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TCS to bring the PSL Trophy to Pakistan

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has entrusted TCS (Pvt) Ltd., Pakistan’s leading courier and logistics company to carry the prestigious PSL Trophy from the UAE to Pakistan.

TCS will carry the PSL Trophy securely through its vast network and hand it over to PCB at a press conference in Karachi where the finalist captains will also be present.

Expressing his views, Naiyar Saifi, Director Marketing & Public Affairs, TCS Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. said, “This is an enormous task given by PCB to us but, as always, we will achieve our goal the way we have accomplished other goals in the past. We are thankful to PCB for entrusting us with this responsibility.”

Tickets for the eliminators to be held in Lahore are already on sale online on Yayvo.com and selected TCS Express Centers across the country. Meanwhile sale of tickets for the final match to be held at National Stadium Karachi will be announced soon.

Pakistan Reading Project holds National Dialogue on Removing Gender Disparities in Education

Education is an essential means of empowering women with the knowledge and skills necessary to fully participate in the process of development and progress in Pakistan. The Pakistan Reading Project (PRP) organized a National Dialogue on removing gender disparities in education at the Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad. †A precursor of International Women’s Day, this event marked the start of celebrations of women’s achievements and the struggle for gender parity in Pakistan. Leading experts from the field of education, representatives from USAID as well as officials from provincial/regional governments across the country attended the event. Dr. Christopher Steel, Education Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Pakistan was the guest of honor at the occasion; also in attendance were Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, Allama Iqbal Open University and Dr. Samina Amin Qadir, Vice Chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Women University.

“Together, we have a tall mandate to make concrete commitments to gender equality. For both Pakistan and the United States, making quality education accessible to all is in our best interests. I hope that today’s discussion and recommendations lead to new, practical policies and systems that work for the larger benefit of all our students and teachers,” stressed Dr. Steel while addressing the audience.

The day-long discussion focused on gender disparities in girls’ accessing and completing education and identifying gender sensitivities in curriculum, classroom instruction, and materials. The USAID funded Pakistan Reading Project highlighted its efforts to ensure inclusivity in all reading materials developed for early grades in government schools.

The USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project is a $165 million project designed to support provincial and regional departments of education to improve the reading skills of primary school children across the country. This program includes three interrelated components to improve the quality of early grade reading education: improved classroom learning environment for early grade reading, improved policies and systems for early grade reading, and community based support for early grade reading in Pakistan.

NBP inaugurates ’Aitemaad’ Islamic Banking branch at G-9 Islamabad

The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) in its quest to promote Islamic Banking in Pakistan has inaugurated another new branch of Aitemaad at I & T Center, located in the Sector G-9/1 of Islamabad, taking the total number of Islamic Banking branches to 170.

The ceremony was attended by the President and CEO of NBP – Mr. Saeed Ahmad, accompanied by the Group Head of NBP Islamic Banking – Mr. Khawaja M. Aminul Azam along with numerous dignitaries and senior officials from National Highway Authority and Jamshoro Power Company. The local traders and businessmen were also present.

In the inaugural address, Mr. Muhammad Tariq Khattak, SVP, Regional Head of Islamic Banking, Islamabad appreciated the vision and efforts of the President and Group Head for expanding the network across Pakistan. NBP plans to open/convert nearly 50 more branches in 2018.

“We strongly believe that Islamic Banking promises great transparency and fairness to the consumers, hence it has great potential in a developing nation like Pakistan. That is why we have earmarked some very profitable branches for conversion into the Aitemaad Islamic model. With the launch of Aitemaad ’Hamsafar’, NBP has ventured into the Islamic car-leasing market for the first time” Mr. Saeed Ahmad informed the audience.

NBP Aitemaad is continually expanding the outreach of its Islamic products and services for the valued customers through specialized branches all over Pakistan. In the process of structuring and developing these products and services, an independent Shariah Board has been appointed by NBP, comprising of learned muftis and scholars. The Board ensures complete Shariah compliance of all banking services and products being offered.

