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Economic situation has improved by policies of PTI govt: Mian Zahid

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 Wednesday said that according to SBP quarterly report of FY 2019, both agriculture and industrial sector underperformed against expectations. Yields of all major crops in Kharif season were lower and land under cultivation has reduced by 7.7 percent due to water constraints in Sindh and increase in urea prices.

The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that LSM contracted by 1.7 percent against growth of 9.9 percent in the same period of last fiscal year. With imposition of ban on property and car purchases by non-filers and cut in PSDP spending by government performance of construction and manufacturing sectors has declined on annual basis. Trade, services and transport sectors may experience underperformance due to worst industrial standings and reduced imports. Current expenses have increased by Rs100 billion to Rs542 billion given to loans return and defence expenses.

The former minister said that tax revenue has declined by 11 percent due to reduction of GST on petroleum products and slower economic activities while non tax revenue has increased by 12 percent. Reduction in development expenditure reduced development growth to 11 percent from that of 13 percent. Provincial current expenditure has increased by 22 percent. Government loan has reached to Rs25.8 trillion in the end of first quarter of FY 2019 which was Rs25 billion at the end of FY 2018.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that textile exports could not be increased due to decline in global prices and growth has reduced to 4 percent from two digits, however, food sector exports have been increased by 29 percent due to sugar and wheat. Non energy imports have reduced by 19 percent due to reduction in PSDP and completion of some of CPEC projects, however, its impact has been null due to increase in energy sector imports and trade deficit has increased by 7 percent on annual basis.

He said that SBP estimated GDP for the FY 2019 at 4-4.5 percent despite the target of 6.2, inflation despite target of 6 percent may reach to 7.5 percent, fiscal deficit may reach to 6.5 percent against target of 5 percent and current account deficit may reach to 5.5 percent against 4 percent target.

He said that financial assistance from friendly countries like Saudi Arabia, China and UAE has eased the pressure of foreign reserves and reduced economic uncertainty. Government measures like reduction in tariff of gas and electricity, duties on raw material and promissory bonds against refunds of exporters will help the export sector. Abolishing ban for non filers on purchase of cars up to 1300 CC will better the LSM sector growth. Reduction in price of Urea by Rs. 200 per bag will improve agriculture yields and measures for tourism development will also support economic stability.

Zong 4G celebrates 10 Years of Excellence

Zong 4G, Pakistan’s No.1 Data Network commemorated ì10 years of Excellence”. The event was attended by Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, His Excellency, Mr. Yao Jin, the Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan and Maj Gen (Retd) Amir Azeem Bajwa, Chairman, Pakistan Telecommunications Authority along with dignitaries from various government entities, telecom industry and the corporate sector.

Over the years, through seamless integration of digital into the lifestyles of millions of Pakistanis, Zong 4G has been at the forefront of digital innovation and revolution across the country. The company has been a telecommunication network pioneer and a market leader, delivering on the many firsts of the industry. Being the first to launch 4G in Pakistan, first to cross the prolific mark of 10,000+ 4G towers and the first to reach the more 10 million 4G customers mark.

Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, said, “Zong 4G has been a significant player in creating a digital ecosystem in Pakistan. Through its continued investments in the telecommunication infrastructure, the company has played a pivotal role in the uplift of the industry.” He further added, “The Government of Pakistan remains committed towards the advancement of ICT led development and creating a knowledge based economy.”

Entering into a series of partnerships with Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Wateen and SCO, the company is geared up to meet the digital needs of the customers through its unwavering resolve for the development of telecommunication infrastructure in Pakistan.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Wang Hua, Chairman and CEO of Zong 4G, said, “Through these strategic ventures, we will leverage our partners’ expertise to accelerate our growth, strengthen our network and deepen the engagement with our customers while driving higher efficiency in our company. With VoLTE readiness we will ensure that our customers are empowered with an unprecedented connectivity experience.”

Sharing the optimism of Zong 4G’s connectivity services, Pakistan Telecommunications Authority reiterated Pakistan’s No.1 Data Network’s commitment for excellence in customer service with a recognition. The event also credited its prized customers for its success in Pakistan’s digital transformation and thanked the 10 million 4G customers for being a part of the Zong 4G family.

