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PM’s meeting with business community is encouraging for investors and industrialist: Mian Zahid Hussain

Government should form stable and long term policies for investment’s growth: 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 Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with different delegations of the business community and assuring the inclusion of their recommendations in the policies is appreciative and encouraging for investors and industrialists. Karachi trade and industry hub of the Country, despite contributing to 70 percent of the Country’s revenue became a hub of severe issues.

Leaders of the Businessmen Panel said that refunds of exporters are still pending up to Rs. 300 billion, requires early consideration. Karachi has the potential to turn the Pakistan’s industrial map but it’s required that government should provide the industrialization friendly environment according to its vision where investors’ trust do not shake and local as well as foreign investors prefer Pakistan as new investment destination. The law and order has been improved given to the joint operations by Army, Rangers, Police and LEAs over the years. Practicing traffic rules have also been improved due to efforts being made by Additional IG Police Dr. Amir Sheikh and more betterment is expected in this regard; however, to make Karachi a crime free city, implementation of safe city project is vital.

BMP Leaders said that investment is improved in different sectors including automotive, information technology and tourism. MNCs with existing operations in the Country are intended to increase their investment in Pakistan including Pepsi Pakistan and Coca Cola. In order to attract investment, government need to provide ease of doing business in the Country. The long awaited development projects of Karachi like Circular Railway, K-4 and Karachi rapid bus transport need an early completion, for which government need to take action.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the industrial sector is facing problems and difficulties in getting smooth supply of gas and electricity. The export sector, large scale manufacturing and small industry are equally affected with this problem. The government should provide uninterrupted utility supply to the industrial sector on competitive rates in accordance to the regional countries, so that the industries being suffered due to this problem may get compensated.

Allauddin Marri said that it is important for the government to introduce long run and stable policies in order to restore investors’ trust and attract foreign and new local investment in the Country. Due to unstable policies, the Karachi stock exchange has been declined by more than 2 thousand points in the first week of this month caused billions of losses to investors. Dollar unexpected appreciation also discouraged investors and traders.

UIT Electrical Engineering Graduates Eligible for Direct Work Visas for USA, UK, Canada

Usman Institute of Technology (UIT) affiliated with NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi. UIT recently announced that the graduates of its Electrical Engineering program are eligible for obtaining work visas for USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand along with other countries of the world. The graduates will not be required to pass any equivalency or qualifying exam to be recognized as professional engineers in these countries.

UIT is one of two institutes in Pakistan whose four Electrical Engineering (Computer Systems, Electronics, Power and Telecommunication) programs have achieved this distinction by attaining PEC OBE Level II accreditation under the Washington Accord.

UIT stated that: “UIT has graduated over 3500 students to date who are gainfully employed in the industry, businesses, software houses, government organizations and a variety of other enterprises. A number of them have started their own entrepreneurial ventures. Many have risen to top positions in their fields. This visa facility for our graduates is indeed a sign of our institute gaining an international reputation that is at par with other leading institutes and universities.”

Uber Partners with Pakistan Red Crescent Society to Promote Road

Uber Pakistan, the global smartphone app that seamlessly connects riders to drivers, to partner up with Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) with a core focus on road safety and first-aid training for its Driver Partners.

The Road Safety and First Aid is a flagship program of Pakistan Red Crescent Society planned for Uber runs under the guidelines and certification of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. These highly valued trainings ensure the effectiveness for saving lives at any minor to major accident(s), emergencies and/or disasters, whether you are at office, home or travelling. Moreover the certification is valid in 196 countries in the world. Driver Partners will be awarded participation certificates towards the end of the training.

Safety is paramount for all at Uber, which can be seen through various brand campaigns and initiatives held and taken over the years, including background checks, anonymization, SOS button and more, with a major focus on rider safety and welfare this year.

Omar Askari, Head of Business Development at Uber, said, “Safety is of paramount importance to Uber across all our operating cities. We will continue partnering with organizations like Pakistan Red Crescent Society to ensure our driver partners are aware of various safety protocols, which might come in handy during times of emergency.”

