan Post to deliver financial services through UBL Omni platform

United Bank Limited (UBL) and Pakistan Post recently signed a memorandum of understanding enabling post offices all over Pakistan to deliver financial services through the UBL Omni platform.

The agreement was signed by Sima Kamil, President & CEO, UBL and Rubina Tayyab, Director General of Pakistan Post. On this occasion Saqib Aziz, Secretary Postal Services and Sharjeel Shahid, Group Head – Digital Banking, UBL were also present along with senior executives of Pakistan Post and UBL.

Pakistan Post and UBL Omni, through this collaboration will enhance the customer experience at the Pakistan post offices by providing them multiple financial services including Remittance, Mobile account Opening, interbank fund transfer cash deposit /withdrawal for UBL account holders, Pakistan railway ticket payments and other disbursement projects. UBL Omni Branchless banking allows commercial players to offer financial services outside traditional bank premises. This initiative will enable UBL to increase its nationwide footprint.

Addressing the MoU signing ceremony, Federal Secretary Postal Services, Saqib Aziz said that the Ministry of Postal Services has initiated various projects to make Pakistan Post a vibrant public service department under the Reform Agenda approved by the Pakistan Government. He further added that the outreach, trust and delivery of services rendered by post offices in the remote areas provide unmatched opportunities for expansion of Branchless banking networks. He said this is a historic achievement of Pakistan Post to join hands with UBL to introduce branchless banking network for the customers.

Rubina Tayyab, Director General of Pakistan Post said “Financial Inclusion is the demand of the modern postal users and Pakistan Post join hands with UBL to provide branchless banking services to the masses across the country”. She added that Pakistan Post will become UBL Omni Super-Agent, initially in pilot phase with domestic remittances at selected locations and upon the success of this project, the network of UBL Omni alliance will be extended to all the post offices in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Sima Kamil, President & CEO UBL said, “Our partnership with Pakistan Post enables us to remotely serve a large customer base across Pakistan with the overall objective of providing convenient access to financial services to the underserved segments of the society. We are confident that the UBL and Pakistan Post partnership will augment our national financial inclusion initiatives”.

TPL and Pakistanis mapping Pakistan together!

TPL Maps – Pakistan first digital mapping solution, in its urge to remain one step ahead in providing innovative solutions to its consumer base, recently launched the first phase of an interactive campaign named Map My Pakistan.

The six-week competition went viral on Facebook during December and January. Thousands of TPL Maps app users were busy adding points of interest (locations or POIs) as they drove to school, office, their favorite restaurant or the mall. Although the excitement behind winning the ’Map My Pakistan’ competition was over the Samsung mobile phones reserved for the top 5 winners; all competitors were part of a much bigger initiative – to join TPL Maps in its journey to map Pakistan and putting our country on the global digital map.

The crowd sourcing campaign encourages TPL Maps users to add locations on the app and join TPL Maps’ team to achieve their objective of over 10 million POIs mapped on the country’s very own navigation app – something which is not possible without the people of Pakistan! With the competition, challengers across Pakistan collectively grew TPL Maps’ data base by over twenty thousand verified points of interest in a period of just six weeks! The top 5 lucky winners have been announced and the much deserved Samsung mobile phones have been sent to the winners! In order to keep the mapping journey going strong, the top 50 participants will be getting exciting gadgets and giveaways from the company as well.

Competition or no competition, the drive to map Pakistan is always on! To join us in this important journey, all you need to do is download the app via Play or App store, create an account, have your email verified and you’re set to add locations on the TPL Maps app!

This officially completes the pilot phase of the campaign; with many more similar competitions and interactive campaigns in the pipeline, download TPL Maps now to play your part in mapping Pakistan! The app is available for free on Play and App store.

Adeel Hashmi, Head of TPL Maps, sharing his thoughts on the campaign said, “Map My Pakistan is not only a hashtag trend, it defines who we are. Our vision is to comprehensively map every nook and corner of Pakistan and we have invested a lot of time and resources in executing this task. The digital map will substantially pave the way for e-commerce rise, as it will also assist new startups in the country, which will only help to further strengthen the economy. To complete this mammoth task, we require the support of the people of Pakistan to help us in bringing our country up to speed with the global digital transformation.