The customers attending the ceremony expressed their appreciation to NBP for promoting Aitemaad Islamic Banking in Islamabad and promised their cooperation and patronage to make Islamic Banking a success.

Gwader SEZ modelled on the lines of the Special Economic Zones of China: Mian Zahid hussain

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said that Gwader is located on the shores of the Arabian Sea, approximately 700 kilometres to the west of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi to the east of the Persian Gulf and opposite Oman. Gwader features heavily in CPEC, and is also envisaged to be the link between the One Belt, One Road and Maritime Silk Road project. $1.153 billion worth of infrastructure projects will be invested into the city as part of CPEC, with the aim of linking northern Pakistan and western China to the deepwater seaport.

Mian Zahid Hussain said in addition to investments directly under the aegis of CPEC in Gwader city, the China Overseas Port Holding Company in June 2016 began construction on the $2 billion Gwader Special Economic Zone, which is being modelled on the lines of the Special Economic Zones of China. Gwader port is strategically important for China as 60 percent of China’s oil comes from the Persian Gulf by ships travelling over 16,000 kilometres in two to three months and other risks up to its only commercial port, Shanghai. Gwader will reduce the distance to a mere 5000 kilometres and also serve round the year.

The veteran business leader said that China is providing approximately 80% of the cost of the port in the shape of grants and soft loans. China is setting up a dry port at the Pakistan-China border to take advantage of shorter route to sea through Gwader. China paid US$360 million to Pakistan for expansion and an upgrade for all weather traffic ability of Karakoram Highway linking Pakistan with China. The contract has been awarded to Frontier Works Organization, who has also started the project.

The former minister said the Gwader should Chamber of commerce and industry considering importance of strategic location of Gwader should send their recommendations and suggestions to the Government so that the business community of the city may equally participate in the race of development and can play part in the economic development of the Country.

METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan holds Graduation Ceremony of Industrial Training Program 2017

METRO Cash & Carry in collaboration with Star Farm Pakistan organized the Graduation Ceremony of the 1st Industrial Training Program 2017 at local Hotel Lahore to distribute certificates to 50 Trainees issued by Punjab Board of Technical Education Lahore along with stipend cheque on completion of their successful Industrial Training by the honorable chief guest H.E Mr. Martin Kobler (Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany to Pakistan).

Industrial Training Program 2017 was funded by Punjab Skills Development Fund in collaboration with METRO Cash & Carry and Star Farm. This vocational training program is designed for the Youth of Punjab for provision of training in Meat Handling & Processing And Bakery & Pastry.

The objective of this Program is to support industrial and manufacturing sectors for provision of skilled work force, increase access to jobs, create income earning opportunities and to bridge gap between industry needs and skills of youth..

The conference commenced with the welcome speech by Mr. Pervaiz Akhtar (Director Star Farm Pakistan), where he recognized and appreciated the efforts of PSDFfor entrusting Star Farm to provide the training and METRO Cash & Carry for facilitating on job training to the participants of ITP, Ambassador Kobler for gracing the occasion, Project Team and wished the trainees best of luck for future.

H.E Mr. Martin Kobler (German Ambassador) also took the stage and appreciated the initiatives taken by Star Farm Pakistan for the capacity building of farmers across the countrywhich holds vocational training very dearly and further emphasized the importance of key role of technical education in the uplift of the economy.

Ms. Huma (Head of Business Development & Partnerships PSDF), talked about the importance of this scheme and appreciated METRO Cash & Carry and Star Farm for their efforts and services in preparing youth in having complete set of skills related to food supply chain and agriculture sector.

The closing remakes were shared by Mr. AsimIsar (Director Finance METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan) in which he thanked H.E Mr. Martin Kobler for honoring the event with his presence and also appreciated the efforts of Government of Punjab and PSDF in making Industrial Training Program 2017 a success story.

