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Dinner held in honour of Lord Choudrey

Mr Zameer Choudrey, CBE, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Chief Executive Bestway Group has been appointed to the House of Lords by Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of his contributions to Britain’s domestic and foreign trade, his philanthropic work both in the UK and abroad, and his role as Chairman of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan.

Sir Anwar Pervez, OBE, Hilal-e-Pakistan, Chairman Bestway Group, recently hosted a dinner in Islamabad to celebrate this honour. His Excellency, Dr Arif Alvi, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was the Chief Guest and the dinner was attended by the cream of the diplomatic corps, captains of industry; ministers and members of Parliament and senior government officials.

Dr Arif Alvi described the appointment of Zameer Choudrey as a proud moment for all Pakistanis. He congratulated Lord Choudrey on his achievement and paid glowing tributes to the accomplishments of Bestway Group, Sir Anwar Pervez and Lord Choudrey.

The British Deputy High Commissioner Mike Nithavrianakis said that Bestway Group represents the very best of both Pakistan and Britain. He also said that the Group with its businesses across Britain and Pakistan acts as bridge between the two countries.

In the last two decades Lord Choudrey has regularly been asked to facilitate bilateral visits of both Pakistani and British senior government officials, including the Mayors of London and the West Midlands, and private investors, to discuss how both UK and Pakistan can further deepen their historic commercial ties.

Lord Choudrey’s journey has been very eventful to say the least. He has come a long way from his roots in Thathi, near Gujjar Khan, to the helm of what is now the UK’s 3rd largest business and more importantly the largest overseas investor in Pakistan, which provides employment to over 27,000 people worldwide.

Bestway Group businesses have always given back to communities they operate in. The Group’s two main subsidiaries in Pakistan, United Bank Limited and Bestway Cement Limited, are both playing a pivotal role in job creation, tax generation and the economic development of Pakistan.

Under Lord Choudrey’s dynamic leadership Bestway Cement Limited, which was set up as a greenfield operation has grown to become Pakistan’s largest cement manufacturer. United Bank Limited, which was acquired in 2002 has grown from strength to strength and is today Pakistan’s 2nd largest private bank.

Zameer Choudrey has placed the Bestway Group at the heart of the community; this has led to the creation of employment opportunities and empowered local communities.

The Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility endeavours have led to investments of more than US$25 million across Pakistan, and more than US$45 million worldwide, in schools, colleges, universities and hospitals.

Thanking the guests, Lord Choudrey said “It is encouraging to see the focus of the current government in galvanising the Pakistani diaspora worldwide. I hope that we can act as an example of what the Pakistani diaspora can achieve abroad as well as be a role model for investing back in our motherland”.

Lord Choudrey also said, “My appointment to the House of Lords is an immense honour for me and I will do my best to live up to everyone’s expectation. UK is a land of opportunity and I shall continue to play my role in articulating the views of the British Pakistani community and to act as a bridge between UK and Pakistan with a special focus on deepening the historic commercial and cultural bonds between our two great nations”.

For all aspirational Pakistanis Lord Zameer Choudrey is a beacon of hope – someone who embodies the values of hard work; selflessness and professionalism.

Events Of Bahria University Karachi

Bahria University Karachi , School of maritime Sciences hold a discussion on “Promoting Fisheries in Pakistan- Challenges, opportunities and way forward” under the supervision of Rear Admiral Mukhtar Khan HI(M) DGKC, Dr.Farooq-e-Azam Cheema (Dean MSS) & Dr.Asif Inam Hod School of Maritime Sciences on 21st-oct-2019, graced by VC LUAMS, Spokes person to CM Balochistan and other dignitaries & stakeholders.

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Bahria University Karachi , Department of Humanities and Social Sciences hold a discussion on “Political Structure Of Pakistan Economy” In connection with the Prominent Speaker Series session-I on 17th oct 2019 graced by Dr.huma Baqai (Associate dean IBA) & Mr.Ali Nasir (Anchor person Abb Tak News), Organized by Ms.Urooj Aijaz and Ms.Madiha Kamal, Mr.Qaiser Zaman & Mr.Amir Sultan under the supervision of Dr.Talat Rehmani HoD H&SS Dept.

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SSGC crackdowns on hefty defaulting government owned entities

SSGC has launched crackdown on hefty defaulting government owned entities. In Karachi, the Company disconnected gas supplies of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Sindh Government Hospital North Nazimabad, Trauma Centre of Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital and other defaulting entities.

