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Pakistan’s logistics sector fully prepared for CPEC: Chairman TCS

“Pakistan’s Logistics sector is fully prepared and enthused by the opportunities presented by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)î. This was stated by Khalid Awan, Chairman, TCS Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd. at the CPEC 2018 Summit and Exhibition held in Karachi on April 23 and 24.

Speaking in the session on Logistics, he assured the Chinese participants that the country’s logistics industry was fully capable of meeting the challenging opportunities offered by CPEC projects.

He reiterated that TCS is Pakistan’s largest courier and logistics company that offers a large infrastructure of its own comprising sorting facilities, warehouse and an air hub at Lahore’s, Allama Iqbal International Airport. The hub is served by TCS’ own fleet of vehicles, trucks and aircraft and is integrated with state-of-the-art information and control system serving over 120 million customers a year. It reaches out to the grassroots of the economy through its existing and newly developing E-commerce services which touch the lives of ordinary people and contributes to their productivity.

Khalid Awan said that TCS systems are also integrated not only with the national customs but soon will be connected with global customs authorities through the newly introduced TIR system to which Pakistan has recently been admitted by the World Road Transport Organisation (IRU).

He announced that as a TIR licensee, TCS would be utilizing the TIR procedures for connecting international trucking from Pakistan to Iran and Turkey.

Shaheen Air signs mou with UBL Omni to offer cashless payments

In line with its commitment of facilitating passengers, the second national carrier of Pakistan Shaheen Air International (SAI) has joined hands with UBL Omni by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide its customers with cashless and easy mode of payments.

The MoU signing ceremony was held at Shaheen Air head office in Karachi. The MoU was signed between Shaheen Air Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Mr. Zohaib Hassan and United Bank Limited (UBL) Group Executive Digital Banking Mr. Sharjeel Shahid.

Shaheen Air, with this collaboration, have enhanced their customer service, as this will enable customers to pay their ticket fare on UBL Omni smart phone application and UBL Omni shops. The airline has set a benchmark in the aviation industry to collaborate with financial institution of the county and facilitate passengers by giving them exclusive discounts.

The CMO SAI, Mr. Zohaib Hassan addressing at the MoU said, “At Shaheen Air, we are constantly putting our efforts to introduce new dimension of customer centric products. This facility is one of our effort to facilitate our passengers all over Pakistan. We are the first airline to make an alliance with a financial institution to provide exclusive discounts to our customers. This alliance with UBL Omni will give an ease of payment option to our valued customers, setting our service apart from others.”

Earlier, the airline on its 25th anniversary also announced the launch of “Shine Miles”, SAI’s loyalty card, along with its revamped website and web application to enable its flyers with a smoother experience. Shaheen Air also introduced the mobile app where in the valued Shaheen Air passengers can check flight schedules, book online and view their booking on their mobile device.

PSO signs major fuel supply agreement with Port Qasim authority

Pakistan’s leading oil marketing company, Pakistan State Oil (PSO), has further strengthened its business relationship with the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) with the signing of a major Fuel Supply Agreement. Under this agreement, PSO will meet PQAs’ entire fuel requirements by supplying Action Plus Diesel (HSD) and Altron Premium (PMG) for a three-year period.

The second busiest port of Pakistan running 24/7 operations, the Port Qasim Authority, meets 40% of seaborne trade requirements of Pakistan and has some big and complex fueling requirements that PSO is geared to effectively meet under the new agreement.

Deputy General Manager Industrial Consumer PSO, Mr. M. Kashif Siddiqui and Secretary PQA, Mr. Sirajuddin Chandio signed the agreement. Deputy Managing Director PSO, Jehangir Ali Shah, Senior General Manager PSO, Shehryar Omar, General Manager PSO, Qasim Zaheer, Director General PQA, Aleem Sheikh, Director Store PQA, Col. (R) Tanveeruddin Farooqui, and other senior executives from both sides witnessed the signing ceremony with their presence.

This partnership brings synergy to both parties’ shared national agenda of accelerating the economic wellbeing of Pakistan. PSO has a longstanding history of supplying petroleum products to large corporations, such as Pakistan Railways, PIA, SECMC, OGDCL, and now the Port Qasim Authority.

