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Signs of stability in Pakistan’s economy, but growth to remain very modest: ACCA’S global survey

A global survey of senior accountancy experts on economic conditions shows that there are signs of stability in Pakistan’s economy, but due to tight monetary and IMF-imposed fiscal restraint, along with a slowing global economy, growth is still expected to be a very modest 3.5% or so this year. It also finds that global confidence in Q3 fell to its lowest level since 2011, although feedback from senior accountancy experts in Pakistan shows that the country is bucking this world-wide trend.

The report Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) jointly published by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) reveals that global employment and investment intentions also declined – pointing to a slowing world economy heading into 2020.

Key messages from the survey show that:

  • There are signs of stability in Pakistan’s economy, although growth is still expected to be a very modest 3.5% or so this year.
  • There are signs of improvement. The State Bank of Pakistan increased interest rates by 100bps to 13.35% in July but indicated a neutral stance. This stance was confirmed at the September policy meeting when interest rates were left unchanged.
  • A stable currency and a commitment to end monetary financing of government deficits have eased inflationary concerns. There has also been a significant improvement in the current account deficit, primarily as a result of falling imports. Nevertheless, tight monetary and IMF-imposed fiscal restraint, along with a slowing global economy, will result in economic growth of only around 3.5% this year, well below the long-run average. The September update of the Asian Development Bank’s forecasts put GDP growth this year at 3.3% falling to 2.7% in 2020. Global growth this year may well dip below 3%, a material slowdown from last year’s 3.6%.

Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan comments: ‘Global economic growth forecasts are being downgraded as the downturn in global industrial production and trade continues. The most recent OECD update cut its global GDP forecast to below 3% this year and the Asian Development Bank also cut its 2019 growth forecast for developing Asia to 5.4% from 5.7%. ’

Speaking of the global findings, Michael Taylor, chief economist at ACCA, warns that risks to the global economy have increased in recent months. He says: ‘The fall in confidence this quarter is not surprising, given the escalation in the US-China trade war, evidence of continued slowdown in China, increased geopolitical risks in the Middle East and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

Growth in emerging markets, especially those heavily dependent on exports, is slowing. Global trade growth has softened even more than global economic growth over the last couple of years, hurting many emerging markets.’

He continues: ‘The good news is that reduced concerns about inflation, highlighted in the GECS, means that monetary policy is being eased. Significantly, the US Federal Reserve has already cut interest rates by half a percentage point and is likely to do more by year-end.

‘Many other central banks have followed suit, improving monetary conditions in emerging markets. Easier monetary policy and buoyant jobs’ markets in many economies are the case for the global economy avoiding recession.’

Sajjeed Aslam concludes: ‘GECS is now ten years old and over this time it has collected the views of accountants and finance professionals “at the coal face” – from those who are experiencing current economic conditions and who will be among the first to see any changes in trends. This is what makes GECS so unique, proving its worth by demonstrating the profession’s ability to identify and anticipate changing economic trends. Over the next ten years there will no doubt be many twists and turns in the economic cycle and GECS will be there, tracking them.’

Nestlé to help 10 million Pakistani youth to access economic opportunities worldwide

Nestlé Pakistan organized a specialized training program for young and aspiring chefs in Pakistan as part of Nestlé’s Young Culinary Talents (YOCUTA) Program.

The YOCUTA Program is part of Nestlé’s Global Youth Initiative. The training was held at College of Tourism and Hotel Management (COTHM) where over 40 selected COTHM students participated in the training and were exposed to extensive and exciting courses in patisserie arts. The course included hands-on training for desserts by Hira Laique, Advisory Chef of Nestlé Professional – the out-of-home foodservice solutions provider of the company.

The Global Youth Initiative aims to help 10 million youth to access economic opportunities worldwide. The YOCUTA program is designed to develop Young Culinary Talents in Pakistan, strengthening their theoretical and practical skills and preparing them for their professional career while helping the foodservice industry to fill the shortage of skilled culinary workers worldwide.

Samer Chedid, Managing Director, Nestlé Pakistan, while sharing his views about the initiative said, “This program is in line with our global commitment to help 10 million young people access opportunities by 2030. Through YOCUTA initiative, we will be offering training, practical skills and knowledge in important areas like professionalism, basic culinary skills and a background knowledge of the social issues affecting the food service environment. I am delighted that as a first step we were able to train more than 40 talented students and we hope to reach out to many more aspiring chefs in Pakistan in the future.”

