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Ahmed Shuja Kidwai named new CEO of Al Baraka Bank

Ahmed Shuja Kidwai has been appointed as the new CEO of Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) after the board of directors of Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C (ABG) gave its go-ahead.

Mr. Kidwai took the helm of affairs on March 1st, 2018 and replaces Shafqaat Ahmed as the new CEO of Al Baraka Bank in Pakistan.

Chairman, Khalid Rashid Al Zayani, Al Baraka Islamic Bank-Bahrain felicitated Shafqaat Ahmed for his invaluable services and leadership during his presidency which lasted 25 years.


According to Mr. Zayani, Mr. Ahmed was a true inspiration and towering figure of Islamic banking in Pakistan and had played a critical role in the growth of Al Baraka Bank operations in Pakistan at both businesses and branch network levels.

Mr. Ahmed led the transformation of Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) from one branch to a network of 200 branches in over 100 cities across the country.

President and Chief Executive of Al Baraka Bank Group and Chairman of Al Baraka Bank Pakistan Limited, Adnan Ahmed Yousif said “While thanking Shafqaat and wishing him well in his future life, I am delighted to welcome Ahmed Shuja Kidwai as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Bank.

Mr. Kidwai has served Al Baraka Bank for over 22 years, starting from January 1996 and played a pivotal role in consolidating and establishing the banks position especially in Karachi.

Ahmed Shuja Kidwai has a diversified international banking experience of over forty years with an awesome track for business acumen, customer focused and employee centric style of management.

Al Baraka Bank (Pakistan) Limited provides Islamic banking services to corporate, SME, and consumer sectors in Pakistan. Its retail banking services include deposit accounts, such as basic banking accounts, current accounts, savings accounts, term deposits, senior citizens accounts, and young savers accounts; and consumer finance services, including home finance, travel services, and family Takaful plans.

Standard Chartered PLC – Performance highlights For the twelve months

Standard Chartered PLC (the Group) today releases its results for the year ended 31 December 2017. All figures are presented on an underlying basis unless otherwise stated with a full reconciliation between statutory and underlying results presented on page 12 of this press release and page 211 of the 2017 Annual Report.

“The transformation of the Group continued in 2017 with the significant improvement in underlying profits, a strong capital position and emerging clarity on regulatory capital requirements allowing us to resume paying dividends. We are encouraged by our start to 2018 and remain focused on realising the Group’s full potential.” Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive

Financial performance for the year:
  • Significant improvement in profitability and returns was a direct consequence of the many actions taken since 2015
  • Profit before tax of $3.0bn was up 175%and up 71%excluding Principal Finance
  • Statutory profit before tax of $2.4bn is stated after restructuring and other items and was $2.0bn higher
  • RoE improved from 0.3%to 3.5%; just under half-way towards the Group’s initial milestone of 8%
  • Operating income of $14.3bn was up 3%despite a 4%drag from Financial Markets
  • 13%income growth from key areas of investment (half of total), with particular strength in liability-led products
  • Industry-wide low volatility during 2017 impacted performance in Financial Markets
  • Income was 3%lower quarter-on-quarter due partly to the early achievement of a bonus in Wealth Management
  • Net interest income increased 5%and the net interest margin increased slightly to 1.55%
  • Other operating expenses of $8.6bn were well controlled rising 2% due primarily to variable pay
  • Over 85%of the four-year $2.9bn gross cost efficiencies target has been achieved with a year to go
  • Gross savings funded investment of $1.5bn (2016: $1.4bn), 50%over the 2015 level
  • Anticipate operating expenses excluding the UK bank levy in 2018 to be below 2015
  • Regulatory costs rose 15%, with several large programmes including MiFID II and IFRS 9 being implemented
  • Further significant progress in implementing financial crime prevention capabilities
  • Continuing cooperation and ongoing discussions with US and UK authorities to resolve historical matters
  • After updating prior-year estimates, the UK bank levy was $220m; the estimate for 2018 is around $310m
  • Asset quality overall has improved with the focus on better quality origination within a more granular risk appetite
  • Loan impairment of $1.2bn halved as management actions resulted in improvement across all client segments
  • Profit from associates and joint ventures rose $185m following better performances in China and Indonesia
  • RWAs in the liquidation portfolio have been reduced considerably from $20bn in 2015 to $815m at the end of 2017
  • Basic earnings per share increased from 3.4 cents in 2016 to 47.2 cents in 2017
Balance sheet and capital
  • Capital and liquidity ratios remain strong
  • CET1 ratio of 13.6%remains above the Group’s reiterated 12-13%target range
  • Liquidity coverage ratio was 146%with a prudent surplus to regulatory requirements
  • Strong and broad-based balance sheet growth in both customer loans and advances and customer deposits
  • The impact of adopting IFRS 9 and implementing final Basel III reforms is considered manageable
  • Adopting IFRS 9 increases credit provisions by $1.2bn and has a negligible day-one impact on the CET1 ratio
  • Early assessment of final Basel III reforms to be implemented in 2022 is a 10-15%increase in current RWAs
  • The Board has recommended resuming a dividend given improving financial performance and strong capital
  • Full year dividend of 11 cents per ordinary share proposed for 2017
  • Intend to increase the dividend per share over time as the Group’s performance improves
  • New medium-term Group income growth target of 5-7%CAGR with cost increases controlled below inflation
  • We are encouraged by our start to 2018 with broad-based double-digit year-on-year income growth