PSO takes immense pride in offering the best quality fuels and lubricants to its customers. The High Speed Diesel imported by PSO is the best quality HSD available in Pakistan with the lowest sulphur content, making it the most environment-friendly and lowest emission diesel fuel marketed in the country. Pakistan State Oil also has the most sophisticated and state-of- the-art Lubricant Manufacturing Terminal (LMT) in Pakistan which produces highest quality lubricants that are API compliant and certified.

Excellent investment opportunities are open to Saudi Arabia in Pakistan: Mian Zahid Hussain

“Ubaidullah Alharbi posting as vice council general in Karachi is commendable.”

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 said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are leader countries of OIC and friends in true spirit, sharing proud relations in different fields of life including defence, cultural, religious and socio-economic sectors.

The veteran business while talking to Saudi Council General Ubaidullah Alharbi during his visit to Saudi Consulate Karachi said that Pak-Saudi relations are spread over decades and both countries stood firm with each other during their hard times. Ubaidullah Alharbi has served as Vice Council General earlier and has taken keen interest in building bilateral business relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Posting of Ubaidullah Alharbi as Council General in Karachi is has interest in building Pak-Saudi bilateral relations particularly in trade and industry.

Mian Zahid Hussain said Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Ahmed Al-Malki; in the meeting of Pak-Saudi Ministerial commission has stated that Pakistan is Saudi’s priority in investment. Both sides have agreed on the extension of bilateral cooperation in different areas including trade, industry and socio-economic sectors. The business community appreciate the matters discussed and agreed in the said meeting and expects that with increased bilateral cooperation of both brotherly countries will boost the economies of the countries and sees this cooperation as a step forward towards the establishment of economically strong Muslim block in the World in accordance to the aims and objectives of the OIC.

The former minister said Pakistan’s role in strengthening Saudi’s defence and socio-economic sectors is commendable. In return, Saudi has benefited 2.5 million Pakistanis with employment opportunities, who are playing vital role in earning foreign exchange for the Country. Pakistan offers various opportunities and incentives to attract foreign investment and provides all necessities including cheap work force, standard infrastructure and business friendly policies. Saudi Arabia and other countries should take advantage of these investment opportunities offered by Pakistan.

METRO Cash & Carry celebrates 12 years of business in Pakistan

METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan along with its valued customers celebrated its 12th anniversary at all stores across Pakistan.

The occasion was celebrated for over a month at all stores, also provided its customers opportunity to win thousands of prizes in the form of electronic goods, in collaboration with ChanghongRuba, through its

“Khreedo Khelo Jeeto” Wheel-of-Fortune campaign. In addition, nine lucky customers were handed over keys of 800CC car through lucky draw in a special ceremony.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. (Azfar Ali), (Sr. Head of Operations), METRO Cash & Carry Pakistan said “We have successfully completed 12 years of business in Pakistan, and we wanted to celebrate the occasion with our customers and by putting smiles on their faces”.

The 12th anniversary lucky draw prize distribution ceremony was well attended by the top management of METRO Cash & Carry, its employees, and the customers.

MCB Bank announces financial results

The Board of Directors of MCB Bank Limited met under the Chairmanship of Mian Mohammad Mansha, on April 25, 2018 to review the performance of the Bank and approve the financial statements for the three months period ended March 31, 2018.

During the three months period, MCB Bank Limited reported Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 7.31 billion and Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 4.78 billion. In comparison with the corresponding period last year, Profit Before Tax has decreased by 22.9% whereas Profit After Tax has decreased by 22.3%, primarily on account of one off charge of pension related expense amounting to Rs. 2.03 billion, in compliance with the Honorable Supreme Court’s order, raising minimum pension to Rs. 8,000/= per month.

Net markup income of the Bank was reported at Rs. 11.00 billion, with a significant increase of 12.97% over corresponding period last year. On the gross markup income side, the Bank reported an increase of Rs. 940 million (+5.44%) whereas on the interest expense side, the Bank registered a decrease of Rs. 323 million (-4.28%) in comparison with the same period last year. To supplement its net interest margins, the Bank remained focused on increasing its low cost deposit base and ventured in higher yielding assets.