Abdullah Jawaid, Business Executive Officer (BEO), Nestlé Professional, said, “YOCUTA is more than just a one-time event. It is, in fact, a commitment to our communities to create more opportunities for young people, while supporting the future needs of the food service industry. This initiative will help us play our role in empowering the youth of Pakistan to gain access to employment and enhance their career in the food service industry.”

Standard chartered celebrates international day of the girl child

Standard Chartered celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child. This celebration is part of the new community investment strategy, Futuremakers by Standard Chartered. The aim of this strategy is to tackle the issue of inequality and seeks to promote greater economic inclusion for young people in our communities, with a special focus on girls.

International Day of the Girl Child highlights the need to invest in girls’ most pressing needs and opportunities, because investing in girls is investing in a better future that is equal for all – for girls themselves, for their families and for communities. The theme for this year is, as declared by the UN, GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable”.

Standard Chartered Pakistan has a long history of contributing to the social economic development and supporting communities in the country. Investing in communities is one of the three priorities of our global sustainability strategy along with contributing to sustainable economic growth and being a responsible company.

As an organization we are majorly focused locally on Gender diversity and view this as one of the biggest challenges to our economy and industry. We support under- served communities from low-income households, particularly girls, to take part in programmes focused on education, employability and entrepreneurship.

There are two programmes for girls that the Bank is implementing in Pakistan: Goal and #SCWomenInTech.

Goal uses sport or play-based games to enable girls to be active in their learning and reinforce the social messages. It targets adolescent girls aged 12 to 20 in urban areas from low-income families. In Pakistan, Goal was launched in Karachi in 2016 and has reached 11,000 girls. This year we have launched it in Islamabad as well. Goal is actively running in 26 schools across two cities in Pakistan.

Furthermore, through Goal we are implementing employability and encouraging financial independence. Over 450 Goal girls have received vocational training since November 2018 with the objective of enabling them to become economic leaders in their communities.

We also launched the #SCWomenInTech in Pakistan this year. The aim of this programme is to provide female entrepreneurs an opportunity to scale their businesses using technology as an enabler. The programme involves mentoring, training and pre-seed funding of up to USD10,000 to five female-led business ventures. This year the Bank received a total of 85 applications from which 20 were shortlisted to be part of the #SCWomenInTech incubator.

Shell Pakistan commemorates its journey through the decades with Pakistan

A grand ceremony was hosted by Shell Pakistan Limited to commemorate its journey with Pakistan through the decades. Through the launch of its memoire, “Powering Progress in Pakistan”, Shell Pakistan highlights the organisation’s pivotal role and contributions in the development of the energy sector of Pakistan.

The Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs – Ali Zaidi graced the evening as the chief guest. The ceremony was attended by the government, business leaders, diplomats, academia and employees.

Shell Pakistan believes; that Pakistan as the 24th largest economy in the world and the 6th most populous country; with a vast agricultural base and a rapidly growing industrial sector; has tremendous potential for growth and energy transition. With a legacy of 120 years in the region, developing and distributing energy by land, air and sea, Shell has endeavored to support Pakistan’s developmental priorities. From providing petroleum products for the construction of mega projects like the Mangla Dam and Kotri Barrage, to expanding the country’s growing road infrastructure, powering PIA’s first flights or supporting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs in Pakistan, Shell has been part of the nation’s progress.

The Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Ali Zaidi stated that: “Shell Pakistan has been a strong and consistent contributor to our homeland, all through these seven decades. Our nation is proud to have a resourceful global enterprise, making large-scale investments, to meet the energy needs of Pakistan.”

At the occasion, Haroon Rashid – Chief Executive and Managing Director of Shell Pakistan said, “With an energetic young population, abundant natural resources, economic collaborations and a mission to develop sustainable energy resources, Pakistan is powering its way to progress. Shell has always played its part in accelerating progress and growth in Pakistan and today is no different. As Pakistan works towards developing sustainable energy resources, Shell Pakistan is honored to be working alongside the government to help drive this change.”