Talking about the partnership, Chairman Pakistan Red Crescent Society Dr. Saeed Elahi said” This venture marks as beginning of new era for introduction of Road Safety in Pakistan. Pakistan Red Crescent Society through its Movement Partner International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is a signatory of UN resolution on Road Safety and follows its universally acceptable guide-book for its efforts on training and awareness on Road Safety and First Aid.

He further added; “Pakistan Red Crescent and Uber have launched the first of its kind Digital Training on Road Safety and First Aid. This digital training will allow over thousands of Uber driver partners to be better informed and trained on Road Safety and First Aid.”

The need to focus on rider safety arose via Uber’s various marketing campaigns which led to the company’s search to find the best organization to help them with their cause. After much deliberation, PRCS was chosen.

Founded in 1947 under the Red Cross order, both the Red Crescent Movement and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) are the largest humanitarian organization in the world, with close to 97 million volunteers.

PRCS has been engaged in relief operations since its foundation few to mention are; distribution of relief items to refugees in 1947-48, exchange of 10 million family messages during and after the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, rehabilitation of flood victims in 1974, health relief for Afghan refugees in 1981, relief worth Rs. 6.7 billion were provided to over 3.4 million affectees of major earthquake in 2005. Between 2005 to 2017, PRCS responded to 28 major disasters in the country and provided relief to 11 million beneficiaries, worth Rs. 24.5 billion.

In the past years, Uber partnered up with ICRS as part of their Rasta Dein: “Give Way To Ambulance” Campaign as well as various blood donation campaigns and now, Uber will be partnering up with PRCS to continue this tradition.

PTCL named as ’Asia’s best operator’

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has won the award for ’Best Asian Operator’ at the Telecom Review Excellence Awards 2018 held at The Meydan Hotel in Dubai.

Dr. Daniel Ritz, President & CEO, PTCL, received the award on behalf of PTCL. The awards recognize industry leaders for their efficiency and hard work in 2018. Winners were chosen based on recognized and demonstrated capabilities in their specific sector by an independent panel of experienced industry veterans.

On the occasion, Dr. Daniel Ritz, President & CEO, PTCL, said “It is a great pleasure accepting this award, and I am proud of PTCL’s team who has made it possible for us to be recognized as Asia’s Best Operator. PTCL has taken strategic initiatives for building a customer service culture in the organization, along with innovation in its network. Through its Network Transformation Project, 100 exchanges are being upgraded across Pakistan that will positively impact customer experience.”

The organization has overall gone through a cultural transformation, with renewed focus on core values, gender diversity and empowerment of employees at the workplace. To drive business agility and efficiency, technological innovations, like cloud technology, have also been introduced for well-integrated systems throughout the country.

Being a national company, PTCL has taken numerous initiatives and conducts quarterly activities in different regions across Pakistan under its Corporate Social Responsibility Program.

PSX-CMK BIKE RIDE for saving and investing value begins

Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) and Critical Mass Karachi (CMK) collaborated for a bike ride that started from Clifton and passed through the business district of Karachi. They visited business landmarks and made a stop at PSX. At PSX, they received a warm welcome where they visited the trading hall of the Exchange and had breakfast. During this stop, the CMK participants interacted with PSX management.

Critical Mass Karachi has been at the forefront of promoting a positive image of Pakistan, here and abroad, through social media. The CMK cyclists comprised of more than 200 individuals, many of whom are corporate professionals, doctors, architects, engineers, and business owners.

The purpose of the event was to highlight the importance of saving and investing on PSX as the prime investment avenue for investors, local and foreign. The effort was to bring to focus the need to invest in Pakistan for the progress and prosperity of the country’s economy.

The Managing Director of Pakistan Stock Exchange, Mr. Richard Morin, addressed the participants and informed them that PSX is at the forefront of serving investors and helping companies to grow. Mr. Morin encouraged members of CMK to take part in investing on the Stock Exchange as the KSE 100 Index has historically provided attractive returns as compared to other asset classes over the last decade. He added that investing in the stock market will be financially beneficial for them in the longer term and would also help build Pakistan’s economy. He drew a parallel between the benefits of cycling for their health with the benefits of saving and investing for their financial health and future. He emphasised that as they invest in their health, they also need to invest in their country, through its capital market, for a brighter future for themselves, their families, and their country.

