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UIT students participate in IEEE SS12: Maker Fair Competition

The Usman Institute of Technology (UIT) students participated in the IEEE SS12: Maker Fair Competition held in Sri Lanka last month.

SS12 is an innovation challenge organised to recognise the best social innovators around the world. The theme for this year was ‘EMPATHY TO ENGINEERING: SOLUTIONS FOR MACRO ISSUES’ Students from different universities in the world took part in the competition and showed their engineering skills. The final round was held at the National School of Business Management Green University, Sri Lanka.

UIT Assistant Professor and Branch Counselor of IEEE UIT Atif Fareed said that he greatly appreciated students who worked hard and participated in the competition.

A large number of innovators, industry, community and field experts attended the final round and shared their experiences as keynote speakers. This was an open house event where people had the chance to view project exhibitions, presentations and interact with the students.

Telenor Pakistan partners with Winrock International to increase farmers’ knowledge

Telenor Pakistan, the country’s foremost telecom and digital services provider, entered into a partnership agreement with Winrock International, a leading provider of social, agriculture and environmental solutions. Under the agreement, Telenor Pakistan, through its flagship m-agri service ’Khushaal Zamindar’, will collaborate with Winrock International to facilitate farmers by increasing productivity and reducing post-harvest losses through the introduction of innovative techniques and technologies in 12 districts of Sindh and Punjab provinces.

Khushaal Zamindar is a digital audio platform which provides access to real-time weather conditions, tips for effective harvesting and live audio advisory services to farmers through mobile phones. This knowledge based campaign is part of Winrock International’s Pakistan Agriculture Development (PAD) project.

PAD technical team has developed content for this campaign including information related to crop/orchard planning, site selection, nursery planning and sowing, seed price, preparing raised beds, pests & disease control, use of fertilizers, harvesting requirements, bunch management, flowering, packing, infrastructure development, financial literacy and marketing. This content will be disseminated to a targeted group of 400,000 farmers through Telenor Pakistan’s Khushaal Zamindar platform.

Commenting on the partnership, Durdana Achakzai, Chief Digital Officer, Telenor Pakistan, said “Access to accurate and latest farming information is the right of all farmers, large or small, and Telenor continues to plays it role in reducing the information gap through Khushaal Zamindar in line with its vision of empowering societies and reducing inequalities. Besides helping our farmers take educated agricultural decisions, our partnership with Winrock International will also pave the way for greater innovation in the mAgri sector that an agriculture-based economy like Pakistan’s is in dire need of.”

Speaking on the occasion, Farrukh Baig Mirza, Chief of Party, PAD project said, “It is very important to introduce modern techniques and tools to small scale farmers for the agricultural development in Pakistan and our partnership with Telenor Pakistan is a step towards this direction. Due to Telenor Pakistan’s reach in these communities along with its experience in digital services, especially Khushaal Zamindar, we believe that we shall able to bring the benefits of this service to 400,000 farmers directly and indirectly over the next two years”

The service will be executed in regional languages for the farmers in Sindh and Punjab regions including Thatta, Mirpur Khas, Hyderabad/Matiari, Umerkot, Tando Allahyar and Khairpur in Sindh; Shiekhupura, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Khanewal, Bahawalpur and Lodhran in Punjab.

Organization Growth Summit on Futurism Commerce held in Karachi

New World Concepts organized its second annual International “Organizational Growth Summit on Futurism Commerce” in Pakistan on October 9, 2018 at Movenpick Hotel, Karachi. The Conference provided access to global learning and highlighted the importance of digitization and its impact on business strategy for Pakistan’s business ecosystem. Professionals from various sectors including banking, telecom, microfinance, manufacturing, automobile, agro-food and IT attended the conference and had an opportunity to learn and interact with leading thinkers and visionaries with powerful insights about organizational growth. The Conference featured notable national and international speakers.

Mr. Amir Niazi, Chair, Board of Advisors, New World Concepts welcomed the participants and emphasized on the need for substantive, scientific and futurism summits in Pakistan to enable business ecosystems to deal with global disruptions and breakthroughs.

