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Standard Chartered Pakistan to act as Securities Advisers for distribution of Units

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited (SCBPL) is the first Commercial Bank to obtain License to act as Securities Advisers for distribution of the units of Collective Investment Schemes and / or Voluntary Pension Funds by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

Currently, SCBPL through its Wealth Management function, amongst other third party products is undertaking distribution of Funds via its Branches. SCBPL distributes funds for three Asset Management companies in Pakistan and they are: Al Meezan Investment Management Limited, MCB-Arif Habib Savings & Investments Limited and UBL Fund Managers Limited.

Commenting on the licence, Mr. Muslim Reza Mooman, CFA, Head of Wealth Management, Standard Chartered Pakistan said, “We are proud to be the first Commercial Bank to be given a License to act as Securities Advisers for distribution of units of Collective Investment Schemes and / or Voluntary Pension Funds for multiple Asset Management Companies. This license will allow us to offer the widest range of investment solutions to our clients. We urge our clients to take advantage and book time with our team of Investment Advisors, who can help to design tailor made solutions for the client needs.”

Standard Chartered holds more than ten years of wealth management experience, and has a skilled team of Advisors & Specialists who take pride in designing a suitable Client portfolio with prior emphasis on the need for Client suitability and risk profiling. The Bank offers a variety of Wealth Management options which includes Mutual Funds, Fixed Income, Bancassurance, Government Securities and Foreign Exchange solutions.

PMEX Signs MoU with BUCE

Pakistan Mercantile Exchange (PMEX), country’s first and only multi-commodity futures exchange, signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Belarusian Universal Commodity Exchange (BUCE). The signing ceremony was hosted by BUCE in Minsk on May 11, 2018 and Mr. Ejaz Ali Shah, Managing Director, PMEX, and Mr. Arkady Salikov, Chairman of BUCE, were the signatories. The MoU is designed to facilitate closer cooperation in areas such as market development, business cooperation and experience sharing.

In the past, MoUs have been signed with five exchanges namely; Borsa Istanbul, Izmir Commodity Exchange (ICE), Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX), Iran Mercantile Exchange (IME) and Dalian Commodity Exchange.

Commenting on the occasion of MoU signing, Mr. Ejaz Ali Shah, Managing Director of PMEX, said, “PMEX is pleased to sign the MoU with BUCE. This strategic alliance lays the groundwork for future cooperation between both the Exchanges to facilitate trade. We strongly believe that by working together, the two exchanges can benefit from each other’s strengths in creating synergies and developing an efficient platform for trading. The prime objective of the Exchange is to create a mechanism to showcase local agriculture commodities to global buyers enabling them to purchase and have the commodity delivered at their doorstep with utmost convenience and reduced cost. In line with this objective, the Exchange is striving to explore collaboration opportunities with regional commodity exchanges for enhancing trade among the countries”.

Mr. Arkady Salikov, Chairman of BUCE, speaking on the occasion said, “We are very excited to cooperate with PMEX and it’s important that both our exchanges have something to offer to each other. For example, you specialize in futures trading and your vast experience and expertise in hedging and clearing are extremely valuable to us as we are developing a commodity futures and options market in Belarus. On the other hand, many countries across the globe are now switching their focus to the spot market since it is the one that provides for the needs of the real economy. Ensuring free flow of commodities domestically and abroad is one of BUCE’s priority objectives and we have indeed made some headway in this area. I think the key to success lies not so much in high technologies, although they are essential, but rather in support rendered by market participants and the government. It would otherwise be impossible to move forward and evolve”.

PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi OPENS Incubation Center Karachi

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi last Friday launched the National Incubation Center (NIC) Karachi Program that has been designed and funded by Ministry of Information & Telecom, in collaboration with ’Ignite’ – National Technology Fund at NED University, Karachi.

NIC Karachi will pursue the same strategy for success, achieved at NIC in Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar, which have already attained operational stability over the last year. Housed in a new, exclusive building at NED University Karachi, the incubator will be operated by a consortium comprising; LMKT, PTCL, NED, HBL and Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF).

As the port city and one of the largest metropolis in the world, Karachi is a magnet for people seeking opportunities and prosperity to change their lives. NIC Karachi is on a mission to identify and support Karachi’s most talented entrepreneurs, to help them create and run successful companies, while building ecosystems to nurture tech-entrepreneurship.