Operating leverage and continued focus on risks is expected to deliver RoE above 8%in the medium term

Shell sees potential LNG supply shortage as global demand surges

The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market has continued to defy expectations of many market observers, with demand growing by 29 million tonnes to 293 million tonnes in 2017, according to Shell’s annual LNG Outlook. Such strong growth in demand is consistent with Shell’s first LNG Outlook, published in 2017. Based on current demand projections, Shell sees potential for a supply shortage developing in mid-2020’s, unless new LNG production project commitments are made soon.

Japan remained the world’s largest LNG importer in 2017, while China moved into second place as Chinese imports surged past South Korea’s. Total demand for LNG in China reached 38 million tonnes, a result of continued economic growth and policies to reduce local air pollution through coal-to-gas switching.

“We are still seeing significant demand from traditional importers in Asia and Europe, but we are also seeing LNG provide flexible, reliable and cleaner energy supply for other countries around the world,” said Maarten Wetselaar, Integrated Gas and New Energies Director at Shell. “In Asia alone, demand rose by 17 million tonnes. That’s nearly as much as Indonesia, the world’s fifth-largest LNG exporter, produced in 2017.”

LNG has played an increasing role in the global energy system over the last few decades. Since 2000, the number of countries importing LNG has quadrupled and the number of countries supplying it has almost doubled. LNG trade increased from 100 million tonnes in 2000 to nearly 300 million tonnes in 2017. That’s enough gas to generate power for around 575 million homes.

LNG buyers continued to sign shorter and smaller contracts. In 2017, the number of LNG spot cargoes sold reached 1,100 for the first time, equivalent to three cargoes delivered every day. This growth mostly came from new supply from Australia and the USA.

The mismatch in requirements between buyers and suppliers is growing. Most suppliers still seek long-term LNG sales to secure financing. But LNG buyers increasingly want shorter, smaller and more flexible contracts so they can better compete in their own downstream power and gas markets.

This mismatch needs to be resolved to enable LNG project developers to make final investment decisions that are needed to ensure there is enough future supply of this cleaner-burning fuel for the world economy.

See Shell’s full LNG Outlook for 2018 at www.shell.com/lngoutlook

PSO grants scholarships to the IBA students

Pakistan State Oil Company Limited (PSO), the largest Oil Marketing Company of the country, and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), a leading higher education institution of Pakistan, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support higher education of students from disadvantaged background. PSO CSR Trust has announced a grant of Rs. 3.3 million for PSO Scholarships to at least 10 IBA students.

Mr. Shahzad Safdar, Trustee, PSO CSR Trust, and Ms. Malahat Awan, Head of Alumni Affairs-IBA, signed and exchanged the MoU documents. Mr. Yacoob Suttar, Chairman, PSO CSR Trust and other representatives from both sides also witnessed the ceremony held at the PSO House.

PSO actively supports the cause of education at primary, secondary and higher levels. The company also funds technical education to support needy students from humble background. PSO CSR Trust’s initiatives in education include supporting needy students through scholarships, providing financial assistance to construct new and rehabilitate old infrastructure of educational institutions and giving financial aid to run dormant educational institutes in underserved communities.

As a responsible corporate citizen, PSO also supports various causes in health and community development areas as part of its philanthropic initiatives to benefit deserving communities.