Prof. Dr. Atta Ur Rehman, UNESCO Science Laureate; FRS, N.I., H.I., S.I., T.I., delivered an address on Transitioning to a Knowledge Economy, and shared insights on accompanying challenges for Pakistan. Mr. Murat Sahin, Boad Member, Global Lead Asia; Futurist, World Future Society; spoke about artificial intelligence (AI) and the utility of business analytics to spur business growth

Mr. Sagheer Mufti, Chief Operating Officer, HBL, Pakistan; spoke about challenges of organizational transformation and re-engineering business systems in Pakistan

Mr. Stuart Zhang Sanping, Task Force Lead, Siemens, Pakistan delivered an address on opportunities in manufacturing.

Guest speakers included Mr. Zeeshan Bukhari, Director General, Ministry of IT & Telecom; Mr. Najeeb Agrawalla, CEO 1Link; M. A Mannan, Former CEO TCS Holdings; Mr. Qashif Effendi, CEO, Reem Rice and Mr. Miro Craemer, Textile Artist and Social Designer among others who shared insights on different aspects of implementation challenges faced in the digital age.

PTCL Holds Eco-Hike at Trail 3 in Islamabad

Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) organized Eco Hike for its employees with the commitment to collect garbage along the way and contribute to the cleanliness of Trail 3 in Islamabad. PTCL is proud of all the volunteers, who participated enthusiastically in this activity, and performed their civic duty diligently.

About 400 employees of all age brackets including families participated in the activity. It was heartening to see the high spirits of hearing & speech impaired participants, who also joined this activity and made an effort to play a positive role for the betterment of our environment with equal zeal.

Syed Mazhar Hussain, Chief Human Resource Officer, PTCL, said on the occasion, “PTCL participates in various socially responsible activities as a part of its CSR policy. There is a continuous need for preservation and protection of the environment. This hike will enable us to keep our habitat clean, build eco-friendliness and promote the need for healthy activities. Being a significant part of PTCL’s culture of ’One Family’, such events are arranged on a regular basis for employees that help in team-building and also engage them in activities for their good health and well-being.”

Having a number of hiking trails in the capital, this is a popular activity in Islamabad, whereby a lot of trash and garbage gathers on the trails, which is damaging to the beauty of hiking trails and injurious to humans. The day-long hiking activity provided encouragement for PTCL employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It was motivating to see female employees actively participate alongside other team members to make our environment clean and eco-friendly.

NBP making Pakistan ’Greener’ in Mardan

National Bank of Pakistan in a bid to mitigate the impact of climate change and global warming had planted saplings at Mardan as part of national tree plantation drive of the government. Mr. Shaukat Mahmood, Group Head, Service Quality Group, was welcomed by Dr. Khurshid Ahmed, VC, AWKUM, Dr. Qadar Baksh at Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, where he formally inaugurated ’NBP Green Pakistan Drive’ by planting a tree at the premises and donating 5000 fruit and other trees.

A proposal of establishment of Research Data Centre and sponsorship of NBP was also discussed at the forum. The planned centre access would be given to research students and all major universities of KPK. The Research Data Centre will be the first and only RDC where students could access to real time data of international financial institutions.

Moreover, the importance of tree plantation, its uses and benefits, impact on environment was majorly emphasized during the meeting. It was also suggested that every student taking admission at the university should plant and adopt a tree and nurture it till their last day at the campus. This activity will inculcate a sense of ownership and responsibility among students.

Saima Rahim, Regional Head NBP Aitemaad and her team from Peshawar was also present at the occasion.

Unlimited investment opportunities lie in Gwadar, Says: Mian Zahid Hussain

President Pakistan Businessmen and wad Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said Gwadar port started in March 2002 brought hopes of Gwadar’s development and to develop Gwadar on modern lines, Gwadar Development Authority has been established in October 2003 which adopted proper town planning regulations. Till October 2018, GDA has granted NOCs to 77 residential, 16 industrial, 6 commercial and 4 recreational projects comprised on 14210 acres, 2275 acres, 300 acres and 381 acres respectively.

The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that Gwadar is going to be the world’s latest industrial and economic hub. 20 roads and 8 buildings have so far completed given to the development work being carried out by GDA. Ongoing projects include Hospital and water desalination plant. Unlimited investment opportunities lie in Gwadar for major, medium sized and small investors. The major investment projects include Shipping agency, Goods transport, ferry service from Gwadar to Karachi and Gulf countries, Hotels, Fishing industry including freezing and packing, private schools and hospitals. Medium sized investors can grab opportunities in restaurants, parks, water sports, printing, super stores, markets, tourism, LPG and medicine, etc. While small investors have various opportunities in town planning, law firms, architects, private cars and others. Local investors can have the opportunity in dairy, poultry, farming of fruits and vegetables given to the availability of fresh water in the region.

