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Jazz business partners with VMware to provide best-in-class cloud services

Aimed at facilitating access to cloud-based business solutions; Jazz Business signed a partnership with VMware, Inc. a leading innovator in enterprise software. The partnership enables Jazz to provide current and prospective customers with the country’s largest seamless cloud platform that will catalyze future-forward innovations in an increasingly digitalized global economy.

In alignment with the National Digital Pakistan initiative; Jazz’s partnership with VMware will hasten the digitalization and transformation of businesses. Facilitating access to VMware’s cutting-edge cloud solutions, Jazz will offer businesses access to cost effective, reliable and locally hosted cloud. This shall include Virtual Machines, storage and auxiliary services all on an intuitive and modern user interface.

All these best-in-class services will be provided through a purpose built cloud platform called Djazz Data Park, which is the largest ICT Data Center in Pakistan. The 300+rack, 3MW facility is built on international standards of power usage effectiveness.

“This terrific new partnership comes right after President Trump and Prime Minister Khan committed us to developing the business ties between our countries, during the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington. There are lots of win-win opportunities for greater private sector collaboration, like this one we are celebrating today,” said the United States Ambassador to Pakistan Paul W. Jones, at the signing ceremony.

“This strategic venture with VMware allows on-demand delivery of computing power, database, storage, applications, and other IT resources via the internet, “said Syed Ali Naseer, Chief Corporate & Enterprise Officer at Jazz. “Now we can shift focus towards our business customers by leveraging on our strengths in mobile and digital technologies to provide 360 solutions to companies, which shall assist them in minimizing up-front IT infrastructure costs and ensure improved manageability and less maintenance.”

He further added, “Together we will accelerate our evolution and deepen engagement with startups, ecommerce companies and large organizations, while driving economic growth and adding jobs through new data centers.”

“The availability of VMware’s industry leading cloud solutions will accelerate the digital transformation of Pakistani enterprises, providing a strong impetus for the country’s growing digital economy. As the government, ICT providers and organizations rally together to develop the country’s digital capabilities through initiatives like Digital Pakistan, VMware stands ready to support the digitalization of Pakistan’s digital economy. Our partnership with Jazz will not only inspire and supercharge next-generation innovation among local enterprises, but also open the door for them to be part of the global digital economy,” said Ahsan Khan, Country Manager – Pakistan, VMware.

Backed by Jazz’s countrywide mobile network, Jazz Business’s vision is to pave the way towards a connected world by providing innovative, fine-tuned business applications and intelligent digital solutions. Helping businesses – from startups, SMEs and large enterprises – operate more efficiently, collaborate more effectively, and connect better with their customers, Jazz Business aims at enabling business growth.

Standard Chartered Pakistan announces h1 2019 results

Overall revenue increased by 36 percent; Profit before Tax of Rs12.9 billion

Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited last week announced its H1 Results for 2019. The Bank performed exceptionally well in H1 2019 and delivered a Profit before tax of PKR12.9 billion. This is 52 percent higher than corresponding period last year.

Overall revenue growth was 36 percent, whereas client revenue increased by 25 percent year on year with strong contribution from transaction banking, corporate finance, treasury markets and retail products. In-country operating expenses decreased by 4 percent year-on-year on account of spending, mainly in the Bank’s products, services and people to grow the franchise.

All businesses have positive momentum in client income with strong growth in underlying drivers. This is also evident from the pickup in net advances which have grown by 12 percent since the start of this year. This was the result of a targeted strategy to build profitable, high quality and sustainable portfolios. With a diversified product base, the Bank is well positioned to cater for the needs of its clients.

On the liabilities side, the Bank’s deposits grew by 3 percent, whereas current and saving accounts grew by 4 percent since the start of this year and are now 95 percent of the deposits base. The optimal funding structure of the balance sheet continues to support the Bank’s performance.

The optimal funding structure and repricing profile of the balance sheet continues to support the Bank’s performance.

Commenting on the results, Mr. Shazad Dada, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Limited said, “I am delighted to announce the First Half 2019 results. The Bank has performed exceptionally well and have delivered a 52 percent higher profit before tax than corresponding period last year. These results further demonstrate our commitment to delivering a consistent and sustained performance while leveraging our unique capabilities, digital strength and network presence. We are determined to drive commerce and help our clients achieve prosperity across our footprints.

While challenges in the external environment persist, there is an optimistic enthusiasm for the rest of the year. We are fully committed to sustained growth by consistently focusing on our clients and bringing to them a best in class product suite and services.”

Takaful should be at forth-front of Islamic finance industry

New Takaful product development emphasized at gtf in Istanbul

Global Takaful Forum (GTF) was successfully concluded at Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey. The forum was inaugurated by Chief Guest H.E. Husnu Tekin, Division Director from Presidency Finance Office – Turkey.