The cyclists interacted with PSX management asking them questions about the stock market and the market trend going forward. They expressed their pleasure at the arrangements and appreciated the efforts of PSX in collaboration with CMK administration to have held the bike ride through the business district of Karachi. The PSX team thanked CMK cyclists for their participation and recommended them to play their part to help build a prosperous Pakistan, using their slogan for the event: Invest in Pakistan – Invest on PSX!

Karandaaz FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2018 concludes

Karandaaz Pakistan announced ’Matilda Solutions’, ’Love for Data’, and ’AgriMart, as the winners of its third round of annual FinTech Disrupt Challenge after a close competition between 16 extraordinary technology startups with ideas for financial inclusion.

The three outstanding FinTechs will each receive a funding up to $100,000 from Karandaaz to implement their ideas. The pitch round for the Karandaaz FinTech Disrupt Challenge 2018 was judged by panel comprised of Mr. Khurram Zafar, Director 47 ventures; Rabeel Warraich, Founder and CEO, Sarmayacar; Sameer Chishty, Venture Partner, SparksLab Global; Shahid Mustafa, President and CEO, Telenor Microfinance Bank; and Dr. Ayseha K. Khan, Country Director, Acumen.

Speaking to the startups, CEO Karandaaz Pakistan, Ali Sarfraz said, “I extend my heartiest felicitations to the winning teams of this years’ disrupt challenge, FinTech Factory, will be able to break the glass, This new breed of startups trying to disrupt the financial technology space in Pakistan will go a long way in transforming the country’s financial service landscape and usher in greater inclusion and convenience for underserved communities.”

Speaking at the occasion, Michael Weigand, Director of the Financial Services for the Poor program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, “About 1.7 billion people worldwide are still excluded from formal financial services. The foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor program works to broaden the reach of low-cost digital financial services for the poor.

The Fintech Disrupt Challenge is an extension of Karandaaz Pakistan’s has financial and institutional support from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

IBA Hold Seminar on WB reports

A Glass Half Full: The Promise of Regional Trade in South Asia

A seminar was held at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi for the launch of the World Bank’s report titled A Glass Half Full: The Promise of Regional Trade in South Asia. The World Bank’s Lead Economist and Coordinator, South Asia Regional Integration, in the Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice, Mr. Sanjay Kathuria gave a presentation on the report followed by a panel discussion. The panel comprised of Mr. Kathuria, Associate Dean IBA and an International Relations Expert, Dr. Huma Baqai and President of Employers’ Federation of Pakistan Mr. Majyd Aziz. The seminar was attended by students, members of faculty, alumni and public.

Mr. Kathuria started the presentation by first asking the audience about their views on the purpose of trade. Later, he observed that the purpose of trade should be to maximize overall welfare of the economy. He stated that South Asia has the most rapidly growing and dynamic market for trade with great potential but unfortunately it is also the most non-cooperative region in the world. South Asian countries have greatly negated the benefits of proximity whereby regional trade constituting only 1% of their combined GDP. Major reasons for this dismal performance are lack of mutual trust, price discrimination, trade barriers in the form of rigid custom procedures and tariffs.

Mr. Kathuria also underlined shortcomings of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) which undermine negotiations by not bringing Para-Tariffs on the concessionary table. He also highlighted the perceived barriers to trade namely asymmetric information and inadequate capacity to ensure and certify for export quality standards, as well as the real barriers namely unaccommodating border infrastructure, limited entry and exit points, custom restrictions and absence of means of electronic data exchange.

To improve regional integration, Mr. Kathuria suggested greater land and air connectivity and border markets to improve cross border relations and trust development. Instead of political situations determining trade, it must be trade that should be leading politics.

