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Pakistan Cables Limited signs MoU with University of Engineering and Technology for Scholarship Fund

Pakistan Cables Limited signed an MoU with UET, Lahore to support the university’s scholarship fund that provides financial assistance to deserving students enrolled in the Electrical Engineering dept. at UET’s Lahore and Faisalabad campuses. Pakistan Cables will also award Gold Medals to graduating students and offer equal opportunity to deserving candidates by ensuring gender balance among applicants.

“Pakistan Cables remains committed to contributing as a knowledge partner to the engineering community and UET has contributed significantly over the decades in providing skilled engineering professional in Pakistan. We feel extremely proud to support UET in its endeavors”, said Fahd Kamal Chinoy, Executive Director at Pakistan Cables. Pakistan Cables has a history of supporting academia through various initiatives to support youth development and empowerment in Pakistan. “Institution partnerships between industry and academia are vital for the growth and development of students”, said Professor Tariq Izhar, Chairman DEE.

The signing ceremony was attended by Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shahbaz, (Director FA & CS), Prof. Dr. Abdul Sattar Shakir (Dean F.E.E – UET), Mr. Zargham Nusrat, (Controller of Examination), Azmatullah Bhalli (Regional Head-Sales, PCL), Salman Tahir (Deputy Manager-PCL).

Founded in 1953, PCL the pioneer in cable and wire solutions in Pakistan.

USD appreciation, increase in policy rate will shrink industrial production, further increase the cost of doing business: Mian Zahid Hussain

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that the State Bank of Pakistan has increase policy rate by 1.5 percent to 10 percent, effective from December 3, 2018. In October 2018, the general inflation rate has increased to 6.8 percent while the estimated inflation rate for the FY 2019 was set to be 5.2 percent. Keeping the economic indicators and increase in price of utilities including gas and electricity, it is expected that inflation will further rise by 3 – 4 percent.

The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that with constant increase in policy rate, the economic activities are shrinking in the Country. The higher inflation due to certain reasons is directly affecting the purchasing power of masses. Instant policy measures are required to control the trade deficit. The frequent depreciation in USD highly affects the business opportunities and cost of doing business. Rupee depreciation needs immediate remedial measures; if PKR is not stabilized the business markets will go on further shrinking and inflation will further rise which will last drastic impacts on all sectors including trade and industry. Government and financial institutions should form short and long run policies simultaneously. Problems pertaining to export sector need early consideration in order to control and minimize the trade deficit and get economy on the developing track.

The Former Minister said in the first four months of current fiscal year the remittances and exports are improved by 15 pc and 3 pc respectively, however due to increasing imports of oil the current account deficit is accumulated to $ 5 billion which is 28 percent higher than the same period of previous year. Given to the ongoing economic crisis industrial production and exports will be reduced and large scale manufacturing will be highly affected; the growth rate of LSM in the current fiscal year is already negative by 2 percent.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that rupee devaluation is now a routine. USD reached to Rs. 136 in the open market and experts anticipate a further valuation of dollar. If timely efforts have not been made for rupee stability, it will further decline.

Mian Zahid Hussain said encouraging local and foreign investors is of significant importance and need of time. To get Pakistan out of the ongoing crisis, it is important to promote the industrial, agriculture, trade and services sectors of the Country. Stable and firm economic policies should be implemented to restore the investors’ trust and eliminate the impact of unstable economy in the Country.

LMKT and Microsoft Open first Appfactory in Pakistan

Local technology company, LMKT, has joined forces with Microsoft to launch the first APPFactory (Apprenticeship Factory) in Pakistan, which will develop the digital skills, coding capabilities and employability of young ICT graduates. Forming part of its new LMKT SPARK programme, the AppFactory will recruit up to 30 apprentices every six months, and place them alongside senior software technicians to work on real-world industry projects. After graduating from the programme, apprentices will be able to fully design and implement modern software solutions, and have access to jobs through both LMKT and the Microsoft Partner Network.

According to the Pakistan National Human Development Report 2017, the country currently has the largest generation of young people ever in its history. It is therefore imperative for Pakistan to invest in its youth now – through quality education, employment and engagement – to both enhance personal wellbeing and the country’s economic development.

“As the world becomes increasingly digital, how employable you are, or how competitive your business is, strongly depends on your level of 21st century capabilities, such as coding and data analytics,” says Atif Rais Khan, CEO LMKT. “LMKT SPARK through the APPFactoryaims to develop these skills – enhancing youth employability, while also accelerating Pakistan’s digital transformation by promoting industry innovation, such as the development of eGovernance and agri-tech solutions.”