The former minister said that 12 projects are in process in Gwadar under CPEC most significant of which are International airport, east bay express way, Free Zone, Fresh water treatment, Pak-China Friendship hospital, Steel Park and Gwadar University. Completion of these projects will bring economic development in the region, living standard of locals will be improved and Balochistan will get rid of deprivation of years. Pakistan will be able to practically improve ways to enhance international trade especially exports by getting access to new international markets including Turkey, Europe and Central Asian countries.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that 4 thousand metric tons of cargo has been imported through Gwadar in 2017, however, since 2008, 800,000 ton of cargo has been imported. In future, Gwadar will play vital role in exports of the Country by giving cheaper access to new markets. According to Gwadar Chamber of Commerce there are more than 100,000 opportunities in the developing city where 10 thousand firms have so far invested in more than 1000 projects of 10 different countries. Collaboration of Government with Gwadar Chamber of Commerce is vital for speedy economic growth of the area thus benefiting Pakistan.

PTCL holds reception in honour of its returning hajjis

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) hosts a reception at PTCL Academy H-9, Islamabad in honour of its employees from various parts of the country, who have returned after performing Hajj sponsored by the company.

The event was attended by senior officials, along with Syed Mazhar Hussain, Chief Human Resource Officer, PTCL.

Expressing his views on the occasion, Syed Mazhar Hussain said, “PTCL Hajj Scheme is a step in the right direction to provide its employees with this golden opportunity to perform Hajj and undertake this sacred journey on company’s expense. This opportunity is being provided to employees based purely on their best performance and through fair & transparent balloting. Every year 40 employees are selected to perform Hajj, which is one of our most significant religious and sacred obligation.”

He further added that this year we also held balloting for two reserved seats for female employees and their Mehrams, who have also performed Hajj under PTCL Hajj Scheme.

PTCL management, being cognizant for the welfare of the employees and their families, always endeavors to provide opportunities for their well-being.

Komal Rizvi motivates Aman Foundation mission

Komal Rizvi, Pakistan’s leading female singer, in keeping with her desire to give back to her country and continue her social services behind the screen, took a day tour of the Aman Foundation, here recently to encourage the students enrolled there and to gauge how she could be of assistance to them.

On her arrival at Aman Foundation, Rizvi was warmly received by senior management who briefed the artiste about the Foundation and gave a detailed tour of Aman Tech, a vocational training institute designed to transform the unemployed youth of Pakistan into productive members of society.

Awed by the calibre of the students and the commitment of the Aman team, Rizvi asked them questions about their projects and showed immense interest in their sessions.

The versatile singer also visited ’soft skills classes’ where students were being taught how to communicate and how to function effectively in society. Komal Rizvi interacted with the young boys and was amazed at the etiquette with which they responded.

The pop diva praised Aman’s initiative to build such highly trained and responsible students. Expressing her views, Komal Rizvi said “I am truly amazed by the selfless dedication of the team and the great work being done here. I am ready to provide any kind of support and assistance needed for the development of these students.”

CEO Aman Foundation, Ahmad Jalal, also extended his thankfulness to Rizvi for the motivation she provided to the students and employees.

For social media postings, kindly use the following hashtag:#komalrizviofficial #amanfoundation

CEJ-IBA and ICRC recognize journalists’ outstanding work in humanitarian reporting

Awards were conferred on six top journalists for their outstanding contributions in humanitarian reporting at the 2nd Humanitarian Reporting Awards 2018 jointly organized by the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA), Karachi and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The awards were given in three categories: mainstream broadcast (Urdu), mainstream print and online (Urdu) and mainstream print and online (English) for news stories published between November 2017 to September 2018.

The winners and runners-up in the three categories are as follows:

Mainstream Broadcast (Urdu)

* Winner: Muhammad Husnain – Hum News
* Runner-up: Raja Kamran – Neo TV

Mainstream Print & Online (Urdu)

* Winner: Umer Draz Nangiana – BBC Urdu
* Runner-up: Islam Gul Afridi – Peshawar Today

Mainstream Print & Online (English)

* Winner: Sabrina Toppa – Freelance Journalist
* Runner-up: Rizwana Naqvi – Dawn

Speaking at the event, Kamal Siddiqi, Director CEJ, shared details of how the institution joined hands with the ICRC to launch Humanitarian Reporting Workshops and Awards. “We see this collaboration going a long way since we aim to continue inspiring our media to report on humanitarian issues in a way that is objective and keeps the interests of the affected at heart,” he said. Mr. Siddiqi further informed that CEJ’s partnership with ICRC had helped both institutions identify weaknesses in the current humanitarian reporting practices and explore innovative ways to fill the gaps.

