Avanza and Premier to establish fastest and most reliable payment gateway of Pakistan
By Shabbir Kazmi
Avanza Group and Premier Systems signed an agreement to formally establish Avanza Premier Payment Services (APPS) Pakistan’s fastest and most reliable domestic online payment gateway. APPS will deploy an E-commerce and M-commerce payment gateway and merchant digitization service.
S. Arshad Raza, CEO, Premier Systems said, “We have many international partners, but now we have a domestic player embracing the digital economy and enriching it by providing substantially convenient payment solutions. Pakistan is at the cusp of a digital revolution and we are proud to be part of that drive.”
Mahmood Kapurwala, CEO, Avanza Group stated, “We are proud to be partnering with Premier Systems to launch APPS, which will become the country’s gateway of choice for payments and help digitize our e-commerce ecosystem. Our objective is to help businesses and consumers alike to overcome payment hurdles and make Pakistan a proud member of the growing digital arena”.
“The two organizations aim to create synergies that enable APPS to cater to the rapidly evolving digital landscape in Pakistan. Our economy is still reliant on the cash on delivery (CoD) model with our e-commerce industry consisting of 90% CoD indicating that Pakistan has yet to accept Digitalization”, he added.
On that note APPS’s newly appointed CEO, Mr. Adnan Ali presented the end-to-end technology stack that would help APPS to move Pakistan towards a cashless landscape by digitizing the major institutions such as merchants, schools, billing industries, mutual funds and other corporate entities by providing a secure hassle-free digital experience.
Mr. Adnan Ali, CEO, APPS, said, “This is a momentous occasion for us all, as we are aware that the industry is shaping up to disrupt the way we do business, we will be one of the pioneers in innovating the domestic industry. We aim to digitize the market for our potential stakeholders and play the role of a catalyst in digital payment system of Pakistan.”
The launch of APPS will spur innovation in the domestic market by encouraging the community to pay using digital means but also make digital payments easier and widely available for the banking customers to undertake e-commerce transactions.
Avanza Group of Companies is an 18 plus year old technology powerhouse with over 300 employees in offices across Pakistan, Middle East and Africa. The group comprises of companies that focus on key sectors including Banking, Telecommunications, Governments, Retail, and Manufacturing. Avanza contributes to these industries with its state-of-the-art products that include advanced channel banking applications, customer experience management solutions, e-commerce and retail solutions, Block-chain, RPA, AI, and Smart City applications. Avanza is viewed as a thought-leader in nascent technologies across the region and has won the admiration and confidence of not just customers but also of industry partners such as NCR, Avaya, Microsoft, and IBM.
Premier Systems is one of Pakistan’s leading ICT infrastructure providers. Established in 1993, it currently employs more than 135 IT professionals across 4 offices in Pakistan and UAE. Its major focus is on Hardware, Software and Managed solutions. Its proud partners are renowned IT companies like Microsoft, HP, Cisco, Oracle, Juniper, VMware, and Vertivetc. Its solutions cater to key industries, such as Telecom, Banking, Oil and Gas and Defence. As a strong believer in diversifying its product portfolio, Premier has also established a partnership with world renowned car manufacturers Audi to become the vehicle’s sole importer, distributor, dealer and service provider across Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
K-Electric powering Karachi’s progress for over 100 years: Syed Fakhar Ahmed
Pakistan is a vibrant and rich society full of potential with the means to realize it. As responsible citizens it is our responsibility to highlight the strengths our country possesses in the form of effective success stories, be it recognizing the large market size, talented youth, emergence of large middle class, abundance of natural resources and the list goes on.
These views were expressed by Syed Fakhar Ahmed, Chief Marketing & Communication Officer, K-Electric during his presentation at the CEO Summit organized by the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan with the theme of Shaping the Future of Business. Fakhar has represented the country on various international platforms and forums. He has over 20 years of leadership experience and successfully led several businesses and turnarounds.
Fakhar said that with Pakistan’s growing economy and demographic strength, the country is progressing sustainably and is expected to attract a number of foreign investors in different sectors. He also shared that KE’s transformation, from an under-utilized strategic asset before 2009 into a leading energy player, represented one of the global power industry’s most well-recognized operational turnaround stories. Over the years KE has achieved substantial progress and improvement, subsequently leading to an operational and financial turnaround of the company.
“Diversity of talent, culture and experience at KE has helped foster an environment of innovation while contributing significantly to improved organizational performance. KE also provides equal work opportunities so that all employees can work together towards sustainable growth,” Fakhar apprised the participants.
Responding to a query, he said that at KE, people and culture are the power utility’s biggest asset. “We ensure that the most diligent policies are put in place in terms of recruitment as well as development of talent. Further, diversity and inclusion is one of our top priorities and has enabled us to assemble a diverse team of talented, focused and high achieving individuals who are responsible for our success,” he said.