Mr. Yacoob Suttar, Chairman of the PSO CSR Trust, said:

“The basic aim of this grant to IBA is to develop quality human resource in the country and support youth at the same time in pursuing career oriented education for professional growth. Besides this, the initiative also aims to bring the industry and the academia more close”.

Ms. Malahat Awan, Head of Alumni Affairs, IBA, said:

“The IBA is grateful to PSO and PSO CSR Trust for their continued support in ensuring that deserving and meritorious students get a chance to study without any financial restraints. We also hope that this relationship between the two leading organizations will be fruitful and enduring for the students, society, and the economy of Pakistan.”

PMEX Signs MOU with DCE

Pakistan Mercantile Exchange (PMEX), Pakistan’s first and only multi-commodity futures exchange, signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dalian Commodity Exchange (DCE), China at the PMEX Head Office in Karachi. A seven member delegation of DCE led by their Chairman visited PMEX for the signing ceremony. The objective of MOU is to seek cooperation in broader fields with emphasis on collaborations including market development, business cooperation, experience sharing, etc.

This is the fifth international collaboration for PMEX. In the past, MoU’s have been signed with four exchanges namely; Borsa Istanbul, Izmir Commodity Exchange (ICE), Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) and Iran Mercantile Exchange (IME).

Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Ejaz Ali Shah, Managing Director of PMEX, said, “PMEX is pleased to sign an MoU with DCE. Pakistan-China bilateral ties are time tested and are expected to further consolidate with the commencement of work on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC), which is expected to be a game changer for the region and beyond. PMEX strongly believes that the enhancement of transportation linkages and the development of other related infrastructure under the CPEC will pave the way for enhanced trade between the two countries. Signing of this MoU lays the groundwork for future cooperation between both the Exchanges to facilitate trade between the neighboring counties.”

Mr. Li Zhengqiang, Chairman of DCE, said “DCE has always attached high importance to international cooperation with foreign exchanges. As the ’One Belt and One Road’ initiative progresses over the years, the all-weather strategic partnership between China and Pakistan has continued to deepen, with new achievements continuously made. PMEX offers a diverse range of domestic and international commodities and financial futures. The signing of this MoU will facilitate both sides to explore more opportunities for business cooperation as well as create new channels for long-term cooperation. It will benefit the development of the financial markets of both countries, and add support to the national government’s ’One Belt and One Road’ initiative and DCE’s internationalization strategy.”

Clarifies on Multan-Sukkur Motorway project NHA

National Highway Authority (NHA), in response to certain media reports about alleged ” irregularities” in the award of Multan-Sukkur Motorway, has clarified that the contract of the subject project was processed and awarded as per the prevalent rules and regulations with total transparency and there is no question of violation of any rule in this regard.

Multan-Sukkur Motorway (M-5) is the flagship project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project is included in the Framework Agreement signed between Government of People’s Republic of China and Government of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and is funded by China. This Agreement envisaged bidding between constructors nominated by Chinese Government and the project to be implemented on EPC basis. Accordingly, bidding was carried out between three nominated bidders and procurement was conducted in accordance with PPRA Rule-5 which envisages precedence of international agreements over local laws.

Following the detailed technical and financial evaluation, M/s China State Construction Engineering Corporation emerged as the lowest evaluated bidder with original bid price of Rs.406 billion. It is not true that original bid price was Rs. 240 billion and was increased subsequently. Discussions with the lowest bidder were held on the original bid and the alternate bid (submitted by the lowest evaluated bidder along with the original bid). The submission of alternate bid was as per the standard practice of Pakistan Engineering Council and provisions of bidding documents.

Under EPC mode, bidding is carried out on the basis of Employer’s Requirements which lists down the broad parameters of the infrastructure facility that is to be constructed. The bidders carryout their own preliminary design that meets the Employer’s Requirements and submit their bids accordingly. Therefore, clarification meetings with the lowest evaluated bidder are a norm for optimizing the scope and ultimately the price. It is also pertinent to highlight that no grievance was ever raised by any participating bidder.