Reto Stocker, Head of Delegation at ICRC Pakistan, lauded the work CEJ-IBA was doing to promote effective journalism in Pakistan in general, and the institution’s central role in the humanitarian reporting workshops in particular. “We are pleased to have partnered with CEJ for the second consecutive year for the Humanitarian Reporting Workshop and Awards. Reporting on humanitarian issues is a very sensitive matter as it has interests of the affected at stake. Through these workshops and awards, we have aimed for learning from and teaching the local media the best practices when it comes to highlighting humanitarian issues,” he said.

This year, 200 submissions were received for the Humanitarian Reporting Awards 2018 from across Pakistan and the winners were announce by a panel of veteran journalists namely Shahzad Sharjeel, columnist for Dawn English daily; Ghazala Fasih, in-charge Women’s Edition and Writer at Nawa-i-Waqt Group; Iftikhar Firdous, Editor Investigations for Samaa TV and Digital.

The winners thanked the CEJ-IBA and the ICRC for recognizing of their work and lauded the institutions’ efforts to promote effective and professional journalism by means of such workshops and trainings.

Byco’s Green Campaign wins award of best advertisement

Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited has won the award for Best Ad of Pakistan from the Herald Magazine. On the occasion of Pakistan’s 71st Independence anniversary, Byco conceived of launching their sustainability initiative to plant trees and to distribute seeds through its 350-outlet strong retail network across Pakistan. To kick off the campaign, Byco planted 1000 trees at the Urban Forest Park which uses the Miyawaki method of afforestation, in Clifton, Karachi and 2000 trees at its Bowzer Village next to its refinery in Balochistan.

The award-winning design of the “Fuel Up, Green Up” ad campaign was developed by Spectrum Y&R. The ad promotes tree plantation across Pakistan by distributing Moringa Tree seeds at Byco’s retail outlets. Complimentary seed pouches were distributed to Byco fuel customers. The campaign was launched to help Byco lead the way for Pakistan’s citizens to Be The Change that they want to see in the world and promote environmental consciousness throughout the nation. Mr. Azfar Saeed Baig, Vice President of Byco said on the occasion, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that Byco and Spectrum have won this award for our Green Campaign. I hope it helps highlight even further the need for Pakistanis to work together to Make Pakistan Green Again and planting trees across the nation so that we protect our environment.”

Pakistan state oil’s 42nd annual general meeting highlights consistent progress despite challenges

Pakistan State Oil Company Limited, the country’s largest oil marketing company, held its 42nd Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Karachi where it shed on light on recent achievements and consistent growth trends in spite of some grave industry challenges. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Jahangir Ali Shah, Managing Director & CEO of Pakistan State Oil, along with senior officials including Mr. Yacoob Suttar, Deputy Managing Director – Finance, and Mr. Rashid Umar, the Company Secretary.

PSO closed the year with a cumulative market share of 50%. The growth in MOGAS at 10.1% and HSD at 2.4% was the highest recorded in the last three years. The Company – which already rules the aviation fuels sector with 79.2% market share and operations at all 10 airports in Pakistan – further increased its dominance in the segment by commissioning a state-of-the-art refueling facility at the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIAP).

PSO increased its gross profit despite a steep decline in Black Oil demand by 29.6%. Reduction in markup received from PIBs due to their maturity in July 2017 by Rs 4.3 billion, and reversal of deferred tax asset due to decline in future corporate tax rates by Rs 1.3 billion are the main contributors in reduction of profit after tax by Rs 2.7 billion in FY2018.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Jahangir Ali Shah, Acting Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil, said:

“PSO remains the nation’s favorite and most trusted fuel provider, a coveted status that we owe to our customers nationwide and use the best of our resources to serve them better. It is because of our customers’ trust that in spite of challenges, PSO reported a decent 6.7 % increase in Gross Profit and a Profit-After-Tax (PAT) of Rs 15.5 billion in FY2018. The overall financial performance of the Company remained strong with an increase of 20% in Net Sales Revenue over last year to Rs 1.1 Trillion as compared to 0.9 Trillion in FY2017.”