During his concluding remarks he shared that KE is fully committed to its vision statement of ‘Energizing Karachi’ while serving over 25 million people of Karachi and its adjoining areas.
PTCL teens Football Tournament concludes
An exciting nationwide football event titled ’PTCL Teens Football Tournament’ was organized for children of PTCL’s employees, aged 16 to 19 years, at Sports Complex, Islamabad. The tournament, including the semi-final and final matches, took place over the span of 5 days.
The purpose of the tournament was to promote healthy activities for PTCL families. PTCL created an opportunity for a teenager which encourages them to have a healthy lifestyle. The company remains committed to the wellbeing of its employees, and their families.
These events were largely attended by PTCL employees, given football’s status as a popular sport in Pakistan. There were a total of three teams, i.e. Headquarters (HQs), Islamabad Telecom Region (ITR) and Rawalpindi Telecom Region (RTR), which consisted of 16 players each. The teenagers, who were unable to make it to the teams, were kept as substitute players. It was an exhilarating event for the teenagers, during their summer break, before they head back to their educational institutions.
Concluding the event, Syed Mazhar Hussain, CHRO, PTCL said, “I would like to congratulate Rawalpindi Telecom Region (RTR) and its players on their victory. I appreciate all the participants who exhibited true sportsman spirit to make this tournament a success. Teamwork and togetherness are the essence of sportsmanship. PTCL is an organization which provides a holistic environment to bring out the best in its employees. Such activities will bring the families of our employees closer and will encourage a healthy sports culture.”
PTCL continues to look for ways to positively impact the communities in which it operates, and to remain an inspiration for its staff. PTCL is keen to ensure employees and their children take part in all of the company’s sports events for the physical wellbeing and healthy lifestyle.
PTCL has a tradition & culture to promote sports activities within the organization. Earlier this year, a mega sports gala was organized by the company during which employees and their families participated in a variety of sports activities.
Octara & Expothon to conduct intensive training for quadrupling national exports
Octara, Pakistan’s leading training solutions provider, will collaborate with Expothon, a Canadian think tank on innovative excellence to host a series of exclusive workshops focused on devising pragmatic solutions for Pakistani businesses. The ultimate aim of these workshops is to develop a plan to quadruple the total exports of Pakistan.
A marathon debate on this key issue will be held at the Ramada Plaza in Karachi on Saturday August 11, 2018. It will focus on quadrupling the innovative potential of Pakistan’s mid-sized business economy. This debate will be simulcast live to 50,000 midsized businesses in Pakistan. Currently, a program of 30 VIP panelists is being scheduled for the event. Octara is additionally seeking entrepreneurial business women who are already achieving a turnover of 30 to 50 crore rupees.
The five-day intensive trainings will take place in Lahore (Sept 24-28), Karachi (Oct 1-5), Faisalabad (Oct 8-12), Islamabad (Oct 15-19) and again in Karachi (Oct 22-26 for women entrepreneurs only).
This niche program has been designed for Pakistani business owners, thought leaders and entrepreneurs to identify solutions to problems that hinder large-scale business expansion in Pakistan. These intensive, five-day boot camps are intended for founders and owners, and the next generation of business leaders across the nation.
These training sessions will take place under the theme of ’Quadrability’, reflecting the program’s ambitious goal of quadrupling the nation’s exportability. Quadrability aims to engage high-net worth individuals and distinguish persons in a ’battle of the minds’ to boost Pakistan’s exports, which comprise only 1% of the world’s total exports.
Chairman of Expothon, Naseem Javed, who is leading the program in Pakistan with the support of TCS, said, “The idea behind Quadrability is to initiate a movement where the very talented and entrepreneurial forward-thinking leaders of the country come together to delve into issues of concern. We will collaboratively create solutions that stimulate the expansion of local businesses, guided by international best practices.”
Talking about the program, CEO of Octara, Jamil Janjua said, “This would be a superior gathering of upcoming entrepreneurial geniuses who are already in businesses and ready to engage in tactical and entrepreneurial combative battlefield formations.”
Each session has a limited number of seats. To register, in any preferred city, individuals can express their interest via email on: email@example.com. For more details about Quadrability, please visit the website www.octara.com or www.expothon.com
NBP Funds Launches NAFA Islamic Capital Preservation Plan IV
NBP Funds announces the launch of NAFA Islamic Capital Preservation Plan IV. The investment objective is to earn halal profits for investors’ along with preservation of their initial investment amount at maturity of two years.
NBP Funds is the largest Asset Management Company in the country with a rating of AM1(Very High Quality) by PACRA, and is presently managing over Rs. 11,000 crores of investors’ money.
PTCL conducts fire drill exercise & awareness session
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), in collaboration with Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and Rescue 1122, organized Fire Safety Drill Exercise & Awareness Session, which was organized at PTCL Headquarters, Islamabad, as a part of PTCL Safety Drive.