The contract was finalized at the rationalized bid price of Rs.294 billion envisaging exemption of duties on import of construction equipment / materials. For this purpose, the bid price was reduced to the tune of Rs. 19 billion. The PC-I of the project was revised on the basis of finalized bid and approval of ECNEC was obtained prior to signing of Contract Agreement. This approved PC-1 included exemption of above mentioned duties. The case for approval of exemptions was initiated simultaneously; however, it took considerable time in the approval process as many stakeholders like FBR, Ministry of Finance, etc. were involved. The provision of exemptions was not the first instance as similar exemptions were earlier granted on other mega projects including Lahore Islamabad Motorway (M-2) and Peshawar Islamabad Motorway (M-1). A reduction to the tune of US$ 200 million in project cost was achieved against this exemption which was duly approved by ECNEC and ECC.

Nestlé Pakistan wins First prize for United Nations Global Compact Award

For second time in a row, Nestlé Pakistan was awarded with First Prize for “Living the UN Global Compact Business Sustainability Award 2017”, in a multi-national category. In 2016, Nestlé Pakistan was awarded with the first prize as well in the category “Living the Global Compact Business Excellence 2014-15.”

Winning this prestigious award twice in a row signifies Nestlé Pakistan’s continuous commitment towards its purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future in complete alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Nestlé Pakistan’s vision lies at the core of promotion of United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Principles in terms of engaging with community outreachacrossits value chain through initiatives such as Nestlé Healthy Kidsto educate children about healthy lifestyle. By partnering with various schools they have reached more than 140,000 children so far.

Furthermore, Nestlé Pakistan has also reached out to the rural Pakistan by partnering with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). The initiative, focuses on needs of BISP beneficiaries, by providing them with livelihood opportunities along with holding seminars to educate them on basic nutrition knowledge.

Nestlé also partnered with WWF-Pakistan to implement the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) standards for improved water efficiency. So far, two of its factories have been awarded with AWS certification which is also the first in Pakistan.

On being awarded by such prestigious network, Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs, Nestlé Pakistan said “We are honored to be recognized by UNGC for the second time, this motivates us further to continue our mission in line with UNGC principles”.

FasihulKarim Siddiqi, Executive Director Global Compact Network Pakistan also congratulated Nestlé and said “We recognize Nestlé’s commitment which is completely aligned with UNGC principles of sustainable business practices in Pakistan, I think such practices should be promoted at greater levels for other businesses to follow.”

The event was organized by Employers’ Federation of Pakistan which launched the formation of Global Compact Network Pakistan in 2005 to embrace the ten principles of UNGC. The network is currently fortified with around 90 organizations in Pakistan.

Management Association of Pakistan holds 33rd Corporate Excellence Awards

Dr. Ishrat Hussain, eminent economist and ex-Governor State bank has stated that the business should ponder upon the social purpose of a company; corporate excellence should also focus on social aspects and not only on shareholder value and profits. He was presiding the 33rd Corporate Excellence Awards of the Management Association of Pakistan (MAP).

“The emphasis should be on the triple bottom line i.e. Profits, People and Planet, which now is being followed globally,” said Dr. Hussain. He added, “The driver of growth in future would be intellectual capital and corporate entities need to invest in the training of their employees.” He praised MAP for organizing the Corporate Excellence Awards consistently since 1982 and suggested to keep reviewing the criteria of awards in line with social purpose of business, which shall also be considered as a benchmark for corporate excellence.

Earlier, Mr. Asif Ikram, President, Management Association of Pakistan talked about the role that MAP has played in creating awareness about the best management practices amongst the companies. For this purpose MAP instituted its Corporate Excellence Award in 1982 which today is considered the ultimate accolade in the realms of corporate management. The Award seeks to recognize and reward the best managed companies in Pakistan. He stressed upon the need for keeping up with changing times as the rate of change has changed and it is happening exponentially. In this age of hyper competition, barriers have come down due to change in technology and therefore, companies must seek new ways to compete through innovation. Managing these challenges leads us to achieving excellence.

He informed the gathering about MAP’s interaction with international bodies like Asian Association of Management Organizations (AAMO) and various value added benefits which the MAP members can avail.

Ms. Amina Aziz, Director, SECP gave a presentation on Evolution of Corporate Governance Framework in Pakistan.

The top trophy winner in the Amir S. Chinoy Industrial category was Indus Motors Company Ltd. while Jubilee General Insurance Co. Ltd was awarded the top trophy in the Financial category.