SSGC’s spokesperson informed that Abbasi Shaheed Hospital was continuously defaulting its current as well as past gas bills and the previous arrears had reached to significant level. On the last disconnection by SSGC, the managements of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital submitted an undertaking in which they assured that the hospital will ensure to pay the current monthly bill along with one million rupees on monthly basis from its outstanding amount. After this undertaking the gas supply of the hospital was restored by SSGC.

SSGC’s spokesperson also said that in contrary to this undertaking, the hospital management did not pay the amount which they had agreed; rather they used to make payments after 3-4 months according to their own comfort to offset the current bill amount, whereas the outstanding amount kept on increasing. According to SSGC’s spokesperson, timely disconnection notices were served to the hospital management and many official meetings were also convened in this regards but there was no serious response seen from the hospital management to settle the outstanding dues. As a last resort, the gas supply of Abbasi Shaheed Hospital had to be disconnected as the arrears had amounted to alarming level.

The outstanding amounts of Sindh Government Hospital North Nazimabad and Trauma Centre of Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital also other hospitals also rose to considerable levels as due to which their gas supplies were also disconnected by SSGC.

SSGC spokesperson reiterated that Company will continue to crackdown all government and private owned defaulting companies by disconnecting their gas supplies.

Shell Pakistan posts profit in q3 2019

The Board of Directors of Shell Pakistan Limited announced the third quarter results for the company on 22nd October. The company posted a profit after tax of PKR 570 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2019 compared to the profit of PKR 334 million made in the same period last year.

Shell Pakistan Limited continued its focus on its strategic priorities and operational excellence in the quarter through macro-economic challenges in the country, and successfully delivered a profit after tax. However, the overall financials for the nine months ended 30th September 2019, still present a challenging situation for the company; driven primarily by the unprecedented devaluation of the Rupee, the volatility in the international oil prices and increased minimum tax rates applicable to the company.

The Company continues its focus on driving competitive business plans to deliver top quartile business performance.

The Americana group signs mou with Punjab skills development fund

Middle East’s largest restaurants group, The Americana Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) with the aim of hiring trained workforce from Punjab for their Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) business division that operates 1,800 restaurants in the Region. The agreement was signed between Mr. Sai Gandhi, Chief People Officer, Americana Group and Mr. Jawad Khan, Chief Executive Officer, PSDF at the Americana Group Head Office, Sharjah, UAE.

The two parties are committed to creating a successful long-term partnership and give the youth from Punjab a chance to build their careers with one of the leading organizations in the Middle East. In accordance with the MoU, PSDF will fund the training of the workforce, while The Americana Group will employ the eligible candidates across their QSRs in UAE and KSA.

Mr. Sai Gandhi, Chief People Officer, Americana Group said, “Our partnership with the Punjab Skills Development Fund is to attract young talent and grow our pipeline of talent in the Americana business.”

Mr. Jawad Khan, CEO, PSDF said, “PSDF is playing a leading role in partnering with the best organizations in the Middle East and helping them meet their skilled workforce needs from Pakistan. After the success achieved with Atlantis the Palm and Rotana Groups in the hospitality sector, PSDF is very proud to partner with The Americana Group and meet their skills needs in the QSR space. We look forward to growing our mandate with Americana in other areas of their business.”

SSGC gas theft operation, 2 gas thieves arrested in Baldia Town

As part of its anti-gas theft Operation Grift campaign, Security Services and Counter Gas Theft Operation Wing Karachi carried out a raid in Baldia Town (District West) on direct use of gas from Distribution pipelines for commercial power generation of 15 kw generator for running an RO plant.

Two culprits, Qadir Deen and Sadiq Rehman were apprehended on charges of direct use of stolen gas. Summarily FIR (# 65/2019) was lodged.

Since its establishment, SS&CGTO Department has raised theft claims to the tune of Rs. 1.7 billion out of which claims worth Rs. 1.2 billion have been acknowledged (73%).

The Company is facing millions in losses due to gas theft which is a primary reason behind line losses or UFG (Unaccounted-for-Gas). The Company has zero tolerance against gas theft and will not spare any incident of theft anywhere in its franchise areas.

Golootlo discounts now available to NBP funds investors

Anum Shakeel

Golootlo has recently entered into an agreement with NBP Fund Management Limited (NBP Funds), the Leading Asset Management Company (AMC) in Pakistan. Through this agreement, NBP Funds will issue co-branded Golootlo UnionPay debit cards and connect Golootlo digitally through their mobile application. This will give NBP Funds investors access to Golootlo’s thousands of deals which are available with 12,500+ merchants across Pakistan.