Later, Mr. Aziz commented that trade between India and Pakistan can be improved through establishment of formal economic zones, signing a charter of trade focusing on removal of trade barriers and initiating confidence building measures. He stressed that expansion of Indo-Pak trade can be a real game changer.

Dr. Baqai observed that the major responsibility for improving regional trade in South Asia lies with India, by being the largest regional market accounting for 80% of regional trade. She stressed that India must initiate trade negotiations and Pakistan must reciprocate as it has no option but to opt for greater economic integration to improve its economic condition.

The seminar was concluded by Mr. Kathuria by restating his vision for a direct trade route from Kabul to Dhaka.

BMP Leaders stress on need for early remedy to business community to help meet debt burden

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 in the backdrop of uncertain economic outlook of the Country, Moody’s the New York based international credit rating agency has reaffirmed B-3 negative rating of Pakistan and declared it as an uncompetitive country in the global perspective. According to the report, the increasing current account deficit has reduced the foreign exchange reserves which cannot be restored to stability unless capital inflows get increased in the short run.

Leaders of the Businessmen Panel said that the current debts of the Country has been accumulated to 72 percent of the real GDP which is higher than the median 52 percent; it is expected that the debt burden may further rise to 76 percent in the fiscal year 2020.

BMP Leaders said that despite all these challenges, the country’s long term economic prospects have been considered as robust, due to the development work carried out in the fields of energy, infrastructure and national security especially under the CPEC which is helpful for Pakistan to deal with the growth potential and economic challenges being faced. If the PTI led government successfully implemented the organizational reforms policies, the state institutions will be strengthen, State Bank will be more autonomous and the fiscal policies will effectively led Pakistan to prosperity.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that in addition to policy making and institutional reforms, the government needs to implement its initiative in true letter and spirit. The gas closure to industrial sector is a destructive measure, which if not resolved at the earliest may damage the industrial sector severely. Scarcity in the local industrial production will lead the country to higher reliance on imports thus inflation will further increase. The government to restore instant supply of gas to the industrial sector and both electricity and gas should be provided on competitive prices as of the regional countries, delay in restoring utilities to industries is a serious threat to the national economy.

Allauddin Marri said that the inflation rate as per the state bank for October 2018 was recorded as 6.8 percent which is further on rise. Market indicators predict that it will reach to double digit in the coming months. USD has risen by Rs. 18 in the five months of current fiscal year, which has increased the debt burden by Rs. 54 billion. The uncertain stock market situation is troublesome for the investors shaking their confidence. In first week of December KSE has dropped by 2100 points causing billions of losses to investors. All these facts need to be considered and early remedy should be provided so that investors and the business community may take sigh of relief and the economy get on the right track.

Decision of gas closure to industrial sector will cause unbearable losses to industry and national economy: Mian Zahid Hussain

Government should take immediate measures for uninterrupted gas supply to all industries: Allauddin Marri

FPCCI’s criminal silence is unforgivable: Zakaria Usman

Businessmen Panel Pakistan’s Senior Vice Chairman and Former Provincial Minister Sindh, Mian Zahid Hussain, Presidential candidate of BMP, Former Chief Minister Balochistan Allauddin Marri and Chairman Sindh Zakaria Usman while talking to the Business Community said that the business community has raised voice and showed serious concerns over the notice of SSGC regarding closure of gas to the industries for three months in the winter season. Despite assurance of the Prime Minister Imran Khan and Finance Minister Asad Umar to various delegations of business community regarding reversal of gas closure decision, the SSGC has again decided to close gas supply to the industrial sector, which is very discouraging.

Leaders of the Businessmen Panel said that over one thousand industrial units of Karachi are not only providing employment to thousands of people but also contribute millions of rupees to the national exchequer in term of taxes and earn huge amount of foreign reserves against exports. Natural gas is the only option available to the captive power industries for their production and operations given to non availability of uninterrupted power supply from the K-Electric and high cost of diesel generators as it costs Rs. 26 per unit higher than that of the natural gas. Cost of doing business becomes unbearable to the industrial sector if they use diesel generators instead of gas. The decision of closure of gas should be immediately reversed, else thousands of people will be left unemployed in addition to million of losses to the national exchequer and foreign reserves. Trade deficit has already reached to $ 15 billion in the first five months of current fiscal year will further worsen.