On the non-markup income front, the Bank reported a base of Rs. 4.3 billion with a decrease of 17.09% over corresponding period last year. Major contributions to non-markup income were operational in nature with fees & commissions increasing by Rs. 426 million (+19.39%) and income from dealing in foreign currencies increasing by Rs. 138 million (+48.65%). Capital gains for the first quarter were reported at Rs. 780 million as compared to Rs. 2,243 million reported for corresponding period last year.

The administrative expense base recorded an increase of 16.78% over corresponding period last year on account of merger. On the provision against advances front, the Bank continued with its recovery trajectory and posted a reversal of Rs. 314 million with Rs. 416 million reversals in provision against investments.

The total asset base of the Bank on a standalone basis was reported at Rs. 1.29 trillion reflecting a decrease of 2.55% over December 2017. Analysis of the assets mix highlights that net investments have decreased by Rs. 55.77 billion (-8.49%) with net advances decreasing by a nominal amount of Rs. 847 million (-0.18%) over December 31, 2017. The coverage and infection ratios of the Bank were reported at 93.72% and 9.41% respectively.

On the liabilities side, the deposit base of the Bank registered a significant increase of Rs. 36.54 billion (+3.77%) over December 2017. MCB Bank Limited continued to enjoy one of the highest CASA mixes in the banking industry of 92.68% with current deposits increasing by 5% and savings deposits by 3% over December 2017. The concentration level of the current accounts stands improved to 39% of the total deposit size as at March 31, 2018.

Earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter came to Rs. 4.03 as compared to Rs. 5.52 during the same period last year. Return on Assets and Return on Equity were reported at 1.46% and 13.99% respectively, whereas book value per share stood at Rs. 115.35.

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. Bank’s total Capital Adequacy Ratio is 16.96% 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 14.94% against the requirement of 6.00%. Its healthy capitalization also resulted in a leverage ratio of 7.75% which is well above the regulatory limit of 3.0%.

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 Board of Directors declared first interim cash dividend of Rs. 4.0 per share for the three months period ended March 31, 2018.

JS Bank & Hotel One Enter Into Strategic Business Partnership

JS Bank, one of Pakistan’s fastest growing financial powerhouses has entered into a corporate partnership with Hotel One by Pearl Continental, the fastest growing budgeted hotel chain in Pakistan. Under the terms of this exciting agreement, JS Credit Card holders will be able to avail amazing discounts of up to 65% discount at 16 Hotel One locations in 12 cities across Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad etc.

The signing ceremony was held at Hotel One’s Regional Office in Lahore. JS Bank was represented by Head of Alliances – Umair Nizam Shaikh and Regional Manager Alliances – Asim Khurshid, while Hotel One was represented by General Manager Operations – Ali Zubair and Director Finance – Khurram Shahzad.

Speaking at the ceremony, Head of Alliances – Umair Nizam Shaikh stated, “JS Bank is working aggressively to build its corporate alliance network. We have a long-term growth strategy and look forward to serving our customers in the most effecient and effective manner.”

Hotel One General Manager – Ali Zubair stated, “Hotel One is the fastest growing budgeted hotel chain in Pakistan and encapsulates the true essence comfort, at best price. This partnership with JS Bank will definitely be an equally beneficial one to both organizations and allow us to provide one-window solutions to customer needs.”

As part of its efforts to provide ever greater value added services to its customers, JS Bank is striving to build its corporate partnerships across Pakistan and is living up to its slogan of ’Barhna Hai Aagey’.

JS Bank Collaborates With Ghandhara Group

Building its Prime Minister Youth Business Loan (PMYBL) portfolio further, JS Bank has collaborated with Ghandhara to extend financing solutions to existing and potential customers of Ghandhara Nissan Limited, Ghandhara Industries Limited and Ghandhara DF (Pvt.) Limited.

JS Bank will provide financing solutions to organizations and individuals, who intend to purchase Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV’s) marketed by these three companies, including ISUZU, JAC & DongFeng variants. Applicants will be able to avail the market’s lowest mark-up rate of just 6% per annum for allowing them to increase their median household income and increase their financial independence.