On the occasion, Mr. Shah also highlighted PSO’s achievements in the non-fuel retail (NFR) segment:

“In the non-fuel retail (NFR) segment too, PSO has moved to strengthen its operations by revamping and diversifying 13 of its Shop Stops and installing 50 new ATMs at its retail outlets nationwide in FY18 with the NFR revenue increasing by an impressive 69%. We plan on expanding our NFR operations further so our customers get the most out of their visit to PSO fuel stations and are provided with as many facilities as possible under one roof.”

Talking about PSO’s achievements with regard to improving and maintaining fuel quality, Mr. Shah stated:

“We have been a strong proponent and torchbearer of better quality fuels in Pakistan and in pursuit of the same PSO introduced higher-grade RON 97 HOBC gasoline in FY 2018. Furthermore, we have taken initiatives of upgrading the company’s fleet to ensure safe transportation of fuel”.

The past year saw some other achievements for PSO too. The Company’s excellence in financial reporting was again acknowledged as PSO secured 3rd position in Best Corporate Report Awards in the Oil and Gas Sector, by ICAP and ICMAP. The Company also secured joint second runner up position in SAFA best presented Annual Reports Awards held by the South Asian Federation of Accountants.

Appreciating PSO employees and management, Mr. Shah said the Company owed its success to their hard work. He also extended his gratitude to the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum Division), shareholders and customers of the company whose trust has helped PSO maintain its status as the country’s largest and most trusted fuel provider.

ACCA upholds ’Ethics’ as a key pillar for an Emerging Pakistan

ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has teamed up with Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and CFA Institute to celebrate this year’s Global Ethics Day (17 October 2018).

To mark this landmark occasion, the organisations will be exploring how businesses are preparing for an ethical future in the face of threats and challenges presented by globalisation, technology and human psychology.

The three organisations are also producing a film interview series called ’Ethics in business: in their own words’ which will feature a number of global CEOs, including: Helen Brand OBE, chief executive of ACCA, Paul Smith, president and CEO of CFA Institute and David MacLennan, chairman and CEO of Cargill discussing the greatest ethical challenge facing their respective organisations.

ACCA Pakistan held an event in Islamabad which was attended by Rahat Kaunain Hassan, Partner Hassan Kaunain Nafees Legal Practitioners and Advisers, Chaudhry Faisal Mushtaq, Founder and CEO Roots Millennium Schools, Faisal Rehman Malik, Senior Anchor. All these keynote speakers stressed on the value and importance of instilling the right mind-set and culture to drive businesses forward, ethically and sustainably.

Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan highlighted, “It is not our opinions but our actions which are going to drive change. Ethics or lack of is going to be the key disruption alongside technology advancements.”

The keynote speeches were followed by a panel discussion moderated by Aamir Ghauri, Senior Journalist, Broadcaster and Author. The panelists included Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, Dr. Tariq Hassan, Chairman Audit Oversight Board, Rahat Kaunain Hassan, Partner Hassan Kaunain Nafees Legal Practitioners & Advisers, Zouhair Khaliq, Co-Founder Team up & Advisor and Syed Asmatullah, Executive Director Deloitte Yousuf Adil, Chartered Accountants.

Our Panellist, Rahat Kunain spoke on the subject and said, ’Improving work ethics of the nation in general is imperative to drive the productivity of our workforce else competing with global workforce will an upcoming challenge for our youth.’

Aamir Ghauri who was moderating the panel discussed that, ’The kind of role models we are sharing on television and films should promote and show case good moral and ethical examples.’

Zouhair Khaliq, Co-Founder Teamup and Advisor commented, “The young generation of the entrepreneurs is building up their businesses on strong moral and ethical values, leaders of today should inculcate and nourish such behaviours.”

Helen Brand OBE, ACCA’s chief executive, says: ’This is the fifth anniversary of Global Ethics Day, and an opportunity for us all to stop and think ahead to the ethical challenges we face and how we can all work together to tackle them. This day is to remind individuals and businesses of their ethical responsibilities and highlight why doing the right thing is so important. And this is why ACCA is supporting Global Ethics Day 2018, working with Carnegie and CFA Institute to shine a spotlight on all things ethical’.

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