Microsoft first developed the AppFactory model in 2013, and piloted it in Africa through its 4Afrika Initiative. After transitioning into a partner-driven franchise model, the AppFactory programme rapidly expanded into 11 African countries. Today, over 1,400 young apprentices have graduated from a network of 17 AppFactories – with 85% of these graduates securing jobs within three months of graduating. Others have started their own businesses.

“The AppFactory is a tried and tested model that is successfully improving youth employability, and entrepreneurship, across a variety of industries,” says Amrote Abdella, Regional Director of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative. “Microsoft provides the blueprint and tools for the programme, but the programme itself is entirely run by local partners – who source and set projects in industries ranging from healthcare to transportation. Every industry is being touched and enhanced by technology, and the AppFactory is building a strong talent pool for any organisation looking to digitally transform. We’re excited about this expansion into Pakistan with LMKT, which is a milestone in the development of the AppFactory.”

In addition to developing digital skills, the LMKT SPARK initiative will also serve as a local Research & Development (R&D) Lab for enterprises, entrepreneurs, small-to-medium enterprises and government.

“Investing in human capital and R&D plays a substantial role in driving economic growth and competitiveness, by nurturing innovation, invention and knowledge,” addsLMKT’s Vice President of Information Resource Management, Meer Anwar. “This can go a long way in supporting Pakistan’s 2025 vision to become a top-performing economy, and further improve its ease of doing business ranking.”

Jazz, Code for Pakistan and OPEN Islamabad announce SDG Hackathon 2018

‘Jazz SDG Hackathon’, in partnership with Code for Pakistan and OPEN Islamabad, targeting young entrepreneurs, coders and innovators on using technology for civic solutions is set to take place from 7- 9 December, 2018, at the National Incubation Center, Islamabad. Along with prize money worth PKR 300,000 for the winning team, attendees will learn design thinking, open-source hacking for social good, receive mentoring from domain experts in government and local organizations, and have opportunities to network.

Participants will form teams to create prototypes that address civic and social problems in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative of the United Nations. The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as Global Goals for Sustainable Development, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The SDGs in focus during the event will be Good Health and Well Being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Sustainable Cities and Communities; and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

“Pakistan ranks behind most countries in South Asia when it comes to Human Development indicators and attaining SDGs. The idea of such initiatives is to support the government in solving these challenges,” said Ali Naseer Chief Corporate & Regulatory Affairs Officer at Jazz. “We are looking towards young, innovative minds to come together through the Jazz SDG Hackathon and showcase how technology can be used for the greater good.”

It was in 2015 that the 193-Member United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is composed of 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by the year 2030.

As per The 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards report, Pakistan currently ranks at 126 out of the 156 countries surveyed for their distance to achieving the SDGs by 2030. This showcases a greater need to focus on ’Access to Information and Communications Technology’ (part of Goal 9) to significantly affect the choices and opportunities available to people to positively impact the communities they live within.

Code for Pakistan has conducted numerous civic hackathons in major cities in Pakistan, including organizing Pakistan’s first ever hackathon focused on SDGs. “Our hackathons spark civic engagement, bring together software designers, developers, and community organizers to solve their communities’ needs, and show what’s possible using technology. Some ideas later get pre-accelerated by our civic innovation labs so they can be incubated elsewhere. As a takeaway, participants generally become more civic minded and continue to engage in various projects which are in civic in nature,” said Asim Ghaffar, President of Code for Pakistan.

The event calls on anyone who has a great idea they want to bring to reality, likes working with intelligent people, has skills in web or mobile development, design, mapping, data analysis, research, subject matter expertise in SDGs or the civic space, and above all – knows how to innovate.

IFC and Khushhali Microfinance Bank to Initiate Collaboration in Agri-digital Finance

Khushhali Microfinance Bank and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, have agreed to enter into an advisory engagement to support the development of an agri-digital scorecard to accelerate financial inclusion and access to finance for low-income farmers in Pakistan. This collaboration embodies the commitment from both institutions to support small landholders that are not in the radar of conventional banking ecosystem, thus facilitating the creation of a more resilient farming segment across the breadth of the country.