IMC wins first prize for (UNGC) Award 2017

The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Network Pakistan has granted the first prize of Business Sustainability Award 2017 to Indus Motor Company (IMC) in the category of Multinational Companies. This award is in recognition of the best practices adopted by the company in embracing Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) and integrating the 10 principles of UNGC.

This is not the first time the Company has received an award from UNGC. In the past, Indus Motor Company was awarded “Living the Global Compact Business Excellence Awards” consecutively two years in recognition of its best practices in embracing and integrating the 10 principles of UNGC.

Expressing his views on the occasion, Ali Asghar Jamali, Chief Executive Officer, Indus Motor Company said, “We are honoured to be recognized by UNGC for the third time which not only motivates us further to continue our mission in line with UNGC principles but also maximize our support to SDGs.”

IBA organises first-ever corporate engagement event in Dubai

The Institute of Business Administration, in collaboration with Pakistan Executive Organization for Promotion of Leadership and Entrepreneurship, organized their first-ever corporate engagement event in Dubai on, March 7, 2018. The Minister for Tolerance, UAE, His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan graced the occasion as the chief guest.

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz, His Excellency Muhammad Zubair, Governor Sindh Pakistan, Dean and Director IBA Karachi, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, former Dean IBA Karachi, Dr. Ishrat Husain, Alumni Representative on the Board of Governors, Mr. Shahid Shafiq, along with the IBA Alumni, renowned recruiting firms and luminaries from all walks of life based in Pakistan and UAE, attended the event.

The event also marked the Year of Zayed, to celebrate leadership through human development and showcase the quality of IBA alumni in the UAE.

IBA Alumni Chapter UAE-PEOPLE Excellence awards were bestowed to nine Emirati and Pakistani awardees in areas of leadership, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship.

His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan welcomed the guests and recognized the shared interests and values of Pakistan and UAE based on tolerance, compassion, and dialogue. The Minister noted that the curriculum at the IBA is dedicated to the journey of discovery and emphasizes the reality that a successful and respectable business is far more than just a business plan however necessary that plan is. Sheikh Nahyan thanked the Pakistani community for their achievements and contribution to the global community and moral vision.

Mr. Shaukat Aziz reminisced his days at the IBA and credited his alma mater for honing his skills, which led to his success. He asked the youth to question their leaders about their decisions and reform agenda.

Mr. Shahid Shafiq, who played an instrumental role in putting this event together, addressed and thanked the alumni for their participation in the event and encouraged them to stay connected with their alma mater. The Dubai-based alumni were appreciative of his efforts.

Mr. Muhammad Zubair lauded the efforts of Dr. Ishrat Husain and his successor, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, for transforming the IBA into one of the leading higher education institutions in South Asia.

Dr. Farrukh Iqbal shared how no student is denied an education due to lack of funds at the IBA. He mentioned that financial assistance of PKR 231 million has been provided to about 800 students during the previous year. Dr. Iqbal emphasized that through its Talent Hunt Programs, the IBA has reached out to underprivileged students in far flung areas of Pakistan and supported community development through education.

President Alumni IBA UAE Chapter, Mr. Danish Kazi and President PEOPLE, Kashif Khan also spoke on the occasion.

The event was sponsored by TPL, Citibank, Bank Alfalah, National Foods, Salama Insurance, Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) and Pakistani Executive Organization for Promotion of Leadership & Entrepreneurship (PEOPLE).

The IBA aims to hold similar events across the globe, engaging the Pakistani community serving in leadership positions and promoting a positive image of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Biggest Health Sector Event All-set to make an impact in Punjab

After completing 13 successful years in Karachi, the platform is all set for the mega launch of 14th edition of Health Asia International Exhibition & Conferences in the mega city of Lahore. The expo will take place from 10-12 April 2018 at the Lahore Expo Center.

The event is the only UFI (Paris, France) approved leading health industry trade fair of Pakistan which has created record by occupying an area of over 165,000 sqft and gathered more than 75,000 visitors during three (3) days to witness the success of this mega trade fair. Hundreds of foreigners & exhibitors from over 45 countries showcased the latest technology/products while more than 13 workshops, hands on sessions and seminars were conducted by renowned trainers and doctors. Some of the major participants are from China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Turkey, UK, USA etc.