TPL Maps has the largest location database with over 250+ cities, 3.2 million geo coded addresses and over 300,000+ KM of road networks mapped across Pakistan, becoming the first indigenous digital mapping company of Pakistan, providing free services licensed by Survey of Pakistan.

TPL Maps has been resolute to bring the most innovative, localized location based services & solutions for its consumers in Pakistan. While it constantly updates its data within the mapping and navigations service, it also offers the largest geocoded dataset and smart search amongst a host of other features.

Yayvo Cricket Festival opens

Yayvo.com, Pakistan’s leading e-commerce platform is all set to launch ’Yayvo Cricket Festival’ starting from February 15, 2018. This was communicated at a press conference held at a local hotel in Karachi.

The press conference was arranged to announce the launch of the month-long cricket Yayvo Cricket Festival and Yayvo.com’s exclusive partnership with Karachi Kings. Yayvo will also offer a host of discounted offers along with kits, shirts, jerseys and other Karachi Kings merchandise exclusively.

Tickets for the PSL matches being in Pakistan will be sold online by Yayvo.com and TCS, Pakistan’s leading express and logistics service provider.

Babar Azam, Imad Waseem and other players of Karachi Kings were there to grace and add star power to the event.

M. A. Mannan, President, and CEO, TCS Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd, Salman Hassan, CEO, Yayvo.com, Salman Iqbal, CEO, ARY Digital Network and Tariq Wasi, CEO, Karachi Kings, addressed the press.

President and CEO TCS Holdings, M. A. Mannan said, “We thank PSL and Karachi Kings for placing its trust in our ability to manage a delicate task. We were aware of the issues that cricket fans had to face in the recent past to get tickets and made sure to provide them relief. TCS has always taken challenging tasks head-on in the past and will continue to do so in the future as well.”

Expressing his views about the partnership, CEO ARY Digital Network Salman Iqbal said, “We are excited to be a part of this initiative. Karachi Kings is Karachi’s very own team and I am hopeful that they will reach the finals this time.” He also shared his big plans for this season of PSL as the final is scheduled to be played in Karachi.

Tariq Wasi, CEO, Karachi Kings, lauded the efforts of Yayvo.com in multiplying the joy and excitement of PSL by joining hands with Karachi Kings as its official partner.

Singer Shehzad Roy, and actors Humayun Saeed and Faisal Qureshi, who are also the brand ambassadors of Karachi Kings, were present at the conference.

Software group signs key partner NDC to expand its operations in MENA

Software Group, a global technology company specialized in delivery channel and integration solutions for financial service providers, announces its partnership with National Data Consultant (NDC), an award-winning IT Services Provider to banks and financial institutions. The partnership will support Software Group’s strategy to expand operations in the MENA region and will add to the NDC’s rich portfolio of services.

NDC will act as a key business development and implementation partner of Software Group to enable the company to step in the local markets with great potential. The first countries where the partnership is being activated are Pakistan and Afghanistan. Both companies are already registering significant interest in the joint proposition from financial institutions in Pakistan. The partnership can further expand across the whole MENA and Asia Pacific region as well.

NDC carries deep domain knowledge and experience in all sectors of the financial services industry. Combined with the vast expertise of Software Group in integrations and alternative delivery channels, the two companies will enable financial organizations, in particular banks, branchless banks and microfinance institutions, to drive digitalization strategies and be more efficient and competitive on the market.

“We are very glad to partner with NDC in developing our operations in the MENA region. The company is well recognized in the financial sector and the partnership will be of a strategic importance for Software Group on the local markets. We are looking forward to establishing a long-term cooperation with NDC and together supporting financial institutions in their digitization journey.” says Mr. Kalin Radev, CEO of Software Group.