Speaking at the occasion, Kamran Jafar, Group Head – Corporate & Retail Banking Group at JS Bank stated, “This agreement will revolutionize the dynamics of the commercial vehicle industry and provide convenient access to low-cost financing solutions to thousands of deserving individuals across Pakistan.”

Appreciating the business opportunities being created for the youth through the PMYBL program, Muazzam Pervaiz Khan, Senior Executive Director Marketing and Sales – Ghandhara Nissan Ltd. stated, “The collaboration between JS Bank and Ghandhara Group underpins our resolve to provide value added services to our esteemed customers. This venture will provide the necessary growth impetus for customers who wish to capitalize on the growing number of opportunities in national economy.”

Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed Khan, Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary -Ghandhara Industries Limited added, “This alliance will help us to combat soaring unemployment in the country by providing self-employment opportunities to the youth and the underprivileged.”

Through this alliance JS Bank is helping to drive growth within the domestic transportation and logistics industry keeping in view the increased demand for commercial vehicles in Pakistan’s growing economy especially in the backdrop of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Jazz Super 4G Continues to Excite Masses Nationwide

Jazz, Pakistan’s number one digital company, recently started a nationwide campaign to promote its Super 4G service. Extending this campaign in to Karachi, Jazz is carrying out massive on-ground activities to ensure Karachiites realize the benefits of an always on, fast internet connection in the shape of Jazz 4G.

For this purpose, Jazz Super 4G caravan is going around Karachi and creating excitement amongst the locals with a host of fun-filled activities, along with a chance to win tickets to the Jazz Super 4G Concert, featuring contemporary classical musician Ali Sethi.

“People today expect a super-fast, reliable internet connection which compliments their on-the-go, social lifestyle. Jazz Super 4G offers exactly that and through our activities in Karachi, we are looking to ensure Karachiites realize that their digital lifestyle is about to change,” said Kazim Mujtaba, Head of Marketing – Jazz.

Jazz Super 4G caravan along with some renowned social media Influencers is visiting three universities – College of Business Management, Iqra University, and Institute of Business Management. Moreover, the Caravan will be visiting various public places, such as popular malls and eateries. The activities also include car honk shows conducted at various places to entertain the audiences.

The idea behind this campaign is to raise awareness amongst the public of how a super-fast, always on 4G connection can change one’s digital experience. This citywide activity sees Jazz offering Karachiites a fully immersive experience of Jazz Super 4G through virtual games and live photo booths. To build up excitement, Jazz is offering those who upload their selfies using the hashtag #JazzSuper4G to win free tickets to the Jazz Connect Concert feat Ali Sethi happening on 27th April, 2018 in Karachi.

On social media, several celebrities are using the hashtag urging their fans to be part of the Jazz 4G celebrations to not only win a chance to participate in the concert, but also experience the power of a fast, always connected mobile broadband.

Those uploading their selfies with the hashtag #JazzSuper4G can collect their free concert tickets from the Jazz Super 4G Caravan itself or the Jazz Booth at Dolmen Mall Clifton.

Jazz Super 4G is available on Jazz 4G SIMs, Jazz Wi-Fi device and Jazz 4G wingle, all of which are available at Jazz outlets and franchises nationwide. The Telco is also offering affordable monthly data bundles of 15GB, 36GB, and 75GB.

Celebrating Excellence – IBA honors Distinguished Alumni at Reunion 2018

The Institute of Business Administration, Karachi held its annual Alumni Reunion 2018 for all batches on Tuesday at the IBA City Campus, Karachi. The theme of this year’s Reunion was “Celebrating Excellence” where the IBA honored its venerated Alumni whose achievements, both within and outside the country, helped strengthen the IBA’s resolve towards being the top institution of higher education in Pakistan and promoted an enlightened image of Pakistan.

Dean and Director IBA, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Alumni Representative on the Board of Governors of the IBA, Mr. Shahid Shafiq, Associate Deans, IBA Management & faculty and Alumni from 1966 to date, attended the event.

The IBA has the privilege of being the only business school that has produced more CEOs than any other university in Pakistan. Currently, amongst the top leading banks in Pakistan, IBA graduates take the lion’s share in managing these esteemed organizations. Moreover, amongst the top MNCs and FMCGs, alumni of IBA are holding the top most position.