This collaboration will leverage IFC’s global experience in developing such scorecards in various geographies across Latin America, Africa and Asia. Notably, the project will benefit from IFC’s most recent experiences in China where IFC’s engagements have successfully ramped up outreach through large-scale institutions such as Bank of Langfang and Postal savings Bank of China. In addition, the project will leverage Khushhali Microfinance Bank’s recently upgraded technology platform, T-24, which, with its optimal capabilities is amongst the best in the world.

“Agri digital finance is a key priority for IFC globally, and, through this engagement, IFC will leverage its global experience to unlock the potential of small farmers using technology solutions. The eco-system in Pakistan is ripe for such an engagement and in Khushhali Microfinance Bank, we have a committed and capable partner in this innovative and transformational journey”, said Rachel Freeman, Manager Financial Institutions Group, Asia and Pacific.

Khushhali Microfinance Bank is a forerunner in the microfinance sector in Pakistan. As the largest microfinance bank in the country, Khushhalibank has served over 5 million customers over the past 18 years. Moreover, it was declared the Best Microfinance Bank in 2018. “The collaboration with IFC will further accelerate our endeavors to support the agricultural base of our country. IFC has been a long-standing partner in other areas as well and helped Khushhalibank develop the first microfinance housing offering.” said Ghalib Nishtar, President of Khushhali Microfinance Bank.

IFC is a leading development finance institution and functions as part of the World Bank Group to spur private sector activity through investment and advisory across the Globe. IFC has played a leading role in supporting Agri-digital practices by collaborating with selected practitioners that can help towards the cause of financial inclusion. Pakistan is a priority country for IFC.

FPCCI’s performance is limited to speeches, photo sessions and event, despite declining Country’s economy: Mian Zahid Hussain

Will make FPCCI more effective for improved Country’s Economy, after victory in Federation’s Elections: Allauddin Marri

Presidential candidate of Businessmen Panel Pakistan, Former Chief Minister Balochistan Allauddin Marri while talking to delegations of various association and businessmen during their visit to BMP election office said that Pakistan is blessed with plenty of resources but unfortunately, decision maker did not make enough efforts for the betterment of the Country which caused decline in all sectors of the economy including trade and industry. FPCCI is the apex body of the Country but its role and performance is limited to speeches, false promises, and photo sessions only.

BMP’s Senior Vice Chairman Mian Zahid Hussain said on the occasion that the so called ruling group of the FPCCI has ignored issues and problems of the business community; our struggle is to resolve the long awaited issues of the business community and growth of the Country’s economy. The FPCCI could not establish any research institution or wing in the Country to explore its true potential and explore various avenues for investment to inspire investors from across globe.

Allauddin Marri said that sales tax refunds of exporter have been raised to Rs. 400 billion from Rs. 100 billion in the last four years which has made the export sector suffered but the ruling group of FPCCI could not do anything in this regard except making false promises. The trade deficit has reached to $ 13 billion in the first quarter of current fiscal year which can only be controlled through increased exports. BMP has always worked for highlighting issues of the business community on national forums and provided recommendations for possible resolutions of various problems.

Allauddin Marri, the presidential candidate of the BMP while interacting with the representatives of the business community said that Pakistan is facing various economic and financial difficulties, to help country getting rid of these problems, BMP is near to victory in the FPCCI elections. BMP after winning the forthcoming elections will take concrete steps to resolve the issues pertaining to trade and industry and restore faith of investors. If the ruling group of FPCCI had taken care of these problems we would be in a better position with respect to economy but sadly Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that winning the FPCCI elections we will make the apex chamber of the country more effective for growth of trade, industry and economy and will take all chambers and association on board for collaboration in this regard. To promote the investment opportunities we will form research wing in FPCCI. The government should consider various recommendations of the business community to make business easy in the Country, he added.

The representatives of the Business Community and delegations showed their confidence and trust on the leadership of the Businessmen Panel Pakistan and reassure their support in the forthcoming election with full courage and cooperation to achieve victory in the FPCCI elections.


Largest Group of Graduates Pass Out at IBA, Karachi Convocation 2018

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi held its annual convocation 2018 at the main campus to confer degrees to 926 graduates. The graduating batch included 664 undergraduate students from six programs, 261 post-graduate students from eight programs, and one Ph.D. scholar. It is the largest graduating batch in the 63 years of the institute’s history.

The chief guest of the ceremony was Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, Dr. Ishrat Husain. The Executive Director, IBA Karachi, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal congratulated all the graduating students and their families.