NBP Funds is currently managing over Rs. 11,500 Crores of investors savings and this is another step by the company to offer the best services to its investors while helping them meet their financial goals.

For Golootlo, this agreement is another step forward in the company’s continuous efforts to make its vast library of discounts available to progressively more people. On a path of rapid expansion, Golootlo plans to expand its discount network to 50,000 merchants from the current 12,500 in the next year.

Golootlo is very excited to be embarking on this journey with NBP Fund Management; a journey that will be beneficial for both the companies and their customers. The integration is just the first step, with many more incentives to be launched in the future.

Metro & Star farm join hands to address youth unemployment

In a bid to address the issue of unemployment in Pakistan, METRO Pakistan & Star Farm led a training programme in collaboration with PSDF and Generation to train youth holding intermediate degrees and looking for jobs. The first batch of Retail Sales Associates training programme graduation ceremony took place recently at METRO Pakistan’s Head office in Lahore.

Most of the candidates lack basic skills for the jobs they apply or do not have the understanding of how to prepare and pass the interview. This lack of knowledge and less focus towards the root cause of unemployment has never been addressed before.

Mr. Zeeshan, COO of Star Farm officially welcomed all the guest and participants. Ms. Sadaf Country Director of Foundation for Youth Employment Pakistan motivated all the participants’ congratulated and equipped them with the tips that will help in their upcoming phase of life. Mr. Marek Minkiewicz, Managing Director, METRO Pakistan, shared his requirements from the retail sales associate with his extensive experience in the same industry. Mr. Jawad CEO of Punjab Skill Development Fund shared his thoughts and stories with the participants.

Mr. Ishaq and Ms. Sadia, graduates from first batch, enlightened all the honourable guest with their heart-warming life stories and experiences of how this training programme has revolutionised their lives. All the participants were confident that they will pass the interview which was aligned for the next day.

 

KE awards contracts for 900mw BQPS-III

K-Electric has awarded the contracts to global technology powerhouse Siemens AG and Chinese construction contractor(s) Harbin Electric for a 900MW Combined Cycle Power Plant and associated grids at Bin Qasim.

The contract was signed by Moonis Alvi, CEO, KE; Dr. Keramat Fakhari Executive Vice President, Siemens and Guo Yu, Chairman, Harbin Electric International Company Limited. Although the project timeline has been affected due to delay in finalization of KE’s multi-year tariff, the power utility is determined to execute it on a fast track and additional power to be made available by summer 2021.

With an investment of USD 650 Million, the project will be built at KE’s Bin Qasim Power Complex and includes upgrades to associated transmission infrastructure. It will be dual fired with RLNG (Re-gasified Liquid Natural Gas) as the primary fuel and represents one of the largest private sector investments of its kind in the country’s power sector. In line with our vision of improving KE’s generation fleet efficiency, the 900MW BQPS-III is one of several planned projects to replace older plants with newer and more efficient units.

The project is part of KE’s business plan formulated after detailed study to review all possible solutions for increase in generation capacity including long term off-take of additional power of national grid with the objective of bridging the supply demand gap and decommissioning of its old furnace oil based BQPS-I plan. Accordingly, in addition to this project, KE is also in talks with Government of Pakistan to increase the supply from National Grid and in this regard discussions for supply of 500MW from KANUPP-2 and KANUPP-3 are in advanced stage. It is pertinent to note however, that construction of interconnection facilities will take at least two years once the proposal is approved by GoP, which is still pending. Further a key coal-fired 700 MW Project – awaits notification from the Government of Pakistan. All these planned initiatives are of utmost importance to not only bridge the demand-supply gap in Karachi but to also allow KE to replace older, inefficient furnace oil based units with new lower cost and efficient generation units to lower the burden on consumers and on the national exchequer.

Speaking at the occasion Moonis Alvi, CEO K-Electric said, “The 900 MW BQPS-III is essential in meeting Karachi’s future energy demands. The aim is to commission the project in the fastest possible time, and we are confident that with the right facilitation from all quarters, power from the plant may be added to our supply as soon as summer of 2021. An investment of the size and magnitude of BQPS-III is a testament to KE’s commitment to improving the reliability of power supply for its customers.”

Guo Yu, Chairman, Harbin Electric International Company Limited, “Harbin Electric International Co., Ltd. has accumulated rich project execution experience since it entered the Pakistani power market in 1983, and has completed more than 10 projects in the fields of hydropower, thermal power and combined cycle power stations. We are honored to partner with KE and confident that the under-development power project will play a crucial role in supporting the growing power needs of Karachi and will also help diversify the fuel mix of KE in a sustainable manner.”