NIC Karachi will house startups and connect them with mentors, investors, and new business opportunities. It will also offer a 12-week long experiential-learning program that will have a motivational impact on aspiring entrepreneurs, with the help of a network of mentors and leaders engaged from the country’s leading businesses and communities. Additional value is provided by one-on-one intensive coaching, a peer-cohort model and access to partners and partnership programs.

Recently a report was published about Pakistan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, that stated; “23 percent of Pakistan’s youth wants to start their own business”. This figure was taken from the UNDP data. But the report also states that: A majority of this youth is clueless about the procedures and the requirements of initiating a business.

Anusha Rahman – Federal Minister for IT & Telecom said that, “NIC Karachi is the next rung in our Digital-Pakistan indicatives, which are built on a new nationwide digital broadband infrastructure, and offer multiple opportunities for youth.”

The CEO of Ignite – Yusuf Hussain said that, “NIC Karachi is a world class incubator that will create startups that become engines of economic growth and social transformation.”

“HBL is proud to partner with Ignite to foster a culture of innovation by enabling Pakistani startups to bring their dreams and ideas to life. We believe these start-ups can contribute to help solve some of the challenges faced by banks. This partnership is aligned with our vision to be Pakistan’s most innovative financial service company.” said Mr. Muhammed Aurangzeb, President & CEO, HBL. “With this partnership with NIC Karachi, we aim to combine the strengths of both ecosystems for the success of entrepreneurs across the state.”

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Commercial Officer, Adnan Shahid, said that, “PTCL is proud to be a part of ICT revolution in the country which is spearheaded by Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunication. As part of its contribution, PTCL has provided ICT services to the National Incubation Center, Karachi with a view to empower Pakistan’s emerging talent and create opportunities to transform their future.”

“NIC Karachi will become a pro-innovation hub and business-accelerator. We will help identify and nurture promising technology startups, and together we can help them succeed through our collaborative efforts. Our in-house innovation platforms, such as; Makers Labs, Innovation Labs, Design Lab and Fintech Lab will foster a unique partnership between world-class enterprises and promising start-ups. We aim to co-create newer, disruptive solutions that can positively impact client’s business, addressing their future challenges, today.” said the Project Director, NIC Karachi – Shahjahan Chaudhary.

Need to Establish Value Addition Centre in Dadu: 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 last Monday said there lays several investment opportunities in the rice value addition sector of Dadu. If government provide the facilities for quality polishing, standardized packaging and processing of all agricultural products including rice, it may earn huge foreign exchequer through international trade with Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Europe, etc.

The veteran business leader while talking to the business community of Dadu said that the district possesses huge reservoir of natural resources including precious stones, gas and petrol while the agricultural products of the area include cotton, pulses, sugarcane, rice and many more. Dadu is rich in livestock which produces several dairy products, hides, skins and their by-products. Establishment of agriculture value addition centre will save the wastage of agricultural products and will be reached to expensive international markets.

Mian Zahid Hussain said Dadu Dam project has been delayed since many years which need to be established urgently, to fight the energy problem on sustainable basis. Under CPEC the railway line passing through the city will be upgraded and the eastern route will connect the city with Gwader, Mansehra and Tha-Kot enabling easy access of the city’s products to national and international markets.

The former minister said that Gorakh hill station is no doubt the Murree of the province, but due to negligence in the development of the area its true potential could not explored and the most beautiful tourist point of the province could not attained due attraction of the tourists; government must take immediate measures to develop the area. Several training programs have been developed by SMEDA to produce technically sound workforce for the area will add more value to the trade, business and industry of the city, he added.

He said that the universities in the city should launch joint ventures for research and development of the trade and industry with the business community and the public representatives should play their part in the city’s economic development in accordance to the recommendations of the Dadu chamber of commerce and industry.

Microsoft Pakistan and P@SHA sign partnership for cloud based trainings

As part of Microsoft’s worldwide efforts to empower people along with organizations, across a variety of industries and verticals, it is driving ’digital transformation’ as a means for achieving economic prosperity. By boosting a company’s productivity through cloud computing, Microsoft believes that organizations that are enabled with cloud computing will be more innovative and capture new business worldwide. Digital transformation is a digital eco-system that can present untapped opportunities for a variety of organizations such as governments, community and business leaders who want to increase their export capabilities along with attracting foreign investment. Microsoft has a long history of partnering with governments, businesses and individuals to make technology accessible to the younger generation. Further to these goals, Microsoft’s vision to use Azure as a way to democratize artificial intelligence (AI) will help companies to build cloud fueled AI based solutions across the globe.