The President of Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz and Governor Sindh, H.E. Mr. Muhammad Zubair are part of the illustrious and long list of alumni who have made it to the echelons of power in myriad industries and sectors.

The award ceremony commenced with welcome address from Mrs. Malahat Awan – Head of Alumni & Corporate Relations, IBA Karachi – who emphasized the role of alumni in the welfare of its alma mater. She announced the commencement of a need-based scholarship from Alumni and encouraged the audience to give back to society through educating needy students.

Mr. Shahid Shafiq asserted that the educational institutions are recognized from the achievements of their alumni and the idea behind the event was to re-engage the senior alumni whose equity and expertise could help the IBA achieve its vision of being in the Top 100 universities of the world. He announced that to engage the young alumni, the IBA is in the process of developing an online job portal which could allow the alumni and students to explore career opportunities and enable recruiters to choose their potential employees.

Dr. Farrukh Iqbal spoke proudly about IBA’s alumni network which is not only strong in number but also strong in quality. The IBA has survived and grown in strength and reputation for 62 years. He stated that the IBA today is dedicated to the idea of not only attracting meritorious students but also those belonging from the far-flung areas of the country and once they become a part of this institution, the IBA would like to support them with the help of its Alumni network.

A ceremonial cheque of Rs. 2 Million was handed to Dean and Director IBA, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal by the representative of the Class of 1997 for Syed Ahmed Scholarship Fund in memory of their departed classmate. This amount was the first tranche from the commitment of Rs. 6 million for talented yet financially challenged students.

Later, the awards were distributed to around 20 prominent alumni which included Mr. Zahid Bashir, Chairman Patients’ Aid Foundation, recently conferred with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz for public service, Mr. Salman Alvi, an acclaimed singer, recently awarded the Pride of Performance, Mr. Mohsin Nathani, recently appointed as the CEO, Habib Metropolitan Bank and many more.

The evening concluded with a dinner followed by musical performances by renowned artists.

Engro Foods Limited Wins the Commonwealth Company of the Year Award

Engro Foods from Pakistan has been awarded the Commonwealth Company of the Year Award from the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network. The award recognises a company that has had a significant impact on women’s economic empowerment in the organisation and the wider community. The Award was made during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in consultation with an Advisory Panel.

The Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was held in London, where Queen Elizabeth& UK Government hosted Presidents and Prime Ministers of 53 Commonwealth states to promote bilateral trade and implement sustainable development goals amongst all the Commonwealth states. Besides CHOGM, sessions on Commonwealth Business Forums and the Commonwealth Women Forum were also conducted, where 5000+ delegates from 53 countries participated. These events were followed by Commonwealth Business Women Network awards.

Engro Foods represented Pakistan at the Commonwealth Business forums. Ms. Nageen Rizvi, Head of Corporate Communications & Sustainability, Engro Foods presented a case on project WELD – Women Empowerment through Livestock Development to the Commonwealth Business Women Network which won the award for Engro Foods.

This project was started by Engro Foods Limited to strengthen the socio-economic landscape of the dairy industry of Pakistan. It enabled the Pakistani rural women by training them with best dairy practices and created economic opportunities for homebound women by converting them into dairy farmers. This project created 18000+ dairy farmers, 600 Female Micro Businesses, 300 Female Livestock Extension Entrepreneurs and 300 Female Village Milk Collectors.

On winning the award at the international forum, Mr. Naveed Saeed, Chief Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Director, Engro Foods Limited said, “It is an honor winning the Commonwealth Company of the Year Award. As an organization, it is our core belief that no organization or industry can have sustainable growth without including the women of the nation into its fabric. Engro Foods Limited started the WELD program to empower women with economic opportunities and incorporate them into the documented economy. It is a point of pride for Engro Foods Limited to have been awarded the Commonwealth Company of the Year award for the efforts made towards women empowerment and inclusion. Engro Foods Limited strongly believes in enabling the growth of the dairy industry of Pakistan by empowering and creating an impact at the grass root level.”

Freda Miriklis, Chair, Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network, said:- ’In my visits to Pakistan, I have seen the power and potential of its women, especially in the rural economy. Engro Foods has long been a pioneer in its support of gender equality. The WELD Project is a model in the Commonwealth for empowering women to become agents for change within their communities.’