“NDC is delighted to collaborate with Software Group in helping digitize and extend outreach of banks” says Ammara Masood, CEO and President of NDC. “The digital finance industry in this region is both young and dynamic, and, as it grows, it is constantly innovating to address the issues it faces. We believe that with NDC’s strong presence, expertise of the local market and Software Group’s innovative solutions can really make a positive impact. We look forward to this strategic and long term partnership which will grow our existing client base” NDC current clients in Pakistan include 12 banks.

SalamAir initiates flights to Multan

Securing final clearances from the Pakistani aviation authorities, SalamAir, Oman’s first budget airline, is scheduled to operate three direct flights to Multan starting February 9th, 2018. Guests can now book their tickets on SalamAir.com for just PKR 25,000 return or visit the local office of SalamAir, operated by their local partner group, Gerry’s!

As SalamAir’s 3rd destination in Pakistan, Multan will complement the airline’s current flights to Sialkot and Karachi. The new route will also further increase connectivity between the two countries, as well as the region. The weekly flights are set to take-off at 23:55 from Muscat, arriving in Multan at 3:30. The return flights will depart from Multan at 4:50 arriving in Muscat at 6:35.

Captain Mohamed Ahmed, CEO of SalamAir, said: “The addition of Multan to our destinations will allow us to better serve our guests, and cater to rising number of business and leisure travelers. The Pakistani community makes up about 13% of the local expatriates working in Oman, it is therefore no surprise that this route has been one of the highest in demand. We have worked very hard with the authorities to ensure that our flight timings will allow our guests to conveniently connect to other destinations including Dubai, Doha, Jeddah and Salalah via Muscat.”

He added: “We are proud to have become the preferred airline for Pakistanis travelling for Umrah. In just a few months, we have flown over 30,000 passengers to and from Pakistan and that is only the beginning. We have bigger plans ahead.”

The CEO went on to explain that SalamAir is exploring other underserved destinations in Pakistan including Islamabad, Lahore and Faisalabad, as well as increasing its flight frequencies on current routes. Since its launch, SalamAir has been committed to connect the region by adopting an ’only pay for what you need’ low-cost business model. As its destination network continues to expand, the airline will remain focused on following its customer-centric philosophy, serving the needs its guests on popular short to medium-haul routes. With the addition of Multan, SalamAir’s network today also includes Muscat, Salalah, Suhar, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Multan, Karachi and Sialkot.

SalamAir has partnered up with Gerry’s Group as their local partners and representatives in Pakistan to ensure smooth progression and growth as per the airline’s vision. Gerry’s is one of the oldest aviation concerns of the Country and the most trusted name in the travel trade domain of Pakistan!

PTCL Microsoft in accord to enhance Cloud Solutions Portfolio

Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) achieves yet another milestone in enhancing its Cloud Services portfolio by signing Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partnership and Service Provider Licensing Agreement Partnership (SPLA) with Microsoft. The partnership agreements were signed at PTCL Headquarters, Islamabad, by Adil Rashid, Chief Digital Services Officer, PTCL and Abid Zaidi, Country Manager, Microsoft Pakistan, along with Dr. Daniel Ritz, PTCL President & CEO, Leila Serhan, Regional General Manager, Microsoft North Africa, East Mediterranean & Pakistan and other high-ranking officials from both companies.

Riding the tide of digital transformation in Pakistan, PTCL has stepped forward to bring one-window solutions, from serving connectivity needs to becoming an end-to-end business partner for IT requirements of the local market. Facilitating organizations to achieve their objectives, PTCL recognizes that every business is different, and each cloud deployment requires customization with elements that make the overall solution unique to the customer, thereby befitting individual business strategies.

Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program will allow PTCL to offer an array of services using Microsoft Cloud inclusive of Microsoft Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Power BI, Windows & other value-added services across Pakistan. Microsoft Service Provider Licensing agreement (SPLA) will enable PTCL to offer Microsoft’s updated service portfolio across its own in-country Cloud platform on a flexible billing model.

Dr. Daniel Ritz, President & CEO, PTCL on the occasion said, “PTCL’s collaboration with Microsoft is a significant step in our efforts to enhance our Digital Solutions offerings to create greater value for our Enterprise and SME Customers, who will now get benefit through best-in-class cloud solutions. We believe that this initiative will be a strong catalyst in development of the ICT sector in Pakistan.”