The objective of the event was to provide adequate knowledge and benefits of Takaful industry to the relevant market. It is also pertinent to mention that the forum was handful to promote, strengthen and unite the organizations of Islamic Insurance (Takaful) with the theme of product outreach strategies and innovations. The platform helped to analyze the problems hindering rapid development of Takaful globally that would surely help to increase financial inclusion. Prominent Speakers and industry professionals from well serving organizations related to Takaful, Insurance and Islamic Finance participated in the event. They discussed the outreach strategies and Innovative products development with stakeholders under one roof. The forum was organized by AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics in partnership with multilateral organization Islamic Corporation for Development of Private Sector (ICD) – Saudi Arabia and Milliman LLP – UK.

Muhammad Zubair Mughal, CEO, AlHuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics (CIBE) said that Takful is neglected area of the Islamic finance industry with merely 2 percent contribution. Takaful industry in dire need to develop new and innovative products to penetrate in the market. Alongside with the innovative product development the distribution mechanism should be addressed by focusing its outreach through banca-Takaful and Micro-Takaful etc. Moreover, re-Takaful products should be developed to strengthen the Takaful industry in global financial markets.

He further said that Takaful product of one country/region should not be implemented in another country/region. The bases and indicators of one country would be different in term of GDP, religious sensitivity, regulation framework etc. with the other country while the development of Takaful products. The social, economic and religion dynamics could also be different. So, Takaful products should be designed keeping in view the country/region dynamics and indicators mentioned above for the successful implementation.

He was also delighted to highly distinguished speakers and policy advisors to bring forth exceptionally handful of ideas to implement Takaful as a substitute to conventional insurance for the poverty alleviation especially for under developing countries. He further welcomed all insurance industry including commissions, regulators, central banks, banking sectors, Takaful, composite, general, life, re-Takaful, reinsurance, brokers and actuaries to come up in order to offer a resolution for the sake of sustainable financial solution.

He further motivated the industry players to play their role in the development of Takaful industry. As Takaful is the only solution to the poverty of the world. The Takaful industry is an emerging trend in the emerging financial world and there is a great room for numerous Takaful, re-Takaful, actuaries, brokers and IT solution providers and many others to explore the untapped market under one umbrella.

AlHuda CIBE arranged an impressive lineup of speakers from various nationalities with the revealing sessions on Takaful and Role of Takaful, Strategies to Tap the Untapped Takaful Market, Takaful Potential and Opportunities and Takaful Global Future Development to explore more options for Takaful industry. The speakers include Dr. Hakan Berooglu, Mr. Mahmood Al Reefy, Mr. Muhammad Albaha, Mr. Mohamed Saeed Elmutasim, Mr. Enver Avdic, Dr. Levent Sumer, Mr. Mehmet Siddik Yurtcicek, Mr. Halil Kolbasi, Mr. Yusuf Dinc and few others. In the forum, delegates from Presidency Finance Office – Turkey, Milliman LLP – Turkey, Banaa’ Productive Families – JANA – Saudi Arabia, Hayat Microfinance Fund – Turkey, National Reinsurance Company – Sudan, Investrade Portfolio Management Insurance, ESOF Limited, SMR Strategy – Turkey, Ba-Fin Consultancy – Turkey, Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University and many other delegates participated in it. The Forum is followed by Two Days Post Event Workshops on “Operational Aspects of Takaful, Micro-Takaful & Re-Takaful” and “Takaful for Regulators” dated for August 27-28, 2019. These Workshops will cover a variety of allied topics.

The guest of honor Mr. İhsan ÖVÜT from SMIIC-OIC at the closing ceremony said that SMIIC-OIC always support product development in the Islamic financial markets at any stage. Moreover, he mentioned that AlHuda CIBE role to promote Islamic Banking and Finance in vital globally. AlHuda CIBE is working dedicatedly for the promotion and implementation of Islamic finance products and solutions. AlHuda CIBE also paying attention to strengthen the awareness and knowledge of Islamic banking and finance and its products in more than 40 countries.

Metro Pakistan head office, stores incorporate solar power

In a simple but impressive ceremony, METRO Pakistan inaugurates its Solar Power initiative at METRO head office and retail store located at Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore, where the Provincial Minister of Energy, Government of Punjab, Dr. Muhammad Akhtar Malik, was the chief guest. The ceremony was attended by METRO Pakistan’s top management, staff, and other dignitaries.

In his welcome speech MD METRO Pakistan, Mr. Marek Minkiewicz, shared the details of METRO Pakistan’s “Clean and Green Pakistan” initiative, where METRO has partnered with Shams Power to deploy solar power solutions at all METRO stores across Pakistan. Under this agreement Shams Power will operate approximately 5MW of solar power systems allowing METRO Pakistan to save 2,639 tons of CO2 every year. Whereas, the successful completion of the inaugurated 396KWP Solar Power Plant at its Head Office and Thokar store Lahore, will deliver 500,000 units/year of green energy and will offset 296,000 kg of CO2 emissions.

The honorable minister Dr. Muhammad Akhtar Malik, in his address, appreciated METRO’s efforts towards reduction in CO2 emissions through Solar Power Solutions and also showed his support for other future projects with respect to energy.