An orderly drill was executed where all the PTCL employees, including the top management, participated wholeheartedly. Following the fire alarms, which were sounded on all floors, to evacuate the employees from PTCL HQ building and gather them at the pre-designated assembly points.
The local fire brigade and ambulance promptly responded. PTCL employees actively participated in the drill exercise and were trained to operate the fire extinguisher. The Awareness Session was about safety protocols and response to fire emergency, which holds a pivotal importance for safer working premises.
Syed Mazhar Hussain, Chief Human Resource Officer, PTCL, said on this occasion, “For PTCL, safety of our employees is of foremost priority and we are constantly taking measures to provide them with a secure environment for their wellbeing. This activity was organized as part of our safety drive to create awareness amongst our employees on the importance of their safety at workplace. We ensure safe and secure environment for our employees as we care for them and consider ourselves as one PTCL family.”
PTCL is constantly working towards creating a safe environment for all its employees. Through this awareness campaign, the fire safety messages and standard operating procedures gets conveyed to a larger audience through employees’ friends and families. Like any other collective effort, safety needs constant vigilance from everyone through their awareness and actions.
NBP tree plantation drive across Pakistan continese
The National Bank of Pakistan formally launches its “Green Initiative” tree plantation campaign. Mr Saeed Ahmad, the NBP President planted sapling at the NBP’s north region head-office in Islamabad.
NBP’s tree plantation campaign, “Green Initiative” is part of bank’s CSR program through which over 3,000 plants will be planted in Islamabad, Peshawar and Karachi. The NBP will gift over 1,000 plants to the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for its tree plantation drive in the capital.
Saeed Ahmad said that the corporate institutions should realise their responsibility and participate in tree plantation drives so that we plant as many plants as we can. He said there is dire need for measures to control environmental pollution and protect human lives, adding that trees play an important role in eliminating environmental pollution. He has directed managers of all NBP branches to plant tree in their soundings. The NBP has 1500 branches across country including the remotest and far-flung areas.
Later in the day, Saeed Ahmad, also inaugurated tree plantation drive in Peshawar by planting a sapling at NBP’s Aitemad Islamic Banking Regional Headquarter in Peshawar. NBP will extend plantation of about 1,000 trees in Peshawar city.
The NBP had already begun tree plantation drive in Karachi starting with over 1,000 tree at the campus grounds of the University of Karachi.
Imran Khan’s modesty and denial protocol is worth following: 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 of Sindh, Mian Zahid Hussain last Wednesday said that given the current economic situation of the country, where increase in revenue is mandatory, avoiding unnecessary expenditures is equally important. Discouraging protocol culture from the expected PM, Imran Khan is worth following and shows the strong bonding of leader with his people.
The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that the lavish protocol is a huge burden on the declining economy of Pakistan and a cause of panic for the masses. It is important that the security of VVIPs including president, prime minister, judges, etc., should not be compromised at any cost but it’s equally important to avoid unnecessary expenses causing loss of millions to the national exchequer annually.
The former minister said that elite and ruling class spends millions of rupees on their protocol and overblown security causing heavy damages to the national exchequer. Around 3 billion rupees have been spend on the protocol of few elite families in the country. If ban is imposed on protocol, the national exchequer will be saved to a greater extent and common masses will get relief from unnecessary hurdles and problems they face while blocking of routes during VIP movements. Several important and precious human lives have been lost due to VVIP movements and trouble thousands of general public for hours.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that several recommendations on reduced protocol and amendments in blue book have sent by the Senate standing committee, but to no avail, as no sincere efforts have been made to this effect. According to blue book, a route can be blocked for 2 -3 minutes, but it is a common practice that roads get blocked for more than 30 minutes, causing traffic jams and troubling the common men. Spending millions on protocol of government official and elected people’s representatives in a Country with serious economic threats is not a wise decision and need to be addressed.
He said that the incoming government should take the matter into account and stop wasting the national exchequer on unnecessary protocol of elite class assuring their complete and fool proof security on priority.
JS Bank ATMs achieve 10pc EMV Compliance
Striving to provide customers with a secure and efficient environment for financial transactions, JS Bank has implemented the latest security tools to empower and deliver an enhanced digital experience for its customers in today’s rapidly developing business and technology focused world.
With the continual increase in digital transactions in Pakistan, it is necessary to secure the payment card environment and safeguard customers from frauds. Therefore, with the aim of minimizing the occurrence of fraudulent activities over ATMs, JS Bank has successfully upgraded its ATM network across Pakistan to become fully EMV-compliant.
JS Bank is proud to be the first Bank in Pakistan’s banking industry whose entire ATM network is fully compliant with EMV standards. Over the years, the Bank has undertaken multiple projects to upgrade underlying infrastructure related to Payment Systems. This achievement was made possible through collaboration between the Bank and its technology partner, Avanza Solutions.