“Customers are at the core of everything we do. By adopting state of art technologies in telecom arena, our pursuit for excellence for our customers, is driving the company to take adequate measures to keep a consistent pace with the unfolding demands of modernised digitisation.” He continued.

Zong 4G’s commitment to excellence and the digital progress for the country will continue to empower millions of Pakistanis through the most advanced digital services and solutions.

Sprite announces historic partnership with 4 PSL teams

Sprite, the world’s leading lemon-lime flavored soft drink, is bringing its crisp, thirst-quenching taste to the 4th edition of the Pakistan Super League, by partnering with four franchises in the tournament, namely Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators, Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi. Pakistan Super League 2019 is scheduled to be played from 14th February till 17th March 2019, with a total of 34 matches, out of which 8 matches will be played in Pakistan.

The historic partnership was announced at a press conference in Karachi. The event was opened with a recitation from the Holy Quran followed by the Coke Studio rendition of the National Anthem. Hosted by Anoushay Ashraf, this was followed by media addresses from Mr. Abbas Arslan, Marketing Director Coca-Cola Pakistan & Afghanistan, Mr. Shoaib Naveed from Islamabad United, Mr. Zaheer Abbas from Peshawar Zalmi, Mr. Wasim Akram and Mr. Tariq Wasi from Karachi Kings, Mr. Nadeem Omar from Quetta Gladiators and Mr. Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager, Coca-Cola, Pakistan & Afghanistan Region who spoke about Coca-Cola & Sports, what it means to Sprite and Pakistan Super League team franchises to join hands and Coca-Cola’s efforts towards inspiring youth of Pakistan. Also in attendance was the spokesperson for Sprite and Sports Anchor, Zainab Abbas.

Through this partnership with 4 teams of Pakistan Super League 2019, Sprite will be reasserting the philosophy of The Coca-Cola Company to support sporting activities and promote youth interests through passion points. Cricket remains perhaps the biggest passion point for all Pakistanis across all segments of the society. Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager of The Coca-Cola Company, Pakistan & Afghanistan Region, stated “The Pakistani identity and the narrative of cultural patriotism and emotional harmony are so deeply embedded within cricket; it seemed a natural fit to unveil this partnership which will go a long way in portraying the soft image of Pakistan”

The Coca-Cola Company has always been the pioneer in taking initiatives that resonate deeply with the youth and which support their development be it sport, music or education. It firmly believes in the power of the young generation of the country. Cricket is not only the favourite sport in Pakistan but also a key platform for self-expression for the youth, connecting them beyond social and cultural boundaries

Pakistan Super League has become the largest platform in fostering cricket talent in Pakistan. It has materialized dreams of many promising Pakistani cricketers to become cricketing stars and has also elevated the image of Pakistani cricket internationally. Sprite promises to make this year’s PSL even more exciting for the fans through a comprehensive engagement with them, to amplify the experience for fans around the globe.

Shell Pakistan re-launches 3 retail fuel sites in Lahore

Shell Pakistan re-launched three retail fuel sites, located in the Liberty, Garden Town and Iqbal Town areas of Lahore. These company-owned retail fuel sites will ensure that the consumers refueling their vehicles will be provided top of the line services.

In a pursuit to enhance the customer-experiences, Shell Pakistan is dedicated to transforming their outlook. These new sites promise operational-excellence, inspiring customers to make these fuel sites a routine in their life.

Along with finding sustainable solutions to empower the modern-day consumers, Shell Pakistan is creating fresh revenue streams, to fuel the economy with its strong credibility and a deep understanding of the consumers’ evolving needs. Such initiatives are helping the company further enhance the quality and features of their products and services, while offering competitive prices.

Etisalat sets new record as the first and only middle east brand portfolio to break $10bn brand value barrier

Etisalat has been declared as ’The Most Valuable Portfolio Brand’ in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent brand business valuation and strategy consultancy. The recognition is for the company’s impressive portfolio of brands becoming the first Middle East group to surpass some of the finest MENA brands across the telecom, aviation and FMCG sectors to break the $10 billion barrier in terms of wider portfolio value.