Leila Serhan, Regional General Manager, Microsoft said “Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more, and today’s announcement is an important milestone on this journey in Pakistan. With Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) & Microsoft Service Provider Licensing agreement (SPLA) partnership, our customers can now get everything from one vendor which makes PTCL a one-window solution provider, thereby simplifying processes for end customers. This is exactly what the customer needs today.”

Microsoft partnership would open up new Digital Services opportunities for PTCL as well as its enterprise and SME customers, whereby PTCL would be able to develop deeper business relationships; emerging as an end-to-end business partner. PTCL customers will benefit from tailored IT services offered through a dedicated as well as shared hosting environment. Moreover, customers would be able to use the most current and updated Microsoft platform.

PMEX Facilitates Third Electronic Murabaha Transaction

Pakistan Mercantile Exchange Limited (PMEX), country’s only multi-commodity futures exchange facilitated the country’s third electronic Murabaha transaction and the first transaction for a Modaraba between Meezan Bank Limited and First Al-Noor Modaraba.

State Bank of Pakistan of Pakistan (SBP) had earlier allowed banks to conduct transaction on PMEX Sharia Compliant Trading Platform (SCTP) in a limited capacity for the pilot period of three months.

The conclusion of various transactions in quick succession has written a new chapter in the history of Islamic banking. All market participants under the able guidance of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) are striving hard to bring Islamic banking at par with the conventional banking in the country. As these transactions become a norm, Islamic financial institutions will be able to manage their liquidity in a convenient, transparent and Shariah-compliant manner. This will also pave the way for the Government of Pakistan in borrowing money in a Shariah compliant manner.

Commenting on the occasion, Managing Director of PMEX, Mr. Ejaz Ali Shah, said, “I would like to congratulate First Al Noor Modaraba for conducting their first transaction at the PMEX platform with Meezan Bank. The joint efforts of apex regulators, Sharia advisors, Market Participants and financial institutions and the Exchange has successfully resulted in the formation of a new ecosystem which will pave the way for the development of Islamic Money Market.”

Mr. Jalaluddin Ahmed, CEO of First Al-Noor Modaraba (FAM) said, “We are pleased to announce that our Modaraba has participated in the electronic Murabaha transaction through Meezan Bank Limited using the Shariah Compliant Trading Platform (SCTP) at PMEX. Moreover, FAM is extremely thankful to Meezan Bank for providing the necessary expertise in executing the said transaction and are also grateful to PMEX for providing a smooth structure”.

Mr. Basheer A. Chowdry, Chairman, NBFI & Modaraba Association of Pakistan said, “I congratulate First Al-Noor Modaraba for participation in the electronic Murabaha Transaction. This would open a new era to the modaraba sector to diversify their activities in the commodity market.”

Pak Consul-General Toronto hosts President of Ryerson University for joint-collaboration

The Consul-General of Pakistan in Toronto, Mr. Imran Ahmed Siddiqui hosted a dinner at the Pakistan House in honour of Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, President, Ryerson University, to pursue collaboration between Pakistani universities and the Ryerson University of Canada.

The Consul-General officially invited the President of Ryerson University to visit Pakistan in 2018 and briefed him on the economic growth of the country and development of the education sector; he also highlighted the burgeoning pool of talented, innovative and highly skilled students.

Dr. Mohamed Lachemi, in his remarks appreciated the efforts of the Pakistani mission in Canada to promote opportunities for Pakistani students in higher-learning at the world’s top-notch universities. He lauded the steps taken by the authorities in the education sector in Pakistan to set-up world-class institutions of research, science and technology.

Senior faculty and administrative executives of the Ryerson University who attended the meeting cum dinner included, Mr. Anver Saloojee, Assistant Vice-President International; Mr. Todd Carmichael, Director and International Liaison Officer; Dr. Murtaza Haider, Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management; and Ms. Rabia Shahab, Development and Alumni Officer, Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science.