Pakistan cables opens ‘estore’ – a new online shopping experience

Pakistan Cables launched its online estore, offering wiring solutions for consumers looking for hassle free and convenient buying options backed by speedy and secure delivery.

“We have been staunch advocates of using technology that adds value in the overall consumer experience. By shopping at the Pakistan Cables estore, our customers save time and also get convenient access to buying authentic products directly from us”, stated Fahd Kamal Chinoy, Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan Cables Limited.

Easy to navigate, the estore website offers a range of general wiring solutions while giving shoppers multiple payment methods to choose from. Currently, the Pakistan Cables estore services are available in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, with plans to roll out into other cities in the future.

The launch of Pakistan Cables estore comes at a critical time as analysts forecast Pakistan’s digital economy to continue growing because of which consumer-buying habits may evolve further.

“In Pakistan, we are the first player in the category to explore the ecommerce frontier, which is true to our philosophy of embracing innovation”, added Fahd Kamal Chinoy.

Nestlé inaugurates new plant worth $22 million in Sheikhupura

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar inaugurated a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant at Nestlé Pakistan’s Sheikhupura Factory.

The production capacity of the NESTLÉ FRUITA VITALS (Nestlé’s range of juices, nectars and drinks) Plant – the newest edition to its facilities operating in Pakistan – is 24,000 units per hour. The company’s investment of US$22 million is one of its largest investments recently.

While speaking at the occasion, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar said, “We aim to create conditions in which foreign companies are attracted towards making new investments. At present, the government is making concerted efforts to revive the nation’s economy. I am really pleased to see that Nestlé, one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, is making such good progress in Pakistan.”

Welcoming the investment, the Governor added, “I am heartened to see that Nestlé has always taken a keen interest in creating opportunities for the people. Their investment demonstrates and speaks volume about Nestlé’s trust in the future of Pakistan.”

Samer Chedid, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Pakistan, while sharing his views said, “Nestlé’s recent investment is a testament to our continuous trust in Pakistan and its growth potential. We are also excited about integrating our Chaunsa value chain. We are procuring Chaunsa mangoes from the 110 farms that we introduced interventions at to improve their yield’s quantity and quality. This integration demonstrates our Creating Shared Value approach in which we ensure that our activities and products are making a positive difference to society while contributing to Nestlé’s ongoing success.”

“We appreciate the government’s steps as a result of which Pakistan has been listed by the World Bank as among the ‘Top-20 Improvers in Ease of Doing Business 2020’. This is a clear reflection of the government’s commitment to improve competitiveness by increasing support for the development of the private sector, reducing regulatory and administrative burden on enterprises,” he said.

 

Malaysia records 74,458 tourist arrivals from Pakistan, welcome more in PTM 2019

Tourism Malaysia will participate in the PTM 2019 from 8 to 10 October 2019 in Karachi Expo Center to welcome more tourists from Pakistan by highlighting VM2020 campaign.

This year, a total of 18 organisations from Malaysia will participate in PTM including hotels and resorts, travel agencies, product operators and tourism associations.

Tourism Malaysia also take this opportunity to launch Visit Malaysia 2020 in Pakistan. The tourist arrival target from Pakistan during the campaign will be 81,000 tourists.

Commenting on the bilateral relationships between Malaysia and Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Khairul Nazran Abd Rahman – Consul General at the Consulate General of Malaysia in Karachi said “Although the major cornerstone of our relations is trade and investment, Malaysia remains committed to deepen the breadth and depth of our relations in the tourism front with Pakistan. Our active participation in the annual Pakistan Travel Mart speaks volume of our aspiration towards this endeavour.

Mr. Shahrin Mokhtar, Director of Tourism Malaysia in Dubai said, “With the support of our industry partners, our goal was to bring exposure and create awareness on Malaysia to these markets, resulting in the increase of tourist flow from Pakistan to Malaysia. Pakistan Travel Mart is an excellent platform to promote the Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign in Pakistan.”

Malaysia recorded 74,458 tourist arrivals from Pakistan in 2018, a growth of 39.3% compared to 2017. Moreover, tourist arrivals between January to July 2019 is 55,240, an increase of 26.0% compared to the same period last year.