Sector wise awards in the Industrial sector were given to Pakistan Tobacco Co. Ltd, Mari Petroleum Co. Ltd, Al_Ghazi Tractors Ltd, Thal Ltd, Pakistan International Container Terminal Ltd, Lucky Cement Ltd, Fauji Fertilizer Co. Ltd, Abbott Laboratories Pak Ltd, Archroma Pakistan Ltd, Cherat Packaging Ltd, Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan Ltd, KSB Pumps Ltd and Shifa International Hospitals Ltd.

Sector wise awards in the Financial Sector were received by Allied Bank Ltd, Jubilee Life Insurance Company Ltd, Orix Leasing Pakistan Ltd, Orix Modaraba, EFG Herms Pakistan Ltd and Atlas Stock Market Fund.

Certificates of Excellence in the Not for Profit Sector were presented to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, The Citizens Foundation and LRBT.

The runner-up companies were awarded Certificates of Corporate Excellence.

JS Bank and Islamabad Police Introduce QR Code Parking System

JS Bank has partnered with Islamabad Police to launch an innovative QR Code based public parking solution titled Park Secure. This system was launched by JS Bank in line with its focus to provide innovative technological solutions for the convenience and benefit of the public.

This system will be used to secure all public parking areas by issuing a digitally created QR coupon tagged with the vehicle information upon entry. At the time of exit, the QR code will be scanned and only vehicles with matching credentials will be allowed to exit. The system will live statistics of cars which have entered, exited or are currently parked at any given public area. These details can be shared with other relevant organizations and departments for further action.

Speaking about this new initiative, IG Islamabad Mr. Sultan Azam Temuri said “Safety of the public and their property is of utmost importance for us. One of the new safety and security initiatives undertaken in this regard is the QR code based digital parking system. We are confident that this system will provide the public with greater convenience and protection. We are also working to introduce other digital policing initiatives in the near future.”

Expressing his views on this achievement, Mr. Noman Azhar, Country Head Branchless Banking & Digital Implementation for JS Bank said “We are proud to support the vision and efforts of the Islamabad Police for digitization. We believe that technology is a key component to solving many of the challenges which we face today. Park Secure is a revolutionary initiative and will result in positive outcomes for all stakeholders.”

Jazz Introduces Pakistan’s First 4G Enabled Feature Phone

Jazz, Pakistan’s number one digital company, has launched Jazz Digit 1 – a 4G enabled ’smart’ feature phone for customers across Pakistan. The launch is in line with Jazz’s commitment of introducing affordable products and services in a bid to bridge the prevalent digital divide.

The Digit 1 is a Jazz branded ’smart’ feature phone that offers 6 months of free 4G internet* along with a free data SIM. The device supports famous smartphone applications like Facebook and WhatsApp. Other special features involve a touchscreen, Wi-Fi hotspot, a 2MP camera and a reliable 2000 mAh battery.

Muhammad Ali Khan, Head of Devices at Jazz, said, “We are constantly looking for avenues to provide our customers with the best in-class and affordable services and products. The launch of Jazz Digit 1 enables our customers to use our fastest 4G network to reach out to their loved ones over social media in a cost effective manner.”

Digit1 is the first ever 4G ’smart’ feature phone powered by a Qualcomm processor and will be a game changer in the feature phone market. Users will be able to enjoy smart applications like Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube via browser for the first time on a feature phone.

The phone fits well with prevalent market dynamics as majority of the mobile subscribers in the country are still using legacy 2G phones and needs newer options to convert to latest technologies like 4G.

Currently, the devices are available at Jazz Experience centers and franchises nationwide for PKR 5,300 along with Digit’s one year official warranty program.

Ecommerce Gateway to hold 5 major Industrial exhibitions

The top trade-fair organizer of Pakistan – Ecommerce Gateway is all set to organize 5 international mega-exhibitions, starting in Karachi from 13th March and concluding on 15th of March 2018. The multiple events will be held at the Karachi Expo Center. These 3-day events will include Auto & Transport Asia, Engineering Asia, Oil & Gas Asia and Power & Alternative Energy Asia.

These events will feature more than 1000 local and foreign exhibitors and is expected to be attended by more than 100,000 people, whereby all major players will get an opportunity to display and market their products and services. It will also give a platform to the international investors, manufacturers, traders and foreign entrepreneurs to interact with various segments of Pakistani consumers.