Etisalat boasts of a portfolio of brands, i.e. Etisalat UAE, Etisalat Misr, PTCL, Ufone, Mobily, Maroc Telecom and Etisalat Afghanistan. In 2018, Brand Finance declared PTCL as the fastest growing brand in Pakistan, with a brand value of USD 119M. Both PTCL and Ufone contributed to the current Etisalat’s brand portfolio value.

PTCL is the leading telecom operator in Pakistan providing a vast array of telecommunication services forretail, corporate and other telecom operators. The company has also embarked upon a massive upgradation of its top 100 exchanges under the Network Transformation Project across Pakistan. These upgraded exchanges will be able to provide speeds up to 100mbps to customers in those areas.

Etisalat has seen an 8 percent growth since last year reigning as the most valuable portfolio brand. Not only this, Etisalat retained its position as the Most Valuable Consumer Brand in MENA for the second consecutive year, as wellas its position as the Most Valuable Telecom Brand in MENA also for second consecutive year.

On the occasion, Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, CEO, Etisalat Group, said, “We are proud to achieve the recognition as the most valuable portfolio brand and the first Middle Eastern brand to break the $10 billion barrier in terms of wider portfolio value in the MENA region. Thanks to the UAE leadership’s support, vision and encouragement that helped Etisalat achieve this significant milestone surpassing some of the top renowned regional brands. This achievement is also due to our continuous efforts in digital transformation whereby we have amplified our reach and presence in a highly competitive marketplace by investing in new digital platforms and global brand building initiatives. Etisalat’s success as a brand was also reinforced by the synergy of operating companies across our footprint, creating brand loyalty and enhanced engagement with our customers.”

David Haigh, CEO Brand Finance, said: “It is a real testament to the leadership of the UAE that Emirati brands are leading the charge for the Middle East, amongst the world’s most valuable brands. As celebrations for the ’Year of Zayed’ wrap up, we recognize the achievements, will and determination of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”

Recently, PTCL has been assigned initial long-term entity rating of ’AAA’ (Triple A) and short-term rating of ’A-1+’ (A-One Plus) by JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (JCR-VIS). The assigned ratings reflect PTCL’s leading market position, extensive network infrastructure, strong financial risk profile and adequate business risk profile.

Pakistan Cables wins 11th NFEH corporate social responsibility award

Pakistan Cables Ltd. was awarded the 11th NFEH CSR Award 2018 at the 11th Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Awards organized by the National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) at a local hotel, Islamabad. Honorable President of Pakistan, Mr. Arif Alvi, was the Chief Guest at the ceremony. Pakistan’s 55 most prestigious companies with significant contribution to social development through different remarkable projects and activities were given awards.

President Azaad Jammu and Kashimir Sardar Masood Khan conferred the award to Mr. Fuzail Ahmed, Regional Sales Manager North, Pakistan Cables. The CSR Award is the Company’s first local award recognizing its continued efforts in supporting social causes for upliftment of society. The Company has a history of supporting philanthropic initiatives. Pakistan Cables CSR areas of interests include environment protection, education, health and women’s upliftment in society.

“We are extremely delighted for being recognized as one of the leading companies of Pakistan with respect to our continued contribution towards corporate social responsibility. It is our responsibility as a corporate citizen of Pakistan to contribute and give back to the communities we have proudly served for 65 years”, commented Mr. Kamal Chinoy Chief Executive Pakistan Limited.

M. Naeem Quershi, President NFEH said the 11th CSR Summit and Awards is organized to pay tribute to dignitaries and legends of our country who made an exceptional difference in the service of humanity which is not only example for people of Pakistan but for the whole world.

Gandapur lauds NBP’s role in elevating image, tourism of Pakistan

Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur lauded the role of National Bank of Pakistan in elevating image and tourism of Pakistan. He said that the NBP’s efforts are part of the government’s strategy to promote positive image and tourism of Pakistan.

He stated this on Wednesday as Chief Guest at the signing ceremony of a MoU between the National Bank of Pakistan and Trek Pakistan to elevate image of Pakistan within the country and at international level. Karim Akram Khan, Group Head NBP Logistics, Adnan Afaq, Co-Creator of Pakistan Trek and others participated in this MoU signing ceremony that was arranged at the new regional office of NBP in Islamabad.