Sustainability is an integral part of the core business of METRO Group because it firmly believes that its economic success goes hand in hand with sustainable action. METRO Pakistan being a socially responsible organization realizes the importance of environment for the wellbeing of all and would like to contribute towards Sustainable Development Goals specifically SDG 7 i.e. Affordable and Clean Energy by reducing energy burden on the country one step at a time.

It is the third METRO store that has successfully implemented Solar Power Solution. Whereas deployments at three more stores are in progress and expected to be completed within 2019.

Most powerful Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ launched in Pakistan

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. unveiled their latest Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ at a launch event in Karachi, a powerful device built for powerful users. Galaxy Note10 is engineered for the modern lifestyle, reflecting the need of users to make the most out of every moment. Combining impeccable camera, performance and productivity tools, with a sleek and slim design, and a dynamic AMOLED display, the Galaxy Note10 and Galaxy Note10+ offer users a smartphone experience that’s unparalleled.

“Samsung is committed towards creating meaningful innovations for a better and new mobile experience for its consumers,” said Mr. Roy, MD, Samsung Electronics Pakistan speaking at the launch ceremony. “The Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ is built for new era of mobile productivity and for this we have made our devices extremely powerful, versatile and seamlessly connected. It is a smartphone that can do anything and is designed for people who want to do everything.”

The launching ceremony was attended by influencers from all walks of life. Guests at the event got to experience the amazing new features Samsung has introduced with the launch of Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ in the form of exquisite experience zones.

Galaxy Note10 is engineered for multidimensional users to bring their new ideas to life with powerful productivity, performance, design and creativity tools in the palm of their hands.

Purposeful Design: Edge-to-edge, all-screen-design display with symmetrical camera cutout for a more immersive experience, every detail of the Galaxy Note10 was designed to offer the most top-notch user experience. Form and function; aesthetics and innovation, come together to allow users to pursue their passions. With an almost bezel-less dynamic AMOLED Infiniti-O display, intuitive UI, and gorgeous color choices, Galaxy Note10’s attention to detail has resulted in the creation of a beautiful smartphone that provides an even better experience.

Multi-Faceted Productivity: Galaxy Note10 is engineered for modern-day lifestyle, reflecting the need of users to make the most out of every moment. The redesigned S Pen, expanded Samsung DeX, and partner integrations with the likes of Microsoft, offer productivity solutions for users to accomplish more than ever, and that too, on the go!

Inspiring Creativity: For a world that communicates with photos and videos, and is fueled by creativity, Galaxy Note10 transforms the entire production process. Shoot with pro-grade video tools and edit them right from your palm, without any professional equipment. Snap amazing photos, record your screen, and chat with fun AR functions; with the all new Galaxy Note10, you can take creativity and self-expression to the next level.

Unparalleled Performance: Galaxy Note10 is a powerful device built for power users—those who say yes to new opportunities and challenge themselves with new experiences. It’s built with the speed and connectivity that allows users to do more than ever, limited only by their imagination. A long-lasting battery, latest chip-set, 12 GBs of Ram and a powerful graphics processor, come together to allow you to perform at your best.

Available for the first time in multiple sizes, and with a choice of three prismatic hues, the newest additions to the Note family make it easy to find the perfect phone to suit your needs and style. Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ will be available in local markets from Sept. 1, 2019.

Building greater Pakistan: leading CEOs participate in the eighteen CEO Summit Asia 2019

Renowned business executives reflected on ‘Building Greater Pakistan’ identifying avenues of investments

CEO Club Pakistan and the Management House jointly organized the ‘EIGHTEEN CEO Summit Asia 2019’, Pakistan’s most anticipated corporate event. The conference was attended by Mr. Tarek Hamdy – CEO, EIGHTEEN and a number of other distinguished professionals who delivered talks on the theme – ‘Building Greater Pakistan’.

The theme ‘Building Greater Pakistan’ is aimed at involving participants in important discussions around finding ways to contribute to Pakistan’s growth in the business sector, strengthening the economy and addressing the ever-pressing issue of climate change by promoting environmentally-safe practices.

Tarek Hamdy, CEO, EIGHTEEN said, “The Eighteen CEO Summit is a wonderful platform for sharing business experiences and exchanging ideas. Eighteen, as a project of international standards, is a step towards building a greater Pakistan by redefining the lifestyle of people. Our investment in the country, inclusion of local stakeholders, and creation of employment opportunities will contribute to the national economy in a major way”

He further discussed how Eighteen will ensure an environmental-friendly lifestyle for its residents, adding “We are building on only 16 percent of the land, including residential and commercial, in order to preserve the fauna of the landscape. We are adopting new water solutions keeping in view the existing water crisis and will also be generating our own power. Eighteen has adopted lean construction techniques that ensure minimal wastage, and has also provided for smart home solutions rendering power efficiency. These measures stand in line with our “Go Green” policies and are tailored towards preserving and protecting the environment”

The first phase of development is set to be completed in December 2020. Mr. Hamdy claimed that the government has been helpful towards the growth of the real estate project but further facilitation is required. He stressed that Pakistan is of great value to Ora Developers as the company first arrived in the country over 20 years ago by the way of telecom sector. The members of the audience, being business professionals, were given a chance to benefit from the experience of the leaders in this field. Following the conference, the latest edition of the ‘100 performing CEOs & Companies of Pakistan 2019’ was distributed to more than 500 CEOs, business leaders, political officials and foreign delegates who attended this year’s event. The mega event of the business world was streamed online reaching a larger global audience. CEO Club Pakistan and Management House cannot go unnoticed for their great efforts towards making the event a success, and for promoting readership of business-related content through annual book launches while also drawing positive attention to the business community of Pakistan.