“We’re proud to be supporting the energy needs of Karachi with efficient, environmentally friendly technology for power generation, such as the SGT5-4000F gas turbines renowned for high performance and low-cost power generation” said Helmut von Struve, Managing Director and CEO of Siemens in Pakistan. “A reliable, robust and efficient electricity supply is essential to power economic growth and societal development, and our global expertise in delivering such projects makes us an ideal partner to support K-Electric’s long-term vision.”

KE remains firm in its vision to provide safe and reliable power to all its customers underpinned by investments of around USD 3 billion over the span of next four years, across the power value-chain, resulting in energy self-sufficiency and propelling the socio-economic growth of Karachi and Pakistan.

Jazz and Afiniti to enhance customer experience using artificial intelligence

Jazz, Pakistan’s leading digital communications company, and Afiniti, a multinational advanced analytics company, have partnered to implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions in customer service contact centers across Pakistan, fostering significant gains in customer satisfaction and revenues.

As part of its long-term commitment to meet and exceed customer satisfaction, Jazz engaged Afiniti to use their AI powered contact center technology to optimize call outcomes at Jazz’s customer service contact centers. By analyzing call histories and other CRM data, Afiniti’s algorithm predicts patterns of interpersonal behavior and matches callers with Jazz’s contact center agents best equipped to serve them.

“Industries globally are advancing rapidly thanks to AI and we wanted to use this technology for the benefit of our customers,” said Aamir Ibrahim, CEO Jazz. “Afiniti’s solution is intuitive, seamless and measurable, and a part of Jazz’s broader customer obsession motto. It’s one of many ways we’re creating consistently positive experiences for our subscribers and driving revenue.”

“Afiniti is the world’s premier provider of applied artificial intelligence solutions, having delivered billions of dollars in measurable economic value to its clients around the world. We are proud to partner with Jazz to deliver similar value and enhanced customer experience to the largest mobile provider in Pakistan.” said Zia Chishti, CEO Afiniti.

Afiniti uses AI to identify subtle and valuable patterns within human interaction to pair customers and employees out of sequence on the basis of behavior. Pairing in this way transforms the quality of interpersonal interactions, driving measurable increases in enterprise profitability and customer success metrics.

Typically, customers contacting a business are routed to the first available contact center agent regardless of fit. With Afiniti, callers are routed to the agent most likely to deliver a positive experience, in turn improving the company’s efficiency (average handle time, first call resolution), increasing revenue (sales conversion, up-sells and cross-sells, retention) and improving customer and agent satisfaction (NPS).

Indus motor’s holistic move towards sustainable development

Indus Motor Company (IMC) fully recognizes the importance of disclosing information concerning its approach to its triple bottom-line responsibility. To this end, the Company has published its 4th Sustainability Report for the financial year 2019. The Report presents a holistic view of IMC’s contributions to sustainable development. It has been prepared according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, which is the most widely recognized framework for sustainability reporting.

Over the years, Indus Motor Company has actively benchmarked its operations and has duly implemented the 10 Principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). It also supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve its strategic objectives in terms of sustainability.

Mr Ali Asghar Jamali, CEO IMC, commenting on release of IMC’s 4th Sustainability Report, said, “We consider this integral to achieving our corporate goals by adhering to the highest standards of ethics, integrity and compliance”. He added, “we now intend to set more aggressive goals in sustainability practices and will more forcefully pursue innovation, as this will help improve the sustainability of industry as a whole”.

IBA Karachi launches its first journalism society

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi launched its first Journalism Society at the IBA main campus. The event was organized by members of the IBA Journalism Society and students of Master’s of Science in Journalism Program (MSJ) at the Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) IBA.

The speakers at the launching ceremony were prominent journalists Mr. Mubashir Zaidi and Mr. Zarrar Khuhro. The session was moderated by MSJ students. Mr. Zaidi and Mr. Khuhro shared their insights on the future of journalism in the digital age. They spoke about the challenges and transitions of traditional media to the digital medium; influence of social media on news; and challenges of the credibility of news.

The panelists were asked about the content policy regarding the credibility of news on Facebook. Mr. Khuhro said that Facebook does not remove fake news. “It’s their business model; Facebook earns money from this (and for that) they need likes and shares”. Highlighting the importance of social media he further added, “The public at large needs to understand how to use social media in a constructive way.”