Federal Minister also pointed out that Tourism Police is being established to give security to the tourists that would help in promoting tourism and winning confidence of the tourists. He said that initially the Tourism Police is being started from Gilgit-Baltistan and later on it will be expanded to other parts of the country that have enormous potential of growth in tourism.

He said that the government would develop roads in tourists hot-spots in the country to attract more and more tourists. He pointed out that this year the number of tourists to KPK and Gilgit Baltistan will increase to two million because of initiatives being taken by the government to promote tourism in the country. He also urged the NBP to offer financial assistance to people in GB who are engaged in promotion of tourism to enable them to earn money, promote tourism and economic activity as well.

Earlier, the Group Head of Logistics of NBP Karim Akram Khan said that the topmost priority of the President of National Bank of Pakistan Mr Tariq Jamali is to promote image of Pakistan in the country and abroad. He said that concerted efforts should be made to show to beauty and positive image of Pakistan abroad. He said that people to people contact is essential to highlight the real image of Pakistan. He said that NBP is the largest public sector bank in Pakistan and it is geared to support the government’s initiatives to encourage in-ward tourism into the country. With its expansive outreach across the length of Pakistan and a management that is personally motivated to build a positive image of the country, National Bank is well positioned to provide support to such initiatives.

Meanwhile, Adnan Afaq, Co-Creator of the Pakistan Trek said that NBP and Route16 have signed a Memorandum of Understanding today to improve the global image of the country. Route16, under the banner of Pakistan Trek, is inviting students from world’s top universities to visit Pakistan to see the true culture, beauty here with the aim to change the narrative of the country.

He pointed out that Pakistan Trek has been able to provide an insider’s view to more than 100 students over the last three years. Through short-term visits to Pakistan, current and emerging thought leaders are exposes to a variety of experiences firsthand and provided the opportunity to cultivate last relationships with their Pakistani counterparts. Pakistan Trek allows the students to build an understanding of the geopolitical nature of the country and its trials and tribulations.

NBP, becomes consortium member & settlement bank for Mobi-Direct’s digital payment switch

The National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), in continuation of the two MoU’s signed with Mobi Direct in August 2018 has now signed a final agreement enabling it to become a consortium member and settlement bank for Mobi Direct’s digital payment switch. As a consortium member National Bank of Pakistan will be able to use Mobi Direct payment processing and transactions switching infrastructure and shared agent network for promoting nationwide branchless banking services to provide real growth to unbanked segment of population.

Under the signed agreement NBP will act as a “Settlement Bank” for Mobi Direct’s digital payment system and for its Member Institutions (consortium members) and other stake holders like utility Cos, Public Institutions Telcos etc.

Mr. Tariq Jamali, President NBP on the occasion said that NBP would become a leading player in Pakistan’s Digital. He believes that this initiative is in line with NBP’s ambition to enhance the financial penetration in the country and is in line with the vision of State Bank of Pakistan for highlighting digital payments environment in Pakistan. He emphasized on achieving complete E- governance through this partnership which is the key to success for all types of businesses. The NBP is assisting all the provincial governments in digitalizing their various payments, fee and taxes collection systems. He mentioned that the NBP has already inked MoUs and agreements with various provincial and federal departments for digitally collecting their fee and payments including Directorate General of Immigration & Passports, Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment, Public Service Commission KPK, Islamabad Traffic Police, Driving License Sindh and Dealer Vehicle Registration System (DVRS) and collection of e- Tax in Punjab.

Mr. Tariq Jamali further stated that after signing this agreement and other arrangements with Mobi Direct, NBP will be able to use the Mobi Direct payment processing and transactions switching infrastructure, online payment gateway and shared agent network for promoting nationwide branchless banking and digital payments services to provide real growth to unbanked segment of population.