The 3rd Commonwealth Businesswomen Awards were held on 18 April at The Mayfair Hotel in London during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London. The Awards aim to celebrate the achievement of women in business across the Commonwealth with one powerful message: The Commonwealth’s billion-plus women need to be celebrated and women’s economic empowerment has to be prioritised, pushed and praised.

Emirates Launch the Emirates Standard Chartered Debit Card unveiled

Earn Skywards Miles on everyday spends First co-branded debit card in collaboration with an international airline

Standard Chartered and Emirates airline unveiled a new Emirates Standard Chartered Debit Card for their shared customers. The new card is an extension of the partnership between the two companies which was announced last year with the launch of a co-brand Credit Card.

Designed to meet the different needs of a diverse client base, the Emirates Standard Chartered Debit Card will allow clients to enjoy an array of exclusive privileges and world class services from both Standard Chartered and Emirates airline.

The Emirates Standard Chartered Debit card allows customers to earn Skyward Miles with everyday transactions such as eating out at restaurants, shopping online and petrol purchases. In addition, customers enjoy better Miles earning rates on Emirates flight ticket bookings. The card also gives customers multiple travel benefits such as access to airport lounges in Pakistan and complimentary airport transfers in Pakistan.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Shazad Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Pakistan said: “We are delighted to launch Pakistan’s first international airline co-branded Debit card. Our experience with Emirates has been filled with excitement, success and innovation, for us and our clients. We endeavour to deliver products and services based on the needs and aspirations of our clients and truly believe that with the Emirates Standard Chartered debit card your best travel experience is closer than you think.”

Jabr Al Azeeby, Emirates’ Vice President Pakistan said: “Our journey in Pakistan has been defined by progressive investment, partnership and growth. We constantly try to improve and innovate our product and services. This partnership with Standard Chartered and the launch of our co-branded debit card will go a long way in further enhancing the travel experience of our Pakistani customers.”

Last year, Standard Chartered and Emirates launched a co-branded credit card to mark the beginning of this partnership. This credit card, which is available in two premium variants; Infinite and Platinum, allows clients to enjoy an array of exclusive privileges and world class services from both Standard Chartered and Emirates Airline.

Pakistan’s first beachfront housing project launched in Gwadar

With surging real estate demand in Gwadar because of CPEC, a local company, Eiwan, launched Pakistan’s first beach front, resort style housing project called Oshun by Eiwan. Envisioned as a ’resort style living’ community, this iconic project is nestled in between pristine beaches on one side and miraculously carved mountain ranges on the other, making Oshun by Eiwan, the finest address in Pakistan.

One hundred and fifty real estate dealers flocked to the launch event for Oshun by Eiwan held in Karachi, with the expectation that the project marks a new beginning for the real estate sector in the country. ’In my 30 year experience in this business, I have never seen such a high level of professionalism and trust in an urban developer,’ shared Rizwan Ahmad, a prominent real estate dealer who travelled from Rawalpindi to attend the event.

While owning a slice of the new silk route is becoming a reality thanks to CPEC, there are lots of real estate firms selling property in Gwadar. Not all of them are trustworthy. You have to pick to a developer you can trust. For too long, local investors, overseas Pakistanis and young professionals have had to navigate a notoriously low trust market, which makes property investments unnecessarily complex and risky in Gwadar.

Fortunately, the Consultants Group, which was given end to end responsibility by the Government of Baluchistan to manage Sangar – Gwadar’s number one housing project – has now launched a new private sector, urban development company, called Eiwan (www.eiwan.pk). According to sources, a 1000 square yard commercial plot in Gwadar’s Sangar Housing Project in 2015, could be bought for 26 lac rupees. Today, that same plot is worth Rs. 50 million. This was possible due to high standards of land governance and digitization of land records for Sangar, which brought credibility as well as trust to the project.

’Eiwan is here to revolutionize and professionalize the real estate industry in Pakistan,’ shares Faiz Kidwai, Chief Executive Officer, CG Holdings Private Limited. ’We currently have builders and constructors but don’t have developers in a true sense in Pakistan. Our vision is to create an urban development company where all our stakeholders are in a win-win situation, from investors to residents, as well the local communities in which we operate. We have a vision to create Pakistan’s most trusted urban development brand for the next 100 years.’