BMP Leaders said that if the decision of gas closure has not been reverted, the industrial production will see huge reduction which will further increase the already rising inflation in the country in the backdrop of unstable USD and will equally affect trade, industry and the general public. Though government is adopting industrial friendly policies, but hurdles in implementing such policies should be addressed and resolved. On one hand, the export sector has been given incentives for increased exports, but on the other hand gas has been closed to the industrial sector, which is drastic for the country’s industry and against the vision of the current government.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that to cover the demand supply gap of gas, the government should increase import of LNG and as decided in the ECC meeting in November the proposed 150 – 200 MMCFD LNG should be included in the system to avoid load shedding of gas to the industrial sector, so that this important part of the economy can play its role in the economic growth of the Country and the industrial sector may further grow.

Allauddin Marri said that the business community will never accept any measure causing loss to the industrial sector and request the competent authorities to take immediate measures for uninterrupted gas supply to the industrial sector and revert the notice of gas closure being issued to general and captive power industries by the SSGC.

Zakaria Usman said that the criminal silence of the FPCCI on various issues of the business community including closure of gas to the industrial sector is unforgiveable. Gas closure to general and captive power industries will cause unbearable damage to the industrial sector and national economy.

BankIslami partners with Jubilee Life to introduce Referral Model for Takaful Sale

BankIslami, one of the leading Islamic banks of Pakistan, recently signed the Referral Model agreement with Jubilee Life – Window Takaful Operations, the country’s leading life insurance and Takaful operator. The agreement was signed at a ceremony held at BankIslami head office to commemorate the partnership aimed at expanding Islamic banking in the market. Senior management and representatives of both the organizations were present at the ceremony where by Mr. Syed Amir Ali, President and CEO, BankIslami and Mr. Javed Ahmed, Managing Director & CEO Jubilee Life duly signed the agreement to mark this collaboration.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Amir Ali said, “Ever since our establishment since 2004, our mission has been to create value for our stakeholders by offering authentic, Shariah compliant and technologically advanced products and services. I am confident that this alliance will facilitate our customers to the fullest with a one window Takaful solution via our branch network which is spread across Pakistan.”

Mr. Ahmed said: “Bancatakaful has proved to be a highly successful model to enhance the Takaful segment in Pakistan and has achieved phenomenal growth in a short span of time. With the introduction of this referral model, we are confident that this collaboration with BankIslami will help grow new opportunities and provide top quality service to strengthen our customers’ confidence in both the organizations.”

ACCA and SDPI hold a dialogue on sustainable development in Pakistan

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) collaborated to bring together lawmakers to share their views on “The way forward for sustainable development in Pakistan”, at the 21st Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) in Islamabad.

The 21st SDC not only deliberated the economic corridor, but also other corridors of connectivity and knowledge, that can steer towards peace and development. Looking at the emerging global trends, countries are embarking on following policies that positively impact the future of various multilateral trade agreements, global solidarity, social policy, trade and development.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri – Executive Director SDPI and Sajjeed Aslam – Head ACCA Pakistan stressed that “Through learning and sharing experiences of professionals working in policy, business and finance, we can continue to strengthen our knowledge platform and its on-going mission of activating the professionals to play their part in building the economy of the future. Effective assessment and communication of progress made will be vital towards achieving new benchmarks and building a more sustainable future. This is a timely conversation to assess the best practices and learn from an interconnected global network of professionals and policy-makers.”

During the conference the honourable lawmakers emphasized the need for building a long-term robust economic model for Pakistan, new collaborative partnerships need to be established on knowledge sharing and building bridges. This region’s future lies in strategic policies that are demographically inclusive.

The Conference dedicated various sessions on key issues such as poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, environment and social justice and many more overlapping sub-themes relevant to Pakistan and other countries.

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