Throughout Pakistan, Microsoft has led initiatives to support digital transformation. As a partner led company, Microsoft relies on local economies to create considerable growth across the digital domain. Microsoft Pakistan is steadfastly pursing a cloud readiness strategy for the future within Pakistan. Amongst these initiatives Microsoft Pakistan has signed a partnership with P@SHA (Pakistan Software Houses Association) that will introduce a new universe of cloud computing with specialized courses and certificates. The participants can connect with experts and meet like-minded cloud enthusiasts with the help of these courses specifically designed for them. They can get acquainted with insights on Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and opportunities for start-ups plus come to know about the success stories. Microsoft’s cloud platform can help the participants acquire the tools to achieve Digital transformation. This will enable them to empower their customers and help them grow their business.

The courses that will be offered by Microsoft Pakistan for this partnership are: – Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, Migrating Workloads to Azure, Data Science Essentials, DevOps for developers – Getting started and Artificial Intelligence.

“Microsoft’s vision is to enable and empower individuals and organizations through technology. We create robust platforms that our partners and customers use to solve business challenges. We are focusing on building a strong ISV and startups ecosystem and ensuring that they are ready on new digital skills including cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, big data and IOT. Partnership with P@SHA is in line with our mutual goal of enabling the ISV ecosystemî said Abid Zaidi, Microsoft Pakistan Country Manager.

He then added “In order to scale and have the required impact, we are keen to further collaborate and forge similar partnerships. I see these technology-driven alliances will go a long way in nurturing fresh efforts for nation-building.”

P@SHA Secretary General Shehryar Hydri said, “Microsoft Pakistan is very active and committed to the local market and this partnership around their cloud solutions will not only upskill our local workforce but also enable tech companies to expand outside Pakistan and scale aggressively.”

Microsoft Pakistan is on its way to nurture a highly evolved academic culture in the country, by integrating global advancements and cutting-edge tools thus, empowering our students and businesses to contribute and compete in the global workforce. Microsoft Pakistan has worked with all the business sectors and industries in Pakistan and is helping them to attain growth in all dimensions. Microsoft is a global leader in technology and innovation and has over 40k sellers and hundreds of thousands of partners in Pakistan. By plugging ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) into a sales engine, Microsoft Pakistan can connect them directly to customers.

Cloud technology is popular throughout the regions and in Pakistan by way of contributing to national development, enhancing socio-economic growth, enabling innovation and improving service delivery. Regardless of these efforts there is still a significant shortage of skilled job candidates to fulfill the demands of cloud related jobs. To full realize the full potential of the cloud Microsoft has launched the ’Microsoft Cloud Society’ program to offer people working in the technology sector to be trained, certified and work face to face with Microsoft cloud experts.

Microsoft Cloud Society is aimed at equipping IT workers at all levels with Azure based cloud ready skills. The program enables learning at one’s own pace. Allowing one to select a learning program online, or choose from a variety of cloud topics including cloud administration, big data, security, deployment and data science. Each topic provides online courses that allows individual enrollment. As knowledge grows, the individual can also complete exams both through Microsoft or its training partners, to receive official Azure certifications recognized throughout the industry.

Income tax exemption in finance bill plead

The Provincial governments rightly pleaded the federal government for Income Tax exemption of ten years in the Finance bill to their nascent Provincial Holding Oil and Gas Companies known as (PHC’s) which were incorporated pursuant to the Petroleum Policy 2012. The PHC’s are those arms of Government which can play a pivotal role in bringing rapid economic stability and energy security in the country thru fast tracked exploration & production of Oil & Gas reserves; thus the Provincial Governments have very rightly pleaded the Federal Government to strengthen all the PHC’s.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the Oil and Gas Sector transformed- setting a unique success story, in a province badly hit by terrorism. In this hostile environment, after establishment of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Limited (KPOGCL) in 2014 and within no time the province of KP became the epicenter of oil and gas activities in Pakistan. Persistent efforts of KPOGCL in transforming KP from “Red Tape to Red Carpet” has created an enabling environment for oil and gas companies. Under the dynamic leadership of CEO- the production oil jumped from 20000 BPD (barrel per day) in 2013 to 55,000 BPD, in 2018, similarly, the KPOGCL showed phenomenal production of Natural Gas and LPG. Now, the enthusiastic team of KPOGCL has set a doable and practical target of Oil production of 200,000 bpd, Gas production of 2,000 MMCFD and LPG production of 3,000 Tons per day by year 2025.