Also present were Mr. Haroon Siddiqui, Distinguished Visiting Professor; Prof. Dr. Shamim A. Sheikh, Professor of Engineering, University of Toronto; Dr. Shahid Hussain of University of Toronto; Dr. Hamid Akhtar ; Dr. Ijaz Hussain, Dean Faculty of Science, Brock University; Mr. Menin Rodrigues, Management Consultant; Dr. Zarar Rana, Mr. Adnan Bashir, Mr. Hasan Naqvi, Mrs. Khadija Hayat and the hostess, Mrs. Imran Ahmed Siddiqui.

NBP sponsors annual program of mass marriages

Pakistan Hindu Council held their annual program of mass marriages recently in which 100 Hindu couples from urban and rural Sindh got married in a grand ceremony at YMCA Ground, Karachi.

The occasion was full of colourful programs and celebration for all those who attended. Every year, more than 100 couples wait all year along for this ceremonial occasion, which marks a milestone in their lives.

National Bank, a socially responsible institution, assisted Pakistan Hindu Council once again by taking part as a sponsor in this mass marriage. The function was attended by friends and relatives from both groom and bride side and they appreciated the role of NBP and the support provided on this occasion.

On this joyous occasion the President & CEO NBP, Mr. Saeed Ahmad, conveyed his best wishes to all the newly married couples and vowed the institutional support of NBP to all classes of society including those from minorities.

On behalf of National Bank of Pakistan, EVP/Divisional Head, CSR presented a cheque to the organizer (Dr. Ramesh Kumar, Patron in Chief Pakistan Hindu Council) as a gesture of support to create harmony, prosperity and equal opportunity amongst the deserving fellow citizens.

NBP adopts five outpatient clinics for epilepsy

In line with its social responsibility of being the nation’s bank, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) has adopted five outpatient clinics at National Epilepsy Center (NEC) within the boundaries of Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center (JPMC) where epilepsy patients will be provided free of cost treatment.

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder and a rapidly growing disease in Pakistan. Work stress and lack of awareness are considered to be the main reasons behind this illness. With both rural and urban areas being the effected regions, a remedy for this is scarcely available within the hospitals in Pakistan.

Mr. Mohsin Furqan, EVP/Head of CSR, National Bank of Pakistan visited NEC on behalf of Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President and CEO, NBP and presented a cheque for donation to Professor Hasan Aziz, Chairman and Administrator, NEC.

“At National Bank of Pakistan, it is our priority to contribute and bring positive changes to improve the life of under privileged people under our CSR initiatives. Epilepsy is one of the most uncommon illness that still exists. Understanding the plight of underprivileged patients, we decided to support this cause by adopting these clinics, which will provide free of cost treatment to the patients. Our commitment remains to serve the society with more such noble collaborations to follow in future”, said Mr. Saeed Ahmad while stressing on significance of NBP’s initiative. While acknowledging Dr. Hasan Aziz’s detailed work on Epilepsy, Mr. Saeed Ahmed said that people like Dr Aziz are an asset for Pakistan whose hard work in this field has gained world-wide appreciation for the country.

NBP is one of the largest commercial bank of Pakistan and CSR is an integral part of its corporate policy. NBP has institutionalized CSR by making it a separate division and running a full-fledged program towards bringing a positive change and enhancing quality of life for the underprivileged members of our society. The key areas of focus for CSR initiatives are Sports, Education, Health Care, Women & Child well being programs, Special persons, Culture & relief for affectees of natural disasters.

MCB Bank announces financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017

The Board of Directors of MCB Bank Limited, met under the Chairmanship of Mian Mohammad Mansha, on February 15, 2018 to review the performance of the Bank and approve the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017.

During the year 2017, the Bank completed merger of NIB Bank Limited with and into MCB Bank Limited. The synergies from the merger were reflected in the financial numbers in NPL recoveries and deferred tax adjustment. On the financial performance side, MCB Bank Limited reported Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 31.01 billion and Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 22.46 billion. In comparison with the last year, Profit Before Tax has decreased by 14.03% whereas Profit After Tax has increased by 2.59% on account of reversal of prior year tax charges. Net markup income of the Bank was reported at Rs. 42.41 billion, down by 3.21% over last year owing to the maturity of high yielding bonds and low-interest rate environment. On the gross markup income side, the Bank reported an increase of Rs. 6.69 billion whereas on the interest expense side, the Bank registered an increase of Rs. 8.09 billion over last year. To supplement its net interest margins, the Bank remained focused on increasing its low cost deposit base and venture in higher yielding assets.