These diversified events include: The 17th International Auto, Transport & Logistics Asia – the biggest platform for the presentation of the products from Automobile industry, Commercial Vehicle industry, Railway Industry, Next-Gen Battery Industry and Airlines Industry. The 17th International Engineering Show- a leading event featuring the advancements in technology and breakthrough inventions in the Engineering Sector. The 17th International Oil & Gas Machinery and Technology Asia – is the largest platform in the continent for exhibiting high-end products and services of this sector. The International Mines, Mineral & Metal Expo Fair – is a vibrant platform for all international and national stakeholders to showcase the latest products and innovations of this highly lucrative industry.

Dr. Khurshid Nizam – President of Ecommerce Gateway Pvt. Ltd. stated that; “It is matter of pride for us to organize these 5 different International events here in Pakistan, during the month of March 2018. These events will be the biggest interactive platforms for the relevant companies to expand their customer-outreach and customer engagement. Companies belonging to different industrial sectors of the country can take great advantage of the attentive and receptive target audience, to inspire and create new customers.”

These 3-day events will provide all stakeholders to explore fresh business opportunities in Pakistan. The liberal Investment policy adopted by the Government of Pakistan will attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from International Businesses and entrepreneurs. Pakistan’s economy is gaining more momentum as the country is maintaining a steady growth. As the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP) of the nation improve, it will further increase the confidence of the foreign stakeholders.

The enthusiastic participation of local and foreign companies in these exhibitions will further strengthen the trade-volume and brand-image of Pakistan. These spectacular events will contribute to economic growth and thus establish a pathway for a progressive Pakistan. With the increase in the market size and an increase in demand for quality products and better services in Pakistan, these events will create a positive impact on the wellbeing of the people.

These mega-events being organized by Ecommerce Gateway will also provided valuable opportunities to overseas exhibitors and investors to interact with local entrepreneurs for joint ventures, transfer of technologies and appointing agents, distributors and partners in Pakistan.

HMD Global introduces five new Nokia phones

HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, announced four new additions to its award-winning portfolio of Android smartphones – Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus, new Nokia 6 and Nokia 1. Delivering all the craftsmanship you expect from a Nokia phone, each new smartphone offers durability and reliability as standard, with the range setting new benchmarks in materials and design.

Furthering its promise to a pure, smart, secure and up-to-date Android experience, HMD Global also announced it is to become the first global partner to have a full suite of devicesi selected into the Android One programme by Google. The unwavering commitment to deliver a pure, secure and up-to-date Android experience has ensured Nokia smartphones were a natural fit for the global programme.

In addition to these stunning new Android smartphones, the iconic Nokia 8110 is reloaded, delivering 4G connectivity, apps including Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Search, Facebook and Twitter, and the return of the slider phone.

Pure, secure and up-to-date reinforced with Android One commitment

Three new Nokia smartphones – the Nokia 8 Sirocco, Nokia 7 Plus and the new Nokia 6- join the Android One family, offering a high quality software experience designed by Google. Each phone will stay fresh over time with the latest AI powered innovations to the highest grade of security from Google. With a pure Android installation, Nokia smartphones come with no unnecessary UI changes or hidden processes that would eat up battery life or slow them down so you can enjoy your new phone for longer. Each of the new phones comes with a limited number of pre-installed apps so that you’ll get more storage space, as well as the latest innovations that help you stay ahead of the game every day.

By shipping with Android OreoTM out of the box, you’ll be able to enjoy the latest features, including Picture-in-Picture for multitasking, Android Instant Apps to discover and run apps with minimal friction, 60 fantastic new emojis and battery-maximising features like limiting background app use.

Florian Seiche, CEO of HMD Global, said:

“This time last year, we started our journey with huge expectations from fans and a massive responsibility to deliver on the legacy of one of the most innovative brands in our space. Since then we have reintroduced well-loved icons, forged partnerships with friends old and new and delivered our pure, secure and up-to-date Android experience across our smartphone portfolio. Last year we shipped over 70 million Nokia phones.

“As we’ve expanded our portfolio we’ve always maintained one vision: to deliver great Nokia phones that live up to the values that our fans expect. It has been an exhilarating time and as we look ahead, we plan to build on our success by expanding our portfolio and giving consumers a wide range of Nokia phones they can love, trust and rely on.”

Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer of HMD Global, said:

“Today, we are delighted to announce the expansion of our range with the introduction of five new devices, setting new benchmarks in smartphone design with Nokia 8 Sirocco and delivering our most accessible smartphone to date in Nokia 1.