Energy experts and policy analysts are of the view that the nascent PHC’s shall be strengthened and incentivized to every extent so that the trend shifts from imported crude to indigenous Oil & Gas. As a first step the Federal Government should exempt the PHC’s of all the four Provinces from Income Tax for a period of ten years. The exemption in-fact shall be viewed as prudent investment of the Government which would result in much Greater Tax Revenue to the Government after 10 years, thus a Win-Win proposition. There are many examples of exemptions given to promote specific sectors including the Private sector.

Engro Foods empowers Dairy farmers with Big Push project

Engro Foods Limited is committed to foster growth of Pakistan’s dairy industry through various developmental projects. Engro Foods along with Punjab Skill Development Fund (PSDF) started the Big Push for Rural Economy (BPRE) project since 2017.

Big Push for Rural Economy (BPRE) project targeted approximately 9000 individuals across the South Punjab region. It covered over 60 villages in the region, namely Chishtian, Haroonabad, Faqeerwali, Lodhran, Bahawalpur, Muzaffargarh, Bahawalnagar and Dunyapur.

The project trained selected individuals as Livestock Extension Workers, Artificial Insemination Technicians, Farm Supervisors and Village Milk Collectors. The project kicked off in February 2017 and is coming to a close in June 2018. Over the course of roughly one year, the project reached out to as many as 11000+ individuals.

Speaking about the success of the project, the Director Agri Business of Engro Foods Limited – Syed Saud Ahmed Pasha said, ’Over the past several years, Engro Foods Limited has participated in many developmental projects which added value to the dairy industry of Pakistan. Eradicating poverty, providing equal opportunities for women and increasing the number of self-employed individuals in the economy are the core values and objectives of Engro Foods’ dairy development projects. Large scale projects such as the ’Big Push for Rural Economy’ are in line with the above mentioned values of Engro Foods. The project benefits Pakistan’s economy by empowering villagers to become self-employed and adding value to the whole dairy industry. We are pleased with the results of the project, as it has helped increase the overall dairy production yield by 20%.í

The Big Push for Rural Economy trained 11000+ Basic Livestock workers, 200+ Village Milk Collectors, 200+ Extension Workers, approximately 96 Farm Supervisors and 70+ Artificial Insemination Technicians.

Judiciary and state should work together to reform and modernize arbitration laws: President & APBF

The Center for International Investment and Commercial Arbitration (CIICA) and UMT School of Law and Policy (SLP) jointly organized an international arbitration conference. The title of the conference was “International Arbitration in Pakistan: Past, Present and Future”.

The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific supported the conference which makes it the first-ever conference in Pakistan supported by UNCITRAL. The Shanghai International Arbitration Center and the Hangzhou Arbitration Commission also supported this conference. Honourable Mr. Justice Jawad Hassan, Judge Lahore High Court, Lahore, was the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker at the conference. Mr. M. Ibrahim Qureshi, President, All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) and Mr. S.M. Naveed, President, Pak China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) spoke at the conference. The conference marked the 3rd anniversary of CIICA, the 6th anniversary of UNCITRAL Regional Center for Asia and the Pacific and the 60th anniversary of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

Speakers from China, Italy, U.K., Qatar, U.S. and U.A.E. participated in the conference and provided a forum for discussing and analyzing Pakistan’s legal framework for international arbitration with a focus on certain international arbitration cases in which Pakistan has been involved; arbitration in the energy and construction sectors; and mechanisms for resolution of disputes under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

Mr. M. Ibrahim Qureshi, President, All Pakistan Business Forums (APBF) stated: “…that the APBF is one of the largest organizations in Pakistan that interacts with the diplomatic community namely ambassadors and commercial attaché’s working in Pakistan. Along with other challenges one of the fundamental issues in judicial arbitration in Pakistan is that the state and the judiciary both need to actively work to reform laws and bring in modern laws. It is very important that we actively pursue confidence building measures to attract foreign investors by ensuring that our system delivers on time, speedy justice and ultimately gives confidence to those investors who plan to invest in Pakistan. Furthermore, we need to address intellectual property arbitration which is going to become a major issue in the coming years due to the fact if we want Pakistan to develop these issues have to be addressed now.

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