On the non-markup income front, the Bank reported a base of Rs. 17.96 billion with the growth of 11% over last year despite significant capital market volatility in later half of the year. Major contributions to non-markup income growth were operational in nature with fees & commissions increasing by 22.44% YoY and income from dealing in foreign currencies increasing by 42.93% YoY.

The administrative expense base (excluding pension fund reversal) recorded an increase of 23.62% over last year mainly on account of amalgamation of NIB Bank Limited (NIB) with and into MCB Bank Limited. On the provision against advances front, the Bank continued with its recovery trajectory and posted a significant reversal of Rs. 2.90 billion. Based on the volatility in the equity markets, net impairment on equity investments was recorded to the tune of Rs. 3.57 billion.

The total asset base of the Bank on a standalone basis was reported at Rs. 1.33 trillion reflecting a healthy increase of 26.19% over December 2016. Analysis of the asset mix highlights that net investments have increased by Rs. 101.04 billion (+18.17%) with net advances increasing by Rs. 121.24 billion (+34.83%) over December 31, 2016. The coverage and infection ratios of the Bank were reported at 93.74% and 9.47% respectively.

On the liabilities side, the deposit base of the Bank registered a splendid increase of Rs. 187.05 billion (+23.94%) over December 2016, including Rs. 61 billion contribution from Ex-NIB Bank Limited. The significant increase in deposits resulted in MCB achieving an all-time high deposit base of Rs. 968 billion on standalone basis with deposits crossing Rs. 1 trillion mark on consolidated basis. MCB Bank Limited continued to enjoy one of the highest CASA mixes in the banking industry of 92.86% with current deposits increasing by 27% and savings deposits by 19% over December 2016. Strategic focus on current accounts resulted in increase in concentration level to 38.94% of the total deposit base. Earnings per share (EPS) for the year was Rs. 19.56 as compared to Rs. 19.67 for 2016. Return on Assets and Return on Equity were reported at 1.89% and 17.65% respectively, whereas book value per share stood at Rs. 115.18.

The Bank remained a well-capitalized institution with a capital base well above the regulatory limits and Basel capital requirements. While complying with the regulatory capital requirements, the Bank has the highest cash dividend per share in the industry with regular interim dividends and remains one of the prime stocks traded in the Pakistani equity markets reflected by the highest market capitalization in the financial institution category as at December 31, 2017. Bank’s total Capital Adequacy Ratio is 16.44% against the requirement of 11.275% (including capital conservation buffer of 1.275%). Quality of the capital is evident from Bank’s Common Equity Tier-1 (CET1) to total risk weighted assets ratio which comes to 14.42% against the requirement of 6.00%. Bank’s well capitalization also resulted in a leverage ratio of 7.67% which is well above the regulatory limit of 3.0%. The Bank reported Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) of 194.13% and Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR) of 128.80% against requirement of 90% and 100% respectively.

The Bank enjoys highest local credit ratings of AAA / A1+ categories for long term and short term respectively, based on PACRA notification dated June 19, 2017. Moreover, TFC rating of MCB Bank Limited (Ex-NIB) has been upgraded from A+ to AAA, based on the notification from PACRA dated October 06, 2017.

The Bank has filed a petition in the Honourable Lahore High Court for demerger of 90 branches from MCB and its merger into wholly owned subsidiary MCB Islamic Bank Limited.

The Board of Directors declared final cash dividend of Rs. 4.0 per share for the year ended December 31, 2017 which is in addition to Rs. 12.0 per share interim dividends already paid to shareholders.