NBP is working on developing systems for digitization of all G2P & P2G payments. NBP is playing a leading role in enhancing the financial inclusion by aligning with digital banking revolution in Pakistan. This will help in promoting Alternate Delivery Channels and enabling the right environment for inclusive growth and achieve the goal of financial inclusion.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Nawid Ahsan, Chairman, Mobi Direct, expressed his gratitude to NBP’s team, which is taking a lead in becoming the settlement bank for Mobi-Direct payment processing & digital payment switch with a forward- looking approach in this collaboration. Mobi Direct being the leading PSO/PSP, Mr. Ahsan also showed his firm commitment that Banking Industry will take Pakistan to a new digital era, by partnering with PSO/PSPs. He said that the focus should be to work on the improvement and enhancement of both the rural and urban economy of Pakistan with the help of technology and make banking services affordable while being accessible for every citizen of Pakistan.

The agreement was signed by Muhammad Farooq, EVP/Group Head, Payment Services & Digital Banking Group, NBP and Mr. S. M Arif Director/Chief Business Architect Mobi Direct in presence of dignitaries from both sides.

Mobi Direct (Pvt.) Limited is a State Bank of Pakistan licensed Payment Service Operator/Payment Service Provider (PSO/PSP) formed with the help of select group of professionals having expertise in diversified businesses, with the objective of assisting in developing an eco-system for digital payments and e- commerce which is not only enabling fulfillment of the digital banking needs of the banked populace but is also playing a significant role in the financial inclusion of the unbanked population especially in the rural economy.

Mobi Direct wants to empower every Pakistani to have the convenience of payment at their fingertips, enabling financial institutions and consumers to enjoy online payment facilities leveraging existing technology and telecom infrastructure plus adding vital components of technology and distribution network to meet the goals of digitization of the players in the economy.

Mobi direct’ five distinct businesses are all associated with technology based financial services: Payment Gateway Services (Internet E-commerce Services) & Shared POS Acquiring Infrastructure for Banks to use Mobi Direct Infrastructure as Member Banks for which Company has installed Payment Gateway and Hosting Infrastructure for the first time in Pakistan. Prominent features of Mobi Direct are; ï Shared Agent Distribution Network for Banks already having Branchless Banking Licenses ï Mobile Payment (Interoperable) SWITCH, allowing payment services for Mobile and Branchless Banking.

• Processing Facilities for Banking and Non-banking Institutions.

• Lite Retail infrastructure will further facilitate capturing of Micro Payments using mobile penetration making payments truly digital.

Govt, business community must push up Pakistan-France bilateral trade

France can get benefit of better investment outlook and policies of Pakistan, says: 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 Friday said that Pakistan shares close and old bilateral relations with France in different areas of interest including security, defence, science and technology and trade and economy. EU is the biggest export destination for Pakistan with 34 percent share Pakistan’s exports, however as per 2016, France share in total exports was just 5 percent while imports to Pakistan were less than 1 percent. Despite potential of $2.7 billion, Pakistan could export only $143 million while imports from France were only $6 million despite huge potential of approximately $10 billion.

The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that export commodities to France include textile & leather products, instruments used in medical, surgical or veterinary sciences, vaccines for medicine, dairy products and import products from France includes medium oils, light oils, telephones and mobile sets, scrap of steel and vehicles. Bilateral trade of Pakistan-France stood at euro 1.4 billion in 2017, however, huge growth potential is available. Export sector can increase exports to France through realizing huge potential market.

The former minister said that over 185 French companies are members of the Pakistan-France Business Alliance out of which 32 French companies, are represented in key sectors of the Pakistani economy including energy, transport, public works, civil engineering, environment, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and non-banking services.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that in the light of better investment opportunities, easy government policies and comfortable environment French companies can further increase investment in several new and existing sectors including renewable energy, tourism, hospitality and dams, etc. Recently in the backdrop of easing visa policy by the current government where on arrival visa has offered to 50 countries, online visa to 175 countries and business visa to 68 countries. France has been offered with the business visa and Pakistani nationality without surrendering the French nationality which is an additional benefit to French traders and investors. All Greenfield investment has been exempted from RD on import of plants and machinery and GST for five years, which is a benefit for all foreign investors.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistani traders should come forward to learn French which is official language of 34 countries for improving opportunities of bilateral trade. Opportunities lie in various areas of Pakistan including human resource, minerals and agriculture sectors and the country possesses exceptional raw material for investment and has distinguished position in regional countries. Single country exhibitions and trade visits should be increased to strengthen bilateral trade between the countries.