Standard Chartered promotes Gateway to ’Belt and Road’ opportunities

Experts from Standard Chartered’s Greater China Region hosted road shows in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan to outline the benefits of and investment opportunities from China’s B&R initiative, together with Renminbi internationalisation.

The purpose of these roadshows is to enable our clients to take advantage of the benefits presented by China-led Belt & Road initiative (B&R), which is also bringing more cooperation opportunities for Pakistan and China. The B&R initiative, the biggest support to globalisation in the world today, is aiming to boost trade and investment growth across Asia, extending to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road has been robust. Total trade between China and B&R countries exceeded USD 3trillion between 2014 and 2016, and the momentum has continued in 2017 despite subdued growth in global trade.

The B&R initiative has made significant headway in the past four years, and has gained support from more than 100 countries and international organisations, and more than 80 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China.

Shazad Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Pakistan commented, “The Bank has been in Pakistan and China for more than 150 years. Our longstanding and deep-rooted presence in both countries along with 70per cent of footprint overlap with B&R countries equips us with in-depth knowledge of prevailing political, economic and cultural environments making us an indispensable partner in this extra ordinary progress. It is therefore incumbent upon us to assist our valued clients to capitalize on these enormous trade opportunities created through better connectivity between them and the rest of the world. This roadshow emphasises our promise to be ’Here for good’, while demonstrating our capabilities in providing comprehensive set of products, services and solutions to our existing as well as prospective clients who are looking to embark upon their growth journeys along the Silk Road.”

Jean Lu, Managing Director, Head of Global Banking, CIB, Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited commented, “The Belt and Road Initiative will benefit all countries along the routes, contributing to global economic and social development. Many countries, like Pakistan, have robust demand for infrastructures, as they move toward further industrialisation, move up the value chain, as well as absorb fast-growing populations. According to Asia Development Bank, Asia needs to invest around USD 8tn in infrastructure over 2010-20 in order to maintain its growth momentum. Improved infrastructure will foster formation of production chains at the regional level based on comparative advantage, hence improving productivity.”

APBF condemns proposed hike in power tariff

The All Pakistan Business Forum has condemned the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) for proposing raise in electricity tariff to facilitate the DISCOs, under fuel price adjustment, asking the authorities to reduce electricity and gas tariff particularly for the export industry.

APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi said that the export-oriented industry is in deep trouble because of high cost of doing business and is on the verge of collapse. He said that such anti-business acts would hamper the growth of manufacturing sector. He said the government’s machinery always vows to take the private sector on board but they do not bother to consult any trade or industrial body while making the decisions.

APBF president said that the move is against the proposed plan of economic revival and poverty alleviation. He said average electricity tariff for industry in the region is below 10 cents against 14.4 cents in Pakistan, as power tariff cost in China, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is 8.5 cents, 11.3 cents, 7.3 cents and 9.2 cents, respectively. He said industries are already facing deteriorating law-and-order situation; complexity of taxes, and curtailed supply of gas and now the power tariff hike would further hit the exports and the revenue.

He said that the CPPA has proposed an increase of Rs 0.4437/kWh over the reference fuel charges i.e Rs 6.65/kWh for the month of March. He added that an increase of 45 paisa per unit in the average electricity tariff for Discos will allow them an additional burden of more than Rs23 billion on consumers on account of their inefficiency.

At a time when country’s trade deficit was further stretched owing to rise in imports and slow exports growth amidst high cost of doing business the proposed hike in power tariff is very unfortunate. He said that the much hyped textile package has so far proven ineffective in providing sufficient respite.

He said that export-oriented industry of Punjab needs special attention as presently it is facing high cost of doing business. He said that business-friendly initiatives of the government could enable this industry to grow and increase its productivity. He said that the officials concerned should take the private sector on board in important decision-making.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that the industry is fast heading towards the total closure only because of high cost of gas and electricity. He asked the government to impose a uniform electricity and gas tariff across the country; as discrimination in utility prices is hitting the industry of Punjab hard.

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