The conferences being hosted besides the huge exhibition includes the subjects of Pathology, Neurosurgery, Quality in Healthcare, Haematology, Anaesthesia, Radiology, Maternal Health and others. The Expo shall have booths from following sectors: Electro-Medical Devices, Laboratory Equipments, Medical Disposables, Surgical Equipments, Medicines and Hospitals & Medical Institutes. This mega-event attracts Medical Professionals, Post Graduate Students, Pharmaceutical Sector and many other stakeholders of this extremely important sector.

The event is owned and organized by largest trade fair organizers of Pakistan, ’Ecommerce Gateway Pakistan (Pvt) Limited’ and carries the endorsement of major medical societies, institutes and ministries.

Dr. Khursheed Nizam – President of Ecommerce Gateway Pvt. Ltd. stated that; “It is indeed the matter of pride for us to host this mega event which serves a pivotal role in up-gradation of the technical knowledge for our medical professionals, who shall serve the patients with the latest procedures and cope up to face the major challenges of the Health sector in Pakistan. Our organization feels proud to host this event which is confirmed to make a direct positive impact on the life of a common man and plays a constructive role in boosting up the industry.”

World Islamic Finance Forum 2018 to Commence on March 19

A press briefing on the World Islamic Finance Forum (WIFF) 2018 was organized at the IBA City Campus. Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Dean and Director IBA Karachi, Mr. Irfan Siddiqui, President Meezan Bank Limited, Mr. Ahmed Ali Siddiqui, Director Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance IBA (CEIF-IBA), Dr. Ishrat Husain, Chairman CIEF-IBA, and Mr. Rizwan Hussain, MD and CEO Takaful Pakistan Ltd, were present at the occasion.

World Islamic Finance Forum (WIFF) 2018 will be held at the Movenpick Hotel, Karachi on March 19 and 20, 2018. H.E. Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman AAOIFI Board of Trustees, will grace the event as the Chief Guest at WIFF 2018. WIFF is being organized by Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance at the Institute of Business Administration (CEIF-IBA) in collaboration with LUMS and INCEIF.

Addressing the media, Mr. Ahmed Ali Siddiqui said that prominent Shari’ah scholars, renowned academicians, Presidents of Islamic banks and many other important figures from national and international financial institutions will be participating in the conference. The exhaustive list of participants includes Tariq Bajwa, Governor State Bank of Pakistan; Zafar Abdullah, Chairman Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan; Dr. Ishrat Husain, Chairman CEIF-IBA; and Shaikh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Chairman Shari’ah Board.

The two-day conference will include panel discussions with industry experts representing 17 global and 15 local institutions. Global Islamic finance hubs including KSA, Bahrain, Malaysia and other GCC countries will participate in the conference along with speakers from Bosnia-Herzegovina, USA, UK, Turkey and China. Around 50 speakers representing regulatory bodies, Islamic finance infrastructure institutions, Islamic banks/windows, asset management companies, advisory firms and Takaful players will also be part of the event.

Key local and global Islamic financial institutions that will participate in this mega event include Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), Islamic Finance News (IFN), World Bank, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), and Deloitte & touché.

Furthermore, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal said that the research papers and case studies presented at the conference will focus on areas that are crucial for the expansion of the Islamic Finance industry. These will then be appraised by a committee of renowned practitioners and Shari’ah scholars. Announcing the awards and prizes for the winners, Dr. Iqbal also mentioned that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions will be rewarded with $5000, $3000 and $2000 respectively, while 3 consolation prizes of US $500 each will also be given.

Mr. Rizwan Hussain appreciated the role of CEIF-IBA in bridging the gap between industry and academia along with Mr. Irfan Siddiqui who commented that the WIFF is a unique conference that will bring together researchers, academicians and practitioners for generating innovative ideas to expand Islamic Finance growth through innovation, fintech and regulations.