JS Bank Shortlisted in GSMA Global Mobile Awards 2019

Proving that Pakistan is not lagging on the technology and innovation front, JS Bank, one of Pakistan’s leading banking institutions has been shortlisted for the GSMA Global Mobile Awards (GLOMO Awards) in the “Best Mobile Innovation for Payment and Fintech” category for its Digital Policing Initiative.

The GLOMO Awards honor the greatest achievements and innovations across the mobile industry, with 42 awards presented over 10 categories. Held in Spain, their objective is to spotlight the technological innovations helping to connect everyone and everything to a better future, from developments in 5G, to innovations, to start-ups and entrepreneurs that are dreaming up the next big thing.

With its focus on innovation and technology oriented financial solutions the Bank introduced its digital policing initiative in partnership with Islamabad Traffic Police. This innovative solution offers a suite of services in six categories including, digital traffic violation challan issuance, fee payments through mobile wallets, document management system, live monitoring of police official’s deployment, heat maps of traffic violations and live reconciliation of accounts.

Commenting on the achievement Noman Azhar, Head of Branchless Banking & Digital Implementation- JS Bank said that, “It is an honor to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award. JS Bank is the only Pakistani bank to have made it to the top 5 in any category this year. At JS Bank, we strive to be pioneers in digital technology which improves the lives of our fellow citizens. This achievement will further JS Bank’s commitment towards technological innovation and public facilitation.”

John Hoffman, CEO, GSMA Ltd, said: “The GLOMOs provide a world stage on which to celebrate the most inspirational and innovative developments across our industry, recognizing the companies and individuals leading the way in everything from 5G, to emerging markets, to intelligent connectivity.”

The Bank will be competing with multinational entities and it is a great achievement to have made it this far. JS Bank remains committed to providing unsurpassed services and offerings to its customers.

JS Bank partners with Hadron Solar for Solar Financing

Under the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) scheme of financing solutions for renewable energy, JS Bank has partnered with Hadron Solar for promoting solar panel funding for Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and homeowners as well as solar powered tube wells for farmers.

By joining hands, JS Bank and Hadron Solar seek to develop a framework for growth of shared values that will assist residential, agricultural and commercial endeavors. Using renewable energy, JS Bank clients can reduce electricity costs, reduce dependence on the national energy grid and protect the environment by utilizing non-polluting power generation sources. The loans are offered at a rebated mark-up rate of 6% flat.

Commenting on the occasion, Babbar Wajid, Business Head – Consumer Banking & Product Management JS Bank said, “Our alliance with Hadron Solar reflects our commitment towards use of alternate and renewable energy. Funding has been the key challenge for consumers, thus I’m very confident that our financing products will support customers in reducing their costs, grid dependence and consequently carbon footprint, for creating more sustainable future environments.”

Zafar Sobani, Chairman of Hadron Solar Board, commented positively regarding the prospects of the alliance, “We see an opportunity to help families and businesses lower their energy bills by improving their access to solar power sources. By partnering with JS Bank, Hadron Solar aims to expand the residential & commercial solar market by lowering the upfront investment.”

By undertaking such innovative and business building partnerships, JS Bank remains committed towards its role as a catalyst in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Pakistan.

Jazz brings Gurney’s ‘Love Letters’ to Lahore

Jazz, Pakistan’s leading digital communications company, has partnered with renowned director Hameed Haroon, to showcase a play called “Love Letters.” Written by Pulitzer-prize nominee A.R. Gurney, the play was performed by two world-class artists Rehana Saigol and Imran Aslam. The letter reading depicts a story of two people in love who write soulful letters to each other from their youth to their advanced years. Literature enthusiasts, as well as Jazz’s business partners came together to find solace in a lost art form.

Jazz is in its 25th year in Pakistan and has played a significant part in the digital revolution. To this end, the event also shed light on how communication has transformed over the years. This latest Jazz adaptation of the famous play is unique in a way that it transforms the age-old letter writing into digital social media conversations to depict a sharp contrast between communication, then and now. Increasingly, conversations have moved towards becoming less profound and more fleeting on the smart phone.