“Through these new devices, you’ll see our innovative approach to engineering and our strong legacy in imaging coming to the forefront in collaboration with ZEISS. And you will recognise our best in class materials led design and the distinctive finish throughout the portfolio which delivers all the reliability and durability expected of a Nokia phone.

“We pride ourselves on making smartphones that address real-world needs. Our commitment to pure, secure and up-to-date Android is core to our strategy and is loved by consumers. Today, we take that commitment to a deeper level by becoming the lead partner for the Android One programme globally, delivering an experience that is endorsed by Google.”

APBF condemns fuel hike of over Rs.18/litre in 7 months

As The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) president Ibrahim Qureshi has flayed the government for increasing prices of petroleum products by over Rs.18 per litre during last seven months, terming it bad news for the country’s economy.

He rejected the seventh consecutive hike of petrol prices, which have registered a jump of over 25 percent from Rs.70 to Rs.88 per litre during last seven months of Sept 2017 to March 2018, leading to increasing cost of production manifold.

He said that in August 2017, the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority had recommended the government to reduce the prices of Petrol and High Speed Diesel by Rs 3.67 and Rs 5.07 per litre respectively for the month of August but the govt maintained the rates at previous level, instead of passing on benefit to the public.

In the past, the government did not pass on the full benefit of declining oil prices to the public by imposing heavy taxes. It is the time to relax the duties and absorb the burden of soaring petroleum prices in international market by keeping the prices stable.

The government is charging the tax more than the notified GST rate on HSD which is 25.5 percent, while it is 7.5 percent on kerosene and light diesel oil and 17 percent on petrol.

In addition to GST, government has been charging high rates of Petroleum Development Levy from the consumers. It is charging Rs8 per litre PDL on HSD, Rs10 per litre on petrol and Rs6 and Rs3 per litre on kerosene and LDO, respectively.

At a time when country’s trade deficit was further stretched by over 35 percent owing to rise in imports and slow exports growth amidst high cost of doing business, the continuous hike petroleum as well as power tariff is very unfortunate.

He said that the government decision to increase petrol prices would significantly damage the trade and business activities across the country while the transport fares have already been escalated due to raise in diesel prices.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that business friendly policies must be adopted as other neighboring countries of the region are giving to trade and industry.

He said that the price of Superior Kerosene Oil surged by even higher percentage of 8.9 percent. With an increase of Rs6.28, it rose from Rs70.18 to Rs76.46 per litre.

The price of High Speed Diesel was increased by Rs2.62, from Rs95.83 to Rs98.45 per litre. Except for the high speed diesel, the government this time approved all the prices proposed by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority for different PoL products.

Three startups from Jazz xlr8 – National Incubation Center selected to present at ‘4 Years From Now’

In continuance with its digital agenda to empower youth through technology, Jazz has sent three of its startups from the Jazz xlr8 accelerator to ë4 Years From Now’ (4YFN), under its ’Make Your Mark’ (MYM) programme. The annual 4YFN is one of the largest business platforms that bring together relevant stakeholders in the digital ecosystem at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Jazz xlr8 is a premium startup accelerator at the National Incubation Center, a public private partnership between the Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications, Jazz and TeamUp.

The three showcased startups are Integry – who provide pre-designed, native integrations for app developer – ContentStudio – a web-based platform that helps in finding, monitoring and sharing engaging content on social media for any topic or industry – and Mauqa Online, an online platform connecting uneducated and underprivileged people with nearby work opportunities.

Aamir Ibrahim, CEO – Jazz, stated, “Jazz xlr8 is laying the foundation for a sustainable technology ecosystem by providing resources and expertise to help young entrepreneurs fulfill their potential. We have imparted significant, demonstrable value to startups at NIC and by sending them to international conferences such as 4YFN, the idea is to provide them with an opportunity to share their ideas, showcase their talent, and get global feedback and recognition.”

All three startups pitched their ideas at 4YFN where they got a chance to connect with corporations, venture capitalists (VC), global media, regulators, potential partners and over 650 other startups. Last year, five startups from the Jazz xlr8 program were taken to 4YFN by Jazz.

Jazz xlr8 works in-line with VEON’s ’Make Your Mark’ programme by helping young people shape their future through tech-incubation and digital literacy. By combining both programmes, Jazz aims to equip young people with digital skills and education, technology, support, and dedicated mentorship from its skilled employees.

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