Dr. Iqbal said, “The IBA has long had a reputation for delivering quality education. What does this rest on? Partly because of having admissions characterized by selectivity, teaching characterized by discipline and examinations characterized by integrity. In part, the institute’s reputation also rests on the success achieved by its graduates in professional careers. An outcome measure of quality for the IBA students is the salary level that they attract upon graduation.”

He further clarified that the grades and jobs are not all there is to life. Service to the community is also important. Hence many educationists feel that one of the principal purposes of acquiring knowledge is to serve society. “IBA plays its part in inculcating the sense of public responsibility by Responsible Citizen requirement, the requirement that each and every student complete a Social Internship during his or her passage through the Institute. It exposes students to various social concerns,” he added.

The chief guest Dr. Husain lauded the progress of the IBA in the last decade and shared, “I get feedback from the market that IBA graduates are distinguished not only on merit, but they also exhibit highest ethical values in their conduct.”

He also urged the graduates to show compassion towards their fellow beings. Talking to the graduates he said, “Prepare yourself for an uncertain future. The knowledge and skills you have acquired would soon become obsolete and outdated. Only those among you who are continuously recharging their mental batteries and reequipping themselves with new tools are likely to succeed.”

The convocation proceeded by conferring the degrees to the students. The position holders were presented cash prizes, medals, shields and certificates of merit. It is the first time the institute gave shields for excellence in sports. Performance awards were given to staff and faculty including the Best Teacher and Best Researcher award.

This year a few of the medals and awards were sponsored by the corporate sector and philanthropists.

Certificate Distribution Ceremony held at IBA

A Certificate Distribution Ceremony of Capacity Building in IT of Sindh Secretariat Employees was held at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, city campus on Thursday. The ceremony was attended by Minister for Information, Science and Technology (IS&T) Department, Environment Climate Change and Coastal Development, Government of Sindh Mr. Nawabzada Muhammad Taimoor Talpur, Executive Director IBA, Karachi Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Director IBA – CICT Mr. Imran Batada, Secretary IS&T Department, Government of Sindh Mr. Ali Bahadur Qazi, and Director General IS&T Department, Government of Sindh Mr. Muhammad Yousuf.

The project Capacity Building in IT of Sindh Secretariat Employees is managed and executed by IBA’s Center for Information and Communication Technology (CICT). Through the project, 1280 employees of Sindh Secretariat will receive training on information technology. The first phase of the project has been completed, while the second phase is currently in progress. 286 employees of Sindh Secretariat have been trained so far from different departments in various courses. The collaboration between IBA, Karachi and IS&T Department, Government of Sindh aims at enhancing the capacities of the employees who receive training, thus increasing their productivity in their departments.

The ceremony kicked-off with a welcome note delivered by Mr. Batada in which he appreciated IS&T Department for their full support in this program. Mr. Batada shared that some new IT courses are being introduced in the third batch of the Capacity Building Program. He also shared success stories of the training participants.

Mr. Talpur in his address proposed to form Information Technology Board for Sindh. On the occasion, he appreciated the hard work done by IS&T Department and IBA – CICT. He also suggested that similar kind of training programs should be carried out for ministers as well.

Addressing the event, Dr. Iqbal appreciated the efforts of IBA – CICT. He shared with the attendees that there are a number of state-of-the-art academic centers functioning at the IBA with IBA – CICT being one that imparts is focused on the execution of IT related training programs and consultancies.

Secretary IS&T Department Mr. Qazi said, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that there are many Sindh Secretariat Employees eagerly waiting for more trainings, and consistently contacting us for them. This provides evidence of the accomplishment of our project which is to foster an individual’s learning, enhance life-long learning capabilities and more importantly, nurture positive values and attitudes within the Sindh Governmental Departments.”

On the occasion, Mr. Yousuf shared details of a number of IT-related projects initiated by the Government of Sindh.

Energy Security Policy: Thinking Beyond the Norm

Centre for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies (CPSD), organized a national seminar on “Energy Security Policy: Thinking Beyond the Norm” on 3 December 2018 at Movenpick Hotel Karachi. Former Governor State Bank and Federal Minister Dr. ShamshadAkhatar and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat NI (M)graced the inaugural and closing sessions respectively as the Chief Guests. Experts from the energy sector and governmental officials deliberated on the different dimensions of the subject.