Latest attractions in Malaysia include Genting Highlands, which has been refreshed with a new indoor theme park, Skytropolis, and shopping opportunities at Genting Highlands Premium Outlets and Sky Avenue Mall; Melaka, which is located two and a half hours drive from Kuala Lumpur and offers a variety of attractions for Pakistani tourists interested to learn Malaysia’s rich history; Johor Bahru, a family destination renowned as the country’s new theme park hub; and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, which offers exceptional attractions for nature lovers and soft adventurers.

Speaking of Malaysia’s presence, Tourism Malaysia, Dubai and Consulate General of Malaysia, Karachi have been working with the various quarters in expanding the cooperative activities in the tourism front. Certainly, Malaysia looks forward to increase and enhanced our countries relationship to greater height for the benefit and interest of our two nations.

In 2019, Malaysia was yet again named the top Muslim Travel Destination 2019 by Mastercard & Crescent Ratings 2019 Global Muslim Travel Index. Malaysia also enjoys an outstanding international reputation as a healthcare and wellness destination, having been consistently recognised in industry programmes including the Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Medical Travel Awards. Moreover, Kuala Lumpur was ranked 6th in the list of most visited cities in 2018 based on the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2019 report.

METRO Cash & Carry wins the ‘Best Place to Work & Best in Retail’ Award

Metro Cash & Carry Pakistan (METRO) has been ranked as the ‘Best Place to Work for 2019 & Best in Retail’ by Engage Consulting, an external independent survey body in collaboration with the Pakistan Society of Human Resource Management (PSHRM), a professional association for HR practitioners, at a ceremony held in Karachi recently.

It is the second time METRO has won the prestigious “Best Place to Work’ award, through a survey study aimed to highlight trends in employee expectations, motivation, engagement and retention. A total of 55 companies participated in the survey, out of which Top 25% scoring organizations were awarded the ‘Best Place to Work’ award, including METRO.

METRO Pakistan is part of METRO AG, a leading international player in wholesale operating with 150,000 people in 35 countries. METRO is a People’s Business where business is built on relationships. METRO’s Global Reach offers exposure to employees along with open, dynamic and challenging work environment that aims at nurturing people’s talents and developing their skills all while impacting millions of customers.

Khushhali Microfinance Bank offers solar powered solutions with green light planet

Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited (KMBL) has partnered with Green Light Planet to offer renewable energy based home and lighting solutions to the people of Sindh. The aim is to empower the people of the province by providing them with easy access to renewable energy solutions.

In June 2018, an MOU was signed between Khushhali Microfinance Bank and Green Light Planet to provide residents with Sun King’s solar powered solutions on easy installment plans. The product was launched in multiple branches of Sindh including, Badin, Hyderabad, Thatta, Mirpur Khas, Nawabshah and Tando Allahyar. Four other branches are also planning to introduce the product to their client base.

While the primary objective is to address Pakistan’s rising energy consumption needs especially in interior and main Sindh, less dependence on non-renewable energy sources will also help to uplift the economy as well as the environment.

KMBL President, Ghalib Nishtar said about the partnership “As the conservation around renewable energy becomes more important, KMBL is on the track to help fight climate change through its various environmental initiatives. Under an easy installment plan, KMBL wishes to uplift the standard of living of people residing in the hottest areas with renewable energy solutions in their homes”.

Given that the consumption of energy is higher than its availability, this strategic alliance will promote the use of renewable energy products on convenient financing services.

KMBL is committed to supporting such innovative products for the bottom base of market pyramids that provide economic opportunities to the vast population in Pakistan.

NBEAC and NCEAC re-accreditation visit to IBA, Karachi

The Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi welcomed the Accreditation Inspection Committee (AIC) from the National Business Education Accreditation Council (NBEAC) from October 3-5, 2019 to re-accredit the MBA and BBA programs and accredit the BS Accounting and Finance program. The AIC from the National Computing Education Accreditation Council (NCEAC) visited the Institute on September 27, 2019 to re-accredit the BS Computer Science program.

The AIC from NBEAC comprised of Professor SDSB, LUMS (Chairman PRT) Dr. Jawad Syed; Dean, NUST Business School Dr. Naukhez Sarwar; Dean, FAST School of Management, FAST NUCES Islamabad Dr. Sadia Nadeem; Dean, Air University, Islamabad Dr. Idrees Khawaja; Executive Vice President, National Bank of Pakistan Dr. Arshad Khan; and Program Director, NBEAC Mr. Ahtesham Ali Raja.