Humanitarian reporting workshop held at CEJ-IBA
A two-day-long workshop on Humanitarian Reporting for journalists concluded at the Centre for Excellence in Journalism -Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA) last Tuesday. Twenty-three journalists belonging to media organizations from across the country participated in the training, which was held in collaboration with the International Committee for the Red Cross. The trainer for this course was Mahim Maher, editor of Samaa Digital.
The workshop covered different ways in which the media can report on humanitarian crises while upholding the code of journalism ethics. Guest speakers humanitarian Faisal Edhi, architect Arif Belgaumi and JPMC Executive Director Dr. Seemin Jamali also spoke to the participants about media coverage of mass casualties’ incidents.
Dr. Jamali shared her insight on how hospitals respond to mass medical crises such as attacks or natural disasters and how media should cover such events. Dr Jamali shared her experiences of dealing with trauma cases at the hospital. She recalled the time when an armed person walked into the hospital and opened fire at a gunshot victim. On media coverage, Dr Jamali urged journalists to respect the privacy of patients and to allow doctors time to treat the patients before demanding information from them.
Architect Arif Belgaumi spoke on how infrastructure is damaged after a disaster. He explained the factors that increase the risk of natural disasters, including climate change, density of populations and lack of proper drainage. “You can have all the laws of the world but till the time you don’t implement them they are of no use,” he said.
Belgaumi added that there is no system of checking what kind of material is being used in local constructions, which increases the risks of faulty buildings that could collapse in times of natural disasters or terrorist attacks.
“Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings kill people,” said Belgaumi. “After a disaster takes place, the real challenge is not just to build back but build better.” He added reconstructions should involve indigenously-sourced materials and traditional construction technologies. According to him, over the past 20 years, things have really improved in the architecture industry in terms of adhering to standards and using good quality materials.
Humanitarian Faisal Edhi spoke about how first-responders work, rescue missions and relief work take place disaster-hit areas, and the factors media personnel should be aware of when interacting with rescue officials and victims.
CEJ Director Kamal Siddiqi distributed certificates among the participating journalists.
FWBL opens first transgender account
Working to empower communities nationwide through financial inclusion, First Women Bank Limited. has opened Zindagi Asaan Account of a transgender citizen, Manzoor Hussain. The account was opened at its Multan Branch.
FWBL believes that inclusivity is the key to sustainable progress. We are committed to reach out to those segments of society that have not been given the opportunities they are entitled to as equal citizens of Pakistan.
Access to banking services will pave the way for empowering all of us as a nation. On the 71st birthday of Pakistan, FWBL commits to the nation that it will endeavor to identify segments of our population who have special needs and will consciously and sincerely work towards facilitating them avail banking services.
Recently the Bank has also launched an SME product, “FWBL Nikhar” – specially designed to encourage and empower professionals, including transgender, associated with the beauty industry by offering easily accessible financing facility for their business.
Quetta is backbone of Balochistan’s Economy and sustained peace is need of time: Mian Zahid Hussain
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of and former provincial of Mian Zahid Hussain last Monday said that the biggest provinces of the Country with respect to land has turned to a centre of sectarian terrorism, political instability and bad law and order which is equally affecting the masses and country’s stability. Quetta has distinguished historical background and recognized as a centre of trade and communication between Afghanistan and Pakistan, playing a vital roles in Balochistan’s economy.
The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that Quetta and its outskirts are famous for horticulture; fruits produced have distinguished taste and quality. Agro products include wheat, barley, fodder and various vegetables. Livestock is comparatively developed sub sector of agriculture which not only suffices the demand of the province but also exported to other parts of the country. Majority of masses are associated with this sector to earn their livelihood.
The former minister said that 650 KM Quetta – Gwader section has been completed while Quetta mass transit system is an essential part of CPEC. Mining, Agriculture, Horticulture and Livestock trade have huge potential in Quetta and the surrounding areas. Gwader port will significantly affect the province’ population and will boost the economic growth in the region. After reserves of gas and coal, the world’s largest copper deposits (and its matrix-associated residual gold) have been found at Reko Diq in the Chagai District of Baluchistan. The deposits at Reko Diq are hoped to be even bigger than those of Iran and Chile.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that despite huge mineral reserves Baluchistan is far behind the mark in education, growth and employment. Peace has been restored to a greater extent with the efforts of Pakistan Army and FC but still there are sectarian killing and political instability that causes the low progress in the region. BAP has secured 15 seats in the recent election and rose as the biggest political party while MMA secured 9, BNP 6, independent 6 and PTI 4 seats. The elected parties and political leaders should jointly work to defeat foreign conspiracy to strengthen Country’s defence and economy.