Jazz blended learning program receives prestigious international award

The Business Intelligence Group has recognized Jazz Smart Schools program as the “Sustainability Initiative of the Year”. Jazz, Pakistan’s largest digital company has received other awards for this unique program. The group made the announcement in their annual Sustainability Awards program. The sought-after award recognizes high-impact individuals, teams, and organizations that make sustainability an integral part of their business practices.

The Jazz Smart School Program increased student-learning outcomes and the teaching methodology by adopting a digital learning solution for public schools. The content was based on existing national educational curriculum that was made more relevant and engaging for students. This program was deployed through an online blended learning platform across 75 government schools for girls. The two-year pilot program began in 2017 and has impacted over 26,000 middle-school girls and 900 women teachers and principals.

The architecture of the activities and indicators are in alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Given the strong digital monitoring component via mobile applications, the federal government education department now makes informed policy and decisions about these schools.

“We understand that digital education is the future of learning. This is why we design initiatives that connect the right tools to create capacity development for not just students but also the teachers,” said Aamir Ibrahim, CEO at Jazz. “We are delighted that our effort has been recognized by the Business Intelligence Group and we hope such global accolades will help the program’s scale-up nationwide.” The company believes in bridging the digital literacy gap for Pakistan so the country can live its full economic potential as it becomes a formidable emerging economy.

Mahboob Mahmood, founder of Knowledge Platform, the educational solutions company, noted: “This is the first edtech project to have successfully scaled in Pakistan, and has been driven by a really strong public-private partnership among the Federal Directorate of Education, Jazz and Knowledge Platform. The program’s success has involved change management, teacher training, campus engagement and performance level accountability, as well as a cluster of digital content and technology solutions.”

“We are proud to reward and recognize Jazz for their sustainability efforts,” said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer, Business Intelligence Group. “It was clear to our judges that their vision and strategy will continue to deliver results toward a cleaner, more sustainable world. Congratulations!”

6th Islamabad literature festival set to be held in September 2019

Every year, the capital gets its much-needed intellectual and cultural treat in the form of the annual Islamabad Literature Festival (ILF). Carrying on this legacy for the 6th time, the theme of this year’s ILF is ‘The Focus is Tomorrow: Reflecting on the Past’. The festival will take place on 27, 28, and 29 September 2019 at Hotel Margala, Islamabad.

While speaking at a press conference, Arshad Saeed Husain, Managing Director, Oxford University Press (OUP), shared some insightful details of the 6th ILF. He said that over 160 speakers and authors from Pakistan, UK, USA, France, Germany, Russia, and Sri Lanka will come together to add their valuable contribution to the event. There will be around 55 sessions, featuring talks, interviews, panel discussions, Urdu and English mushaira, sessions on Pashto and Punjabi writings, readings, author signings, performing arts, and documentary screenings. Moreover, around 8 book launches are planned this year which will be a highlight for book lovers.

The ILF organisers, Oxford University Press (OUP), also announced the names of the Advisory Board members who will be part of the 6th edition of the festival and oversee the festival programming and selection of speakers as well as curate the sessions. The Advisory Board comprises prominent writers, poets, and literary figures including Muneeza Shamsie, Harris Khalique, Iftikhar Arif, Mujahid Barelvi, Salman Tarik Kureshi, and Tahmina Aziz Ayub.

Arshad Saeed Husain, MD, OUP, while sharing his views about the upcoming festival said, “The 6th edition of ILF will be a treat in terms of not only literary works and poetry, but also because of fine arts, culture, and performing arts that will be showcased in it. Over the years, ILF has successfully provided an accessible intellectual space to the citizens of Pakistan. I believe that our society is moving forward at a rapid pace and to keep up with it, this year’s festival has the theme ‘The Focus is Tomorrow: Reflecting on the Past’. Based on the need of the hour, it will explore emerging trends, new concepts, and the impact of social media and technology on books, literature, publishing, reading, and our lives in general.”

Talking about her long association with ILF, the literary critic, Muneeza Shamsie said, “I am thrilled to be a part of the Advisory Board of the 6th ILF, which is a great milestone for our literary heritage. It is good to be with, and exchange ideas with a team, which has worked diligently to bring this festival. ILF gives us an opportunity to learn about and come across new authors and books, discover new ideas and respond to them in a constructive way. Through discourse and discussions, the Festival cultivates literary values, cultural diversity, and a sense of inclusion.”