The AIC from NCEAC comprised of Associate Professor, NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Dr. Sharifullah Khan; and Assistant Professor Department of Engineering NUML, Dr. Basit Shahzad.

Executive Director IBA Karachi, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal briefed the AIC from NBEAC about IBA’s strategic direction, program overview, infrastructure and facilities. During the NCEAC visit, Associate Dean Faculty of Computer Science, Dr. Sayeed Ghani, Chair Computer Science, Dr. Shakeel Khoja, Program Director, Computer Science, Dr. Faisal Iradat from IBA, Karachi briefed the team about the IBA’s historical milestones, program overview, infrastructure and facilities.

The meetings were held with faculty members and relevant stakeholders. Classroom visit and campus tour were also held along with inspection of documentation. Classroom visits and campus tours of both campuses were also held, along with engagements with employers and alumni and inspection of documentation.

The visits concluded with an exit meeting; the AIC members and all relevant IBA stakeholders participated in the meeting and engaged in a fruitful discussion about findings and learnings from the visit.

Meezan bank, Hyundai Nishat motor promoting Hyundai commercial vehicles in Pakistan

Meezan Bank Limited, Pakistan’s largest Islamic Bank and the Best Bank in Pakistan and Hyundai Nishat Motor (Private) Limited, a project of Nishat Group recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly promote Hyundai commercial vehicles in Pakistan by providing convenient financing terms with a residual value option.

This signing ceremony was organized at the grand opening of Hyundai’s Digital City Store in Karachi and was attended by Mian Hassan Mansha – CEO, Hyundai Nishat Motor (Pvt) Ltd., Mr. Min Kyu Song – President Africa and Middle East Region, Hyundai Motor Co. and Mr. Ariful Islam – Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank.

Under the agreement, Meezan Bank will provide priority vehicle financing and additional value-added services to Hyundai’s commercial segment customers for Grand Starex and its upcoming locally assembled pick-up truck.

Commenting at the occasion, Mr. Ariful Islam – Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank said: “Our commitment towards ‘Establishing Islamic banking as banking of first choice…’ has led us to focus on the key financing needs of our customers. Alhamdullilah, Meezan Bank is one of the few banks in the country to offer the Residual Value option for commercial vehicles which will further enhance the customer’s flexibility and buying power.”

Mr. Norez Abdullah, CFO Hyundai Nishat while speaking at the occasion said: “We are delighted to have partnered with the country’s largest Islamic finance provider for our customers. This combination of strength and promise between Meezan and Hyundai shall go a long way in fulfilling the void in light commercial segment at affordable terms for our mutual customers This MoU would add a leading automobile brand in Meezan Bank’s portfolio which would benefit both the partners and ultimately offer a good option to the customers for fulfilment of their logistics needs.”

Magnus leads Pakistani startups shine at the 39th GITEX in UAE

Pakistani entrepreneurs featured prominently in the region’s largest technology conference, 39th iteration of GITEX in the United Arab Emirates, which featured entrepreneurs and technology companies from over 140 countries,

Magnus Communications, along with its sister company, Magnus Technologies, provided platform for 7 Pakistani startups from business sectors of construction, healthcare and robotics to feature at GITEX.

Ashraf Kalim, co-founder of Magnus Communications, at the conclusion of the weeklong event stated, “We are extremely proud to be a part of Pakistan’s most prominent and successful exhibit, by any metric, at GITEX. It cannot go without mentioning that this would not have been possible without our new partnership with In5 and the support of the Dubai Internet City (DIC).”

Zain Moosa, co-founder, Magnus Communications added, “We took a considerable risk, but we are delighted that it has paid off well. We firmly believe that Pakistan is a source of tremendous entrepreneurial talent and the problems being solved there are shared by over a billion people across the world. We need to double down on ensuring high-potential startups get the needed exposure outside of Pakistan through events like GITEX.”

The event featured startups WonderTree and AzaadHealth, who showcased within the prominent Dubai Internet City (DIC) pavilion at the World Trade Center alongside global technology giants Google and Microsoft. Techtree also exhibited at GITEX Future Stars whereas Two Dots Design Studio, Social Champ, Precision Bird and ModulusTech attended the event in pursuit of partnerships and sales.

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