The actors, giants in their own right, sit side by side at their tables and read the love notes, letters and cards they had exchanged over 50 years. They discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats as they live apart, making separate experiences.

Through this unique take on the play, Jazz sought to convey the message of the importance of words and the craft of persuasion. “Hameed Haroon is one of Pakistan’s most inspiring intellectuals,” said Ali Naseer, Chief Corporate & Enterprise Officer at Jazz. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with him for an evening dedicated to enjoying great art, but also to remind people that digitalization can and should find a way to continue to connect people.”

Both actors shared their views, as well, where Rehana Saigol said, “Relationships are all about communicating. The difference between then and now is the incredible immediacy of modern communication.” while Imran Aslam stated, “Communication – now it’s sooner. Back then it was later.”

With about 200 people attending, the event concluded with a networking dinner. During the evening, guests visited a booth to send family and loved ones old-fashioned letters, digitally.

Visit Pakistan campaign will woo trade and tourism, says Mian Zahid

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 current government is realising the untapped potential of tourism of the country. By easing the visa policy more tourists and traders will come to the country. Despite huge potential, tourism sector contributes to only 3 percent of the GDP which is approx $8 billion and it is expected that it will grow to $10 billion till 2025.

The veteran business leader while talking to the business community said that Malaysia has only beach tourism and its tourism industry is comprised of $20 billion while Turkey has beach and historical tourism while its tourism sector stood around $40 billion. Pakistan has 700 KM long coastal belt, ancient civilization like Harrappa and Mohin Jo Daro, ancient civilized cities including Lahore, Multan and Peshawar. Taxila and Takht Bhai possess antiques of Buddhism which are sacred for its followers in Japan, China and other parts of the world. Several ancient temples are located in ancient cities like Peshawar where followers of Hinduism may be attracted. Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib are the most sacred places for Sikh community and in this regard government initiative of opening Kartarpur boarder will surely draw positive impacts. These places can be developed to promote historical, religious and beach tourism respectively in the country.

The former minister said that Pakistan is destination of beautiful scenic mountains located in Gilgit Baltistan, Swat and Chitral, where adventurous tourism may be promoted. Pakistan’s campaign of visit Pakistan will promote soft image of Pakistan internationally and will help Pakistan in attracting tourists from across the globe. With improved law and order situation in the country, the future of tourism is safe and glorious. Easing the visa policy with facility of on arrival visa for 50 countries, business visa for 68 countries and e-visa for 175 countries in addition to abolishing the NOC condition for tourists will attract more tourists & trade, investment, employment and hotel industry will also flourish with tourism. More hotels will be required to build in order to facilitate the increased number of tourists.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that to develop the tourism sector, KPK government has taken the initiative of opening 20 new tourist destinations; sites have been identified in Chitral, Swat, Dir, Hazara and Tribal districts of the province. To develop basic infrastructure in these areas, negotiation for loan are undergoing with the World Bank. With new tourist destinations, both local and foreign tourists will attract. Other provinces including Sindh, Balochistan, and Punjab should also join hands with federal government to promote tourism in the country.

Indus Motor Company Receives CSR Award 2019

Indus Motor Company (IMC) has once again been recognized and honored for its humanitarian efforts and noteworthy contributions towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at the National Forum for Environment & Health’s (NFEH) 11th Annual CSR Awards 2019, held recently in Islamabad.

The category for which IMC was commended was ’Sustainability Initiatives.’ Recipients of the awards were some leading local and multinational firms of Pakistan, who are at the helm of CSR efforts in the country.

The accolade won by IMC is yet another milestone for the Company and is a testament of IMC’s endeavors to improve the lives of the people in its community and beyond.

IMC plays an active part in the socio-economic development within the country. This is reflected in its efforts focused on improving access to education and health services, partnering in clean-drives for ’sustainable city,’ implementing its Million Tree Plantation Program and running the Toyota-Technical Education Program that helps create employment opportunities for many youngsters. The Company regularly gives generous financial grants to various educational and health institutions in addition to scholarships.