Anna Suvorova, Aamer Hussein, Julien Colameau, Peter Pannke, and Soniah Kamal are some of the international authors participating in the festival. The local literary luminaries, academics, and intellectuals to be featured in the 6th ILF include Afrasiab Khattak, Amin Gulgee, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Asad Umar, H.M. Naqvi, Harris Khalique, Haseena Moin, Humayun Saeed, IftikharArif, Ishrat Husain, Kishwar Naheed, Muneeza Shamsie, Mohammed Hanif, Najeeba Arif, Nasir Abbas Nayyar, Niilofur Farrukh, Noorul Huda Shah, Sania Nishtar, Salman Rashid, Yasmeen Hameed, Zehra Nigah, and Zafar Ullah Poshni

The first Islamabad Literature Festival was organized in 2013 and drew over 15,000 visitors. Continuing the heritage of this literary event, OUP expects a footfall of more than 60,000 at this year’s ILF. Following its tradition, the festival will have free entry and will be accessible to people in an open and participatory manner.

 

NBP’s revenues increase by 18.4pc; profit before-tax by 18.8pc in half year

The result is highest revenues, After-tax Profit in the banking Industry

Meeting of the Board of Directors (BoD) of National Bank of Pakistan was held on August 28, 2019 at the Bank’s Head Office in Karachi in which the BoD approved financial statements of the bank for half year ended June 30, 2019.

Profit before taxation amounted to PKR 20.4 billion, registering an increase of 18.8% against June, 2018. After-tax profit amounted to PKR 11.1 billion being 11.1% lower than PKR 12.5 billion of June 2018. The drop in after-tax profit is mainly due to the higher taxation charge of 46% compared to 27% for June 2018. Overall revenues of the bank amounted to PKR 53.8 billion which is highest in the banking industry, and is also 18.4% higher than the bank’s revenues for the corresponding period last year.

Growth is attributed to volumetric growth in earning assets, and increase in the discount rate over the period. During the period, the bank paid PKR 47.1 billion as profit to its depositors. On the back of increased deposits and higher profit rates thereon, the profit paid is 81.9% higher than PKR 25.9 billion paid for the half year ended June 30, 2018.

While net interest income increased by 18.0% to PKR 35.6 billion, the bank’s non-fund income also increased by 19.3% to PKR 18.2 billion as against PKR 15.3 billion earned during the corresponding period last year. Complementing objectives of the government and SBP, the bank is aggressively promoting home remittances through banking channels. This has considerably increased the bank’s market share in home remittances business as transaction volumes and remittances grew by 29% and 19% respectively from June ’18.

Representing 13.8% of the banking industry’s total assets, total assets of the bank stood at PKR 2,864.0 billion which is 2.3% higher than PKR 2,798.6 billion as at December 31, 2018. Strength of the bank’s balance sheet is driven by the wide market outreach and branch banking network where the focus remains on low-cost deposit mobilization.

Representing 12.3% of the total banking industry loans, gross advances of the bank amounted to PKR 1,091.9 billion, marginally higher than PKR 1,059.5 billion as at December 31, 2018. However, compared to PKR 912.6 billion of June 2018, gross advances stand increased by PKR 179.2 billion or 19.6%. The bank’s deposits amounted to PKR 2,093.4 billion, higher by PKR 82.0 billion or 4.1% as against PKR 2,011.4 billion as of December 31, 2018. This represents 79.0% of the bank’s total liabilities and translates into 13.7% share of total banking industry deposits. Customer deposits that form 84.0% of the bank’s funding pool remained stable during the period and amounted to PKR 1,758.0 billion which is 5.0% higher than PKR 1,674.1 billion as of December, 2018.

In its 70th year of service to the nation, the Bank is committed to delivering strong results. Its business strategy is evolving to ensure a focus on its “National Role” through reaching and supporting underserved sectors including SME, Microfinance, Agriculture Finance, and finance for Micro-Housing, all being developed with the highest standards. This is in addition to its dominant role in dealing with the public sector and its employees. Building a digital banking capability and a technology platform will be a central part of this strategy as will the development of a performance driven culture within the institution.

ACCA Pakistan holds high-level conference on finance act 2019

ACCA organised a high-level conference on Finance Act 2019 in Lahore. The event featured contributions from regulators, policy advisers, leading tax experts and senior ACCA members.

Prominent conversation leaders included Javed Ahmed, Chairman, Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA), Ashiq Ali Rana, Acting President, Lahore Tax Bar Association (LTBA), Irfan Ilyas FCCA, Partner, Irfan & Co, Muhammad Arshad FCCA, Partner, Arshad Law Associates, and Omer Zaheer Meer FCCA, Chair, ACCA MNP.

Speaking at the event, Javed Ahmed, Chairman, PRA informed, “PRA is actively working with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and all provincial tax authorities towards the harmonisation of tax laws to ensure fairness and help with ease of doing business in Pakistan.

He further said that he agrees with the 12 tenets of tax promoted by ACCA and his organisation is working along similar lines. He specifically appreciated the role of ACCA in providing timely feedback and future-focused thought leadership to help the agency with developing a tax system for a digital future.

Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan in his speech said, “As we stare into the face of climate crises around the world, ACCA wants to shine the spotlight on how our tax systems can really evolve to become a force for good, one that works for our societies and our planet.”

Speaking about the digitisation of tax collection tools, Haroon A. Jan, Regional head of Member Affairs, ACCA said, “Tax administrations have always looked to the latest technological developments to assist in the task of effectively collecting taxes from the population. The current shift in the digitalisation of the global economy is an opportunity presented to national tax collectors to make a change in the efficiency of their processes.”

A large number of tax practitioners and business professionals attended the session. The event was followed by a networking dinner and a musical night.

Novartis, PDHI organize Pakistan digital health day

Novartis Pharmaceutical, in collaboration with Pakistan Digital Health Initiative (PDHI) and National Incubation Center (NIC), organized Pakistan Digital Health Day here in Karachi at NIC. The event was organized in an effort to leverage digital initiatives that can extend people’s lives and change the healthcare ecosystem of Pakistan.

The event comprised of talks by featured speakers and panel discussions with personalities belonging to pharmaceutical, healthcare and digital backgrounds. The highlight of the event was presentations by health based tech startups who were featured at the event and got an opportunity to share their business vision. Number of country’s top startups were identified who are partnering and adding value towards future of Pakistan’s digital health patient and out-patient care segments.

In his welcome note, Sufyan Usmani, Head of Commercial & Communication, Novartis, shared the objectives of the digital initiatives and the collaboration with health based tech startups and companies. He also highlighted the contribution of Novartis as one of the top healthcare organizations in Pakistan.

Dr. Imran Rasheed, CEO, Novartis, while sharing his views said, “Digitalization is the future of Novartis and in that journey we believe that we cannot do everything alone. That is why we believe that we need to work with the right minded people, vendors and especially the new breed of startups that can help us not only to achieve our vision by taking bold steps and partnerships, but also make the environment we work in a better place to live in. Novartis being a digitally forward company promotes such initiatives as it’s completely in line with our global commitment of providing advanced patient care.”

While sharing his views on digital health ecosystem in Pakistan, Dr. Zakiuddin Ahmed CEO, Digital Care, Program Director – Digital Health, King Saud University said, “Studies have shown that around the world healthcare technology will exceed the market size of $600 billion by 2021. Global healthcare systems are embracing new technologies and undergoing massive transformation, however, Pakistan has yet to catch up. Digital technology enables access of healthcare easier in developing economies such as Pakistan, where a major chunk of population resides in far-flung areas. Therefore, it is essential that we make the most of digital healthcare technologies to address key medical needs of the populace.”

Dr. Kamran Iqbal, Head of Initiatives, PDHI, said, “We are pleased to launch Pakistan Digital Health Initiative (PDHI) today as we strongly believe that academia, industry and government coalition for digital health innovation and enterprise is extremely important. We should all come together to formulate and practice collective action approach where all the stakeholders are playing their part in enhancing healthcare ecosystem through digital means. He further added, “PDHI being a completely independent entity acts as a convening platform to will bring government, private sector and academia to form policies and solutions for digital health.”

Shahjahan Chaudhary, Director, NIC, while talking about digital healthcare innovation at NIC, said, “Entrepreneurship has always been the core of NIC, and bringing healthcare in this area is a step ahead. We are committed to improving the healthcare and technological content of life in Pakistan. It is only when we have synchronized our efforts, will we be able to combat the rising health crisis in the country.

These startups are playing a major role in this regard, and NIC being a framework which brings them all together, is fully committed and onboard to promote this digital health initiative.”

Dr. Asad Mian, Director, Critical Creative Innovative Thinking (CCIT) at the Aga Khan University was also present at the occasion and shared his views from academia’s perspective on how innovation is working towards enhancing provision of digital healthcare and improve patient care. “Given the high degree of morbidity and mortality because of the immense disease burden of Pakistan, we should consider disruption and its inherent innovation potential as our ally to have lasting impact on health outcomes.”

Members from the public policy, government officials, corporate sector, health and academia attended the event to discuss challenges being faced by Pakistan in healthcare sector and how technology can be utilized to overcome those challenges.

Bankislami posts profit after tax of Rs581 million for the half year 2019

The Board of Directors of BankIslami Pakistan Limited has approved the Bank’s financial results for the half year ended June 30, 2019 in their meeting held in Karachi on August 27, 2019.

During half year ended June 30, 2019, the Bank generated operating profit before provisions to the tune of Rs. 1,789 million, which is 13.7 times higher than numbers reported for the same period last year.

The surge in operating profits was mainly attributable to overall increase in net revenue of the Bank by 63.6% as compared to HY2018. The cost to income ratio has reduced to 66.8% during HY2019 as compared to 96.3% in HY2018.

Adopting a conservative approach, the Bank has booked accelerated provisions against Islamic Financing and other assets and posted a profit after tax of Rs. 531 million for HY 2019 which is over 8 times higher than profit after tax of Rs. 65 million for HY2018.