Pakistan Oil and Gas concern KPOGCL engages CRI Group’s Anti-Bribery Certification

Corporate Research and Investigations Private Ltd. (CRI Group) announced that KPOGCL, a nascent oil and gas exploration and production corporation in Pakistan, has engaged its CRI Certification services to achieve the ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management System Standard certification.

London-based CRI Group is a global provider of Integrity Due Diligence, Employment Background Screening, Third-Party Risk Management and Compliance and Other Professional Investigative Research services. In 2016, the company launched its Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Center of Excellence (ABAC® CoE) to offer CRI Certification and expert training in programs including 3PRM-CertifiedTM and 3PRM-QualifiedTM.

KPOGCL is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan, the provincial holding company established in 2013 to make KP self-sufficient by discovering indigenous resources in the province. Raziuddin Razi, CEO of KPOGCL, said that engaging in ISO 37001:2016 ABMS Certification helps the organization provide “full confidence to its partners and shareholders, i.e., the government of KP, Pakistan.”

Razi said that KPOGCL “is in a relentless pursuit to bring the hidden treasures for the comfort of the masses and value for its shareholders. It has opened avenues of investment for international and national companies because it enjoys a great rapport with the business community as a competent and truthful entity.”

“KPOGCL’s journey to the London Stock Exchange via the Karachi Stock Exchange and AIM shall need milestones, such as ISO 37001,” Razi said. “The investors and business partners can fully rely on our merit and excellence, and ISO 37001 shall certify these characteristics of ours.”

ISO 37001:2016 Certification

The newly established ISO 37001 standards is designed to help global organizations implement an anti-bribery management system. The standard specifies a series of measures required by the organization to prevent, detect and address bribery, and provides guidance relative to that implementation.

Zafar Anjum, Group Chief Executive Officer of CRI Group, said that ISO 37001:2016 certification is designed to help companies establish, implement, maintain and enhance their internal anti-bribery and anti-corruption systems.

“We look forward to working with KPOGCL and helping them achieve their goals and be recognized as among the highest level of ethical organizations,” Anjum said. “It is of critical importance that ISO 37001:2016 standards are recognized and practiced in more than 160 countries worldwide.”

CRI Certification’s auditors and analysts develop measures that integrate with existing management processes and controls, and include:

* Adopting an anti-bribery policy

* Establishing buy-in and leadership from management

* Training personnel in charge of overseeing compliance

* Communicating the policy and program to all personnel and business associates

* Providing bribery and corruption risk assessments

* Conducting due diligence on projects, business associates, and other third-party affiliations

* Implementing financial and commercial controls

* Developing reporting and investigation procedures

“Bribery is a key issue in both local markets and global business activities,” Anjum said. “The desire to expand business operations and maximize commercial profits requires not only identification and management of operational risks but also identification and mitigation of bribery risks. As the world’s governing bodies gravitate to more stringent standards and efforts to prevent corruption, bribery, and other unethical business practices, we stand ready to help companies meet and exceed those standards.”

KE’s customer-friendly initiatives for Industries highlighted

K-Electric’s customer-friendly initiatives for industries have reduced the turnaround time for providing new power connection by 30% in 2017 as compared to its preceding year. These and other customer-friendly initiatives by KE were also showcased during the Sindh Doing Business Reforms Exhibition held at a local hotel.

The power utility extends complete facilitation to Industrial Associations in terms of operational queries as well as new power connections. Initiatives like process automation and reduction in number of prerequisites were also received well by the customers. Moreover, KE has set up an internal department to monitor turnaround time of all new industrial applications. Plans are also underway to introduce a dedicated helpline for industrial customers.

Speaking on the occasion, Naheed Memon, Chairperson Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) said, “We are cognizant of the investments K-Electric had made for improvement in power infrastructure of Karachi and the power utility is committed to aligning itself with our project to improve Pakistan’s ranking in the ease of doing business index. SBI is glad to observe the process transformation by KE which will help us enhance Pakistan’s ranking in Ease of Doing Business Index. KE’s transformation has been remarkable and we hope that continuous upgradation in infrastructure is made in line with the growing energy needs of Karachi. We will extend all possible support to KE in the future too.”