Apart from this, Global Compact Network Pakistan has also conferred Business Sustainability Award to IMC in recognition of integrating the ten principles of United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and for embracing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr. Ali Asghar Jamali, Chief Executive Officer of IMC, said, “CSR is at the heart of IMC’s business operations. We are truly thrilled with this accomplishment which reaffirms our passion to touch the lives of the community we operate in. This award fortifies our ambition to build on our existing CSR efforts and serve as a model for others to emulate.”

As an active signatory of UNGC, IMC is committed to uphold and advance the SDGs via a dynamic range of activities and projects. The company has a dedicated policy that allocates 1% of the profit before tax of the previous year for CSR spending.

IBA and Saaya Health partner to provide mental health counseling

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi launched its new partnership with Saaya Health. Together, they will provide Online Mental Health Counselling services to IBA’s student body, as well as its staff and faculty. The IBA, Karachi launched its mental health counselling department over a year ago. Given the overwhelming response from students, and the demonstrated need for such services, the IBA took the step to supplement its existing services with Saaya Health’s solution. Students will login to Saaya Health’s exclusive online portal for the IBA, and schedule live video counselling sessions with Saaya Health’s dedicated team of mental health counsellors.

The online feature of Saaya Health gives students the option to access counselling from their home or university, and it offers them a greater range of time slots to choose from beyond the usual 9am-5pm. Research has shown that online counselling is just as effective as in person counselling. The exception is when there are crisis cases that require immediate intervention. For such cases students will be referred to in person professionals.

“Stress is a part of our lives. We must equip our students with the right tools to manage stress. Their well-being and their success is dependent on it,” said Director Human Resources Mr. Mashooque Bhatti, about the value of such initiatives at the launch event held at IBA’s main campus. The event consisted of an interactive workshop led by Saaya Health’s Co-founder, Alizeh Valjee, which focused on various techniques for stress management. It was attended by IBA’s students, staff and faculty, and involved them speaking about their individual experiences with stress.

Saaya Health is a Pakistani Tech start-up that provides online solutions geared towards well-being for companies and individuals. Saaya is founded and lead by a mental health professional, a tech entrepreneur, and a business strategist who have experience working in Pakistan, the Middle East and Scandinavia. Their portal can be accessed at www.saayahealth.com

FWBL conducts Hajj-2019 Balloting

Ms. Naushaba Shahzad President & CEO (Acting) First Women Bank Ltd. performed the computerized Hajj balloting at the Head Office in presence of the Executives and staff members of the Bank. Ms. Aisha Mahjabeen OG II Regional Office South and Mr. Ghulam SarwarDriver at Head Office Karachi were the lucky winners and would be privileged to perform Hajj this year.

FWBL has restartedHajj Balloting which was discontinued in 2015. The all expenses would be borne from the Staff Welfare Fund of the Bank.

On this occasion, Ms. Shahzad congratulated the lucky employees who were declared successful in the balloting and said that they were blessed by the Almighty Allah to perform “Fareezah Hajj”. She urged them to pray for the prosperity of the bank and the country while performing Hajj and visiting the holy places.

ACCA and IFAC launch global public financial management (PFM) series

At a time when public sector spending, government accountability and financial sustainability are in the spotlight, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IFAC (the International Federation of Accountants) are launching a global series that will identify, document and share success stories in public financial management.

Strong public financial management processes and systems are essential for effective and efficient delivery of public services, transparent public finances, and trust between government and citizens. ACCA and IFAC are keen to showcase how such strong systems make a difference when public sector spending is under intense scrutiny.

The series includes videos and written case studies, showcasing stories through their network of global experts. Public sector finance leaders from Tanzania, Australia and Canada have already shared their stories in videos which are available on ACCA’s website:


Alex Metcalfe, head of public sector policy at ACCA said: ’The aim of this research is to answer a number of fundamental questions about how public financial management is working now, and how it can operate in the future. We want to capture and share real stories of how public financial management improvements have made an immediate difference in the delivery of public services.’

Alta Prinsloo, IFAC Executive Director, added: “Strong public financial management impacts citizens and presents an opportunity for tangible change. Professional accountants have an essential role to play and we must leverage these case studies to continue making progress in the future.”

This research collaboration supports IFAC and ACCA’s work to build capacity in the public sector and to strengthen public financial management globally.

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