Standard Chartered Pakistan announces 2017 results; Bank’s assets cross PKR 500 billion

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited last week announced its Annual Results for 2017.

The Bank performed fundamentally well and delivered Profit before tax of PKR 13.5 billion.

Revenue was lower by PKR 1.1 billion primarily due to reduced margins and re-pricing within the investments portfolio. However, client revenue across all segments has increased and is up by 11per cent year on year. The impact of margin compression on revenue was partially offset by growing non-funded income and decreasing cost of funds.

Administrative costs continue to be well managed through operational efficiencies and disciplined spending with a decrease of 4per cent from comparative period last year.

A historic milestone was achieved in this period whereby the Bank’s total assets crossed over PKR 500 billion. All businesses have positive momentum in client income with strong growth in underlying drivers. This is evident from pickup in net advances, which have grown by 21per cent since the start of 2017. With a diversified product base, the Bank is well positioned to cater for the needs of its clients.

On the liabilities side, the Bank’s total deposits grew by 3per cent, whereas current and saving accounts grew by 1per cent since the start of this year. The continuous increase in low cost deposits has significantly supported the Bank’s performance with current and savings accounts comprising 92per cent of the deposit base.

Final cash dividend of 10per cent (PKR.1/- per share) has been recommended by the Board of Directors for approval at the 12th Annual General Meeting of the Bank’s shareholders. This is in addition to 7.50per cent (PKR. 0.75/- per share) interim cash dividend announced / paid during the year.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Shazad Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited said, “These results further demonstrate our commitment to delivering a consistent and sustained performance. Having strengthened our foundations on controls and conduct, we recognise the importance of re-energising growth with a focus on income whilst closely monitoring cost and risk management. This ensures that returns continue to grow at a sustainable level. This year a historic milestone has been achieved where by the Bank’s total assets crossed over 500 billion. The external environment remains challenging and we are committed to improving our performance whilst ensuring our clients’ needs are at the heart of everything we do.”

ACCA Markets women’s Day 2018, Calls for real and measurable progress

Forty years on from the phrase ’glass ceiling’ being used to define thwarted careers and ambitions – especially for women – ACCA is calling for business leaders to show real and measurable progress on diversity and social mobility issues, as it marks International Women’s Day 2018.

The global theme for this year’s event is #pressforprogress, seeking advances on a number of issues from gender pay parity to equality of opportunity.

Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive, says: ë2018 is the 40th anniversary of the phrase ’glass ceiling’ first being used by business consultant Marilyn Loden.

’Looking forward, if there’s one area where I wish to see sustained progress, it’s to ensure career ladders breakthrough the glass ceiling for women. We have to take a wider view and seek progress on social mobility – unequal access to opportunities still exists for many women and men.

’ACCA has welcomed policies to address issues such as disparity in pay and boardroom diversity in the UK and globally. There are examples of good practice highlighted in our recent report Generation next: managing talent in large accountancy firms which shows how the Big Four are addressing diversity to ensure women have a place and voice in their business. This includes KPMG’s women in finance forum and Deloitte conducting ’blind interviews’ to tackle recruitment bias.’

Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan adds: ’The accountancy profession is an attractive career choice for many because of the flexibility and choice it offers. At ACCA we’ve made opportunity a reality, with an open access policy that enables anyone to qualify as a professional accountant. By simply removing the need for prior qualifications, we’ve created access to a profession that offers a rewarding career.’

ACCA says employers and their recruitment strategies are part of the success equation for diversity. Sajjeed Aslam continues: ’As our Gen Next report shows, creating the leaders of tomorrow is an on-going task for firms. The tone clearly has to be set from the top, with a transparent culture that’s committed to diversity. We have to measure this progress too – after all, what’s not measured can’t be managed.

’Effective corporate leadership is needed to achieve real and lasting progress. At ACCA we believe this can be made through open discussion, transparent reporting and ensuring diversity is an integral part of how we work now and in the future.’

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