Per KE spokesperson, “Exempting industries from load-shed was a groundbreaking initiative by KE – fueling industrial growth and economic prosperity in the city. The power utility is also adding new grids to meet the growing power demand of new industrial consumers, as industries are and will remain the top priority of KE and all possible measures would be taken to continue to facilitate industrial consumers.”

The power utility also organized its Plant for Pakistan drive during the exhibition and distributed saplings among the attendees in addition to setting up Energy Conservation kiosk to raise public awareness around energy conservation and promote energy efficiency initiatives.

CEO JAZZ, Aamir Ibrahim appointed Head of Emerging Markets, VEON Group

VEON Ltd. (formerly VimpleCom the parent company of Jazz), announced today that Aamir Hafeez Ibrahim will replace Jon Eddy as the Head Emerging Markets (Algeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh) for VEON, while continuing as CEO of Jazz.

These changes mark a further step in implementing a leaner, more efficient corporate structure aimed at basing certain Group activities out of the local operations.

Aamir’s new responsibilities include overseeing VEON’s businesses in Algeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan while remaining CEO of Jazz, where he successfully executed the Mobilink and Warid integration and has demonstrated strong operational results.

Aamir has over two decades of international experience as a senior executive across multiple industries and has lived and worked in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. Prior to joining Jazz, Aamir was a Senior Vice President at Telenor, where he led transformation and distribution initiatives across Asia. Aamir previously held senior leadership positions at Ford, Jaguar and Land Rover.

Aamir will now report directly to Jean-Yves Charlier, VEON’s Chief Executive Officer, and will be part of the company’s senior executive management team.

Commenting on the appointment, Jean-Yves Charlier, Chief Executive Officer of VEON, said: “Aamir has extensive international experience and a deep knowledge of his respective market. He currently heads one of the most successful operating companies in our portfolio and I look forward to his contributions in helping grow our core connectivity businesses and accelerating the pace of development of our digital strategy. This move also reflects the wider changes in our business as we draw on leaders who are closer to their markets, with the requisite experience to guide our businesses on a global level.”

British business delegation identifies infrastructure opportunities in Pakistan

The Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan Rehman Chishti MP led a delegation of six senior business representatives from the UK’s financial, legal and professional services sector to discuss UK commercial participation in infrastructure projects in Pakistan.

Some of the UK’s leading companies took part in the delegation which was led by the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan Rehman Chishti MP. They were joined by CDC Group plc, the development finance institution owned by the UK government, which is actively looking at investment opportunities in Pakistan.

The visit to Standard Chartered was a part of a three-day visit, three city visit to Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad to meet with ministers, senior government officials and businesses.

The delegation in Karachi was hosted by Shazad Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Pakistan at the Bank’s Head office over lunch. The mission and the delegates discussed various forthcoming infrastructure projects, investment opportunities and how UK companies can play a greater role in the development of Pakistan’s infrastructure.

Commenting on the visit, Shazad Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Pakistan said,

“The Bank has a positive view on Pakistan’s economy and believes the country offers huge investment opportunities and is open for business. There are tremendous infrastructure opportunities for UK businesses in Pakistan in the wake of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) once the economic zones are established. Pakistan is a key trading partner of UK and with the implementation of CPEC projects, the business communities of the two countries will potentially get even closer.”

Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan Rehman Chishti MP said,

“This is my second visit to Pakistan since being appointed as the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Pakistan. I am delighted to bring with me a delegation of some of the United Kingdom’s leading companies to support Pakistan in the development of the country’s infrastructure. The UK and Pakistan have a shared ambition to deepen our trading relationship and it is the UK government’s firm desire to see more British companies doing business with, and in, Pakistan creating jobs and prosperity and playing an active role in Pakistan’s economic development.

The UK is in a strong position to participate in projects owing to our world-class strengths ensuring projects deliver strong development outcomes, deliver shared prosperity objectives and better meet international standards

I thank Standard Chartered Bank for providing a forum to take this discussion further and gaining insight from key businesses that are already well established in the market.”

A number of important sectors of economy were represented at the lunch, including textile, energy and financial services.

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