During the seminar President CPSD, Lt Gen Agha M Umer Farooq (retd) HI(M) welcomed the participants in his inaugural address and highlighted the significance of the subject. He emphasized that commitments of the energy producer and habits of consumers need to be changed to encourage conservation, efficiency, and a fuel mix comprising indigenous resources. Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, renowned nuclear scientist, presented a keynote speech during the inaugural session and shared his thoughts on the energy security prospects in Pakistan.

Seminar comprised three working sessions focused on Water and Power, Oil and Gas, and Renewable and Alternative Energy. Ghias Khan, CEO ENGRO Corp, Ms. UzmaAdil Khan, Chairperson OGRA, Mr. Amjad Ali Awan, CEO Alternative Energy Development Board chaired the first, second and third working sessions respectively. During the proceedings of the seminar Lt. Gen Muzammil Hussain (Retd.), Chairman WAPDA, Mr. Asad Ali Shah, Chairman Board of Directors PRL, and Mr. Sarim Sheikh, CEO GE Pakistan presented keynote addresses and enlightened the participants with various challenges and opportunities in the energy sector of Pakistan. Moreover, Syed Shabbar Zaidi, former Provincial Minister, Syed ZawarHaidar, CEO, Oil Companies Advisory Council and Mr. Muhammad Naeem, Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission also spoke on the occasion.

During the closing session, Former Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Mr. Sohail Wajahat, integrated the proceedings of the day. In his address, he highlighted the need for an Integrated Energy Authority for long term sustainability of Pakistan’s energy requirements. He further underscored the importance of human resource development for a prosperous future. Chairman CPSD Mr. Abdullah Dadabhoy applauded and acknowledged speakers for their knowledgeable presentations. He also appreciated the participants of the seminar for their valuable input during the discourse. In his concluding remarks, the Chief Guest CJCSC General Zubair Mahmood Hayat NI (M) appreciated efforts of CPSD for organizing the seminar which provided a platform to probe core issues of energy sector in Pakistan. The event was attended by various prominent dignitaries from energy sector, business community, diplomatic corps, government officials, intellectuals, researchers and students.

Regularization of financial matters will increase white economy and tax net in Pakistan: Mian Zahid Hussain

Pakistan should impose condition of exclusion from FATF’s grey list for US assistance in Afghanistan: Allauddin Marri

Businessmen Panel Pakistan’s Senior Vice Chairman and Former Provincial Minister Sindh, Mian Zahid Hussain and Presidential candidate of BMP, Former Chief Minister Balochistan Allauddin Marri while talking to the business community said that despite taking several measures against money laundering and terror financing the FATF team showed dissatisfaction on 27 of its recommendation which is alarming. Pakistan stands at 25 on the international anti money laundering index and far better than several countries like Tajikistan, Mali, Kenya and Panama which are not on the grey list of FATF.

Leaders of the Businessmen Panel said that Pakistan has been included in the grey list on recommendation of US, UK, France and Germany which is a joke with the sacrifices of 70 thousand people who laid their lives and $ 120 billion economical losses Pakistan has paid in the war against terrorism and a political conspiracy against Chinese investment including CPEC. The Asia Pacific Group of the Financial Action Task Force will revisit Pakistan to monitor the status of its recommendation and will share its findings in Annual conference of APG in July 2019. The fate of Pakistan regarding black listing or exclusion from the grey list will be decided in September 2019. The government should take immediate measures to get Pakistan cleaned from the grey list. The Prime Minister Imran Khan can impose condition of excluding Pakistan from the grey list while helping US in Afghanistan.

BMP Leaders said that current account deficit is accumulated to $ 5 billion in the first four months of current fiscal year which 28 percent higher than the same period of last fiscal year while trade deficit has reached to $ 13 billion. Only $ 600 million has so far invested in the country which 36 person less than the same period of previous year. KSE-100 index has fallen by over 2 thousand points to 38601 point in the first week of this month. In the backdrop of ongoing economic situation, increase in exports and foreign direct investment is of high importance. Though Pakistan will need some strict actions to get out from the grey list but it will ultimately regularize the financial matters in the Country which will enhance the white economy and tax net. Pakistan should wisely utilize the available period till September 2019 avoid blacklisting, which will bring severe consequences in term international standing of the Country.

Allauddin Marri, the presidential candidate of the BMP said that the government should also focus on curbing the economic crisis in addition to corruption and money laundering and better environment for business trade and industry should be developed in the Country by offering required incentives to the business community.

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