During half year ended June 30, 2019, BankIslami’s balance sheet demonstrated a robust growth on the strength of its extensive branch banking business and its recently rejuvenated sales structure, enabling the Bank to increase its deposit base by 15.8% at the end of June 2019 vis-à-vis December 2018 and closed at Rs. 214 billion; while the Bank’s asset base grew by 17.8% in comparison to the numbers reported at December 2018 end.

Moreover, on the back of effective measures taken by the Bank on the recovery front, the BankIslami’s overall infection ratio has declined from 11.9% as at December 31, 2018 to 9.9% as at June 30, 2019, while the coverage ratio (including general provisions) rose from 72.4% as at December 31, 2018 to 89.4% at the end of June 30, 2019.

In order to strengthen the capital base, BankIslami is in process of issuing its listed Additional Tier-1 Capital (Sukuk) of Rs. 2 billion [including greenshoe option of Rs. 500 million] during the year 2019. In addition to this, the Bank has also decided in-principle to increase its share capital during the current year by way of issuing right shares amounting to Rs. 1 billion.

Kashmir Hour observed at the IBA, Karachi

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi observed Kashmir Hour at the Main Campus on account of the recent events of violation of human rights by the Indian government in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir as declared by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan.

The event was attended by Executive Director, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Associate Dean, Dr. Huma Baqai, IBA staff, faculty and students.

The session started with the national anthem of Pakistan followed by the Kashmir anthem.

Dr. Baqai applauded the participation and turn out of the student body for showing support for Kashmiris. Dr. Baqai analyzed the current situation of Kashmir; Pakistan’s position; and the global stance on Kashmir. “There is a consensus that the largest prison on earth is Kashmir because it is the region under militarized curfew for three weeks now.” She highlighted the violation of human rights in the region and emphasized on the need for Pakistan to consolidate its diplomatic support.

The session was then opened up for a Q&A session where many students and faculty members expressed their concerns about the plight of their Kashmiri brethren and the role government and Pakistani public needs to play to showcase the atrocities meted out by India. The audience was unison in their demands for demilitarization of Kashmir.

The session culminated with a one-minute silence observed for Kashmiris. This was followed by a march outside the premises of the Institute in which students, staff and faculty carried placards and Kashmiri flags and chanted slogans in support of Kashmir.

AL Baraka banking group calls on President Dr Arif Alvi

A delegation of Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG), led by its President & Chief Executive, Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, recently called on the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi. Accompanying the delegation were the Deputy Chairman of Al Baraka Bank Pakistan, Mr. Tareq Mahmood Kazim, as well as the CEO of Al Baraka Bank Pakistan, Mr. Ahmed Shuja Kidwai. The delegation discussed the current economy of the country including the prospects of banking sector of Pakistan.

Dr. Alvi emphasized on government’s commitment towards turning Pakistan into a modern Islamic Welfare State. He also appreciated the role played by Al Baraka Bank Pakistan in providing Shariah compliant product and services in the country. President Alvi also said the revival of economy is one of the top priorities of the government and as a result, Pakistan’s position on ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ has improved significantly.

On this occasion, Mr. Adnan said that Al Baraka Banking Group is committed in promoting Islamic Banking and Shariah Compliant financial solutions, globally as well as in Pakistan. He also said that Al Baraka is operating in Pakistan since 1992 providing Riba-Free halal banking solutions and will continue to contribute for the betterment of the society and its welfare.

Al Baraka Bank Pakistan is part of Al Baraka Banking Group, which is licensed as an Islamic wholesale bank by the Central Bank of Bahrain and is listed on Bahrain Bourse and Nasdaq Dubai stock exchanges. It is a leading international Islamic banking group providing its unique services in countries with a population totaling around one billion. It is rated BBB+ (long term) / A3 (short term) on the international scale and A+ (bh) (long term) / A2 (bh) (short term) on the national by Islamic International Rating. ABG offers retail, corporate, treasury and investment banking services, strictly in accordance with the principles of the Islamic Shariah.

The Group has a wide geographical presence in the form of subsidiary banking units and representative offices in 17 countries, which in turn provide their services through over 700 branches. Al Baraka currently has a strong presence in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Bahrain, Pakistan, South Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, in addition to a Digital bank in Germany, two branches in Iraq and two representative offices in Indonesia and Libya.

Meezan bank signs mou with carfirst to provide hassle-free car financing solution

Meezan Bank and CarFirst enter into Strategic Alliance for furnishing Shariah-compliant Financing Solution and Value-Added Services of hassle-free Car Selling

Meezan Bank, Pakistan’s leading Islamic bank and the Best Bank in the country has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CarFirst, Pakistan’s most trusted trading platform for used cars. Mr. Arshad Majeed, Group Head Consumer Finance – Meezan Bank signed the MoU along with Mr. Raja Murad Khan – Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of CarFirst with their respective teams.

As per the MoU, Meezan Bank will facilitate the provision of Shariah-compliant financing solutions for used cars on CarFirst’s platform. As our strategic partner, CarFirst will forward leads of used cars and also provide our customers a platform to sell used cars. CarFirst’s online systems are backed by a nationwide network of purchase centers, which purchase and exchange used cars and make hassle-free business deal for customers to sell their cars.

Raja Murad Khan, CarFirst’s CEO said, “CarFirst, Pakistan’s most trusted used car trading platform, looks forward to offering tailored solutions for Meezan Bank and its customers automotive needs. Our aim is to facilitate customers with a complete solution under one roof, including financing.”

Mr. Arshad Majeed, while speaking at the occasion, expressed his appreciation that this initiative will provide Car Ijarah customers a uniquely structured car financing solution for certified used cars. He further added that this alliance will prove to be mutually beneficial for both the organizations and would help in reaching to a larger market.

Kashmir Hour observed at the IBA, Karachi

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi observed Kashmir Hour at the Main Campus on account of the recent events of violation of human rights by the Indian government in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir as declared by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan.

The event was attended by Executive Director, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Associate Dean, Dr. Huma Baqai, IBA staff, faculty and students.

The session started with the national anthem of Pakistan followed by the Kashmir anthem.

Dr. Baqai applauded the participation and turn out of the student body for showing support for Kashmiris. Dr. Baqai analyzed the current situation of Kashmir; Pakistan’s position; and the global stance on Kashmir. “There is a consensus that the largest prison on earth is Kashmir because it is the region under militarized curfew for three weeks now.” She highlighted the violation of human rights in the region and emphasized on the need for Pakistan to consolidate its diplomatic support.

The session was then opened up for a Q&A session where many students and faculty members expressed their concerns about the plight of their Kashmiri brethren and the role government and Pakistani public needs to play to showcase the atrocities meted out by India. The audience was unison in their demands for demilitarization of Kashmir.

The session culminated with a one-minute silence observed for Kashmiris. This was followed by a march outside the premises of the Institute in which students, staff and faculty carried placards and Kashmiri flags and chanted slogans in support of Kashmir.

Hysab Kytab and commissioner Karachi join hands to start Siren APP

Hysab Kytab Pvt. Ltd. has partnered with Commissioner Karachi as part of kick starting their emergency platform, Siren App. The partnership was commemorated through a brief contract signing ceremony held at the Commissioner’s office here in Karachi.

This partnership is the first of its kind as Commissioner Karachi is the first to lead this change by adopting and implementing ‘Siren App: The Emergency Platform’. It will involve integration of SirenApp with Rescue 1299, which is a project by Commissioner Karachi. The Siren App Emergency platform provided by HysabKytab consists of mobile apps and web portals. Under the contract, HysabKytab will be delivering this technology by providing licenses for the mobile applications and the web portals to Rescue 1299.

Iftikhar Shallwani, Commissioner Karachi, while sharing his views at the occasion said, “Considering the prevailing situation in the metropolis, where even light rain can cause great havoc, an emergency platform like this is the need of the hour. I am elated to be partnering with Hysab Kytab, as their technology will enable our rescue portals to become further streamlined and together, we can connect the user and the rescue operations in a hassle-free manner. In this progressive world, Pakistan is still playing catch up, therefore, we need to make the most of advanced technology to have a better place to live in.”

Yasir Ilyas, Country Head, Hysab Kytab, thanked the Commissioner Karachi while saying, “Growing up in the USA I was used to the concept of 911, living without which was inconceivable. Realizing this gap that exists in Pakistan, we at Hysab Kytab responded by developing a solution that utilizes the state-of-the-art technology and makes the user experience seamless.Very happy to partner with the office of Commissioner of Karachi, making life better for the people living in the 7th largest city of the world.” He further added, “This success story would provide the desirable boost that Siren needs in order to offer a solid emergency platform nationwide and globally to all the developing countries. Moreover, we are open to further collaborations with the government agencies to expand the app’s vision. Sincere thanks to Commissioner of Karachi for the adoption of Siren App.”

Veqar ul Islam, Director and CEO, Jaffer Business Systems and Co-Founder of HysabKytab, while lauding Commissioner Karachi to be the first to take this step into the future said, “Pakistan and many other developing countries have not been able to provide its residents with a reliable platform to use in emergency situations. Given the need of the hour, I am excited to introduce the Siren App Emergency Platform with our first agency partner – the Commissioner of Karachi. I encourage all Pakistanis to download this application so they can have help when they need it the most.”

SirenApp has a dual role as it works with the authorities as well as the consumers. It’s a single hub which will connect the user with the relevant authority at the time of an emergency. Not just the authorities but reaching to their friends and family will be just a swipe away through Siren App. The concerned authorities will be able to streamline their processes and expedite support, while the consumer will be notified of the status every step of the way.

Rescue 1299 is a project by Commissioner Karachi and was launched in 2013. By this collaboration, the aim of this project is to ‘help the helpers’ by integrating the city’s concerned authorities to provide prompt response in emergency situations through a single centralized source which will reduce panic and mitigate any disastrous circumstances.

To find out more about SirenApp, please download: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.jbs.siren

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