Mr. Zaidi advised aspiring journalists to work with dedication. He said, “It’s not a 9-5 job. It’s a 24-hour job as you look for stories. Work hard as much as you can and create your own niche.”

Mr. Khuhro commented on the same question and shared that journalists’ personal opinions don’t matter. Their job is to observe and report facts. This job is unglamorous with a lot of hard work involved.

KE says digitalization, automation of processes improved customer facilitation

K-Electric has taken several initiatives aimed at reducing the turnaround time for the provision of new industrial connections in Karachi. These include a faster and simpler process for applying for new connections, which can be submitted online as well. The number of required documents has also been reduced, and consumers can avail an e-payment option for their new connection estimate. Consumers can also use KE’s online cost calculator and online case tracking to get the tentative cost and track the progress of their new connection application.

Initiatives like the launch of online portals for new commercial/industrial connections which made getting electricity easier, and announcement of tariff changes in advance have also been acknowledged by the World Bank as Pakistan has emerged among the top 20 reformers globally with initiatives in six indicators under the Ease of Doing Business score including the Getting Electricity indicator as well.

According to Spokesperson KE, “The power utility is committed to provide reliable and quality power supply with customer-friendly processes. We have been at the forefront of introducing the latest technology to enhance the experience of our customers. Exempting industries from load-shed since 2010 has fueled industrial growth and economic prosperity in the city. Moreover, we are upgrading our infrastructure to meet growing power demand of new industrial consumers. In partnership with the Board of Investment, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, World Bank and other concerned authorities, KE will continue its efforts to further enhance the overall business environment in Karachi.”

Over the years, KE has taken several initiatives towards digitalization and automation of its processes, enabling it to improve its operations and facilitate customers thus making it easier to do business. The power utility also extends complete facilitation to industrial associations in terms of operational queries as well as new power connections.

Haleeb foods partners with SKMH to raise breast cancer awareness

Haleeb Foods, one of the leading food and Beverages Company of Pakistan once again join hands with Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital (SKMH) to organize an awareness session for its female work force and family members.

The objective of the session was to raise awareness amongst the employees about breast cancer and the importance of early detection, as well as encouraging them to look after their general health and wellbeing.

Commenting on this initiative, Sana Sheraz, Head of HR at HFL stated that, “Breast cancer is the second most common cancer amongst women in the world. This session comes as part of our continuous efforts to promote awareness amongst our staff to instill a culture of wellness. We encourage our families and people in the community to look after their health, safety and wellbeing.”

HFL being a responsible corporate entity has always shown strong dedication towards the welfare of the society and continues its support for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center in spreading awareness about breast cancer. The company has been catering to the nutritional needs of people for decades and vows to continue to do so by providing quality dairy products to the people of Pakistan.

Bankislami posts profit after tax of Rs 973 million for 9m2019

The Board of Directors of BankIslami Pakistan Limited (‘The Bank’ or ‘BankIslami’) in their meeting held on October 23, 2019 in Karachi approved the Bank’s un-audited financial results for the nine months ended September 30, 2019.

BankIslami recorded operating profit before provisions of Rs. 2,784 million, which is 18.3 times higher as compared to Rs. 144 million generated during the same period last year. Growth of 76.5% in net spreads earned, emanating from increase in earning assets of the Bank and rise in SBP policy rate, was the main contributor in improving the bottom line. Improvement in cost to income ratio from 97.2% to 66.2% was registered during the period. Taking a prudent view, the Bank booked additional provisioning against any potential delinquencies, and posted profit after tax of Rs. 973 million for nine months ended September 30, 2019 which is 8.8 times better than PAT of Rs. 99 million recorded during the same period last year.

During the period under review, BankIslami’s balance sheet depicted impressive growth despite challenges arising from prevailing economic environment. On the back of its effectively managed branch network, Bank’s Deposit base grew by 15.4% to close at Rs. 213 Bn when compared with December 2018. In line with increase in sources, assets base of the Bank also rose by 21.9% in comparison to the assets standing at the end of December 2018. Owing to pre-emptive measures taken on the recovery side, Bank’s NPL ratio trimmed to 10.6% in September 2019 vis-à-vis NPL ratio of 11.9% as at December 2018. As stated above, the Bank booked accelerated provisioning against its infected portfolio due to which coverage ratio (including general provisions) improved to 82.4% by September 2019 as opposed to coverage ratio of 72.5% at the end of December 2018.

BankIslami, to boost its capital base, is in the process of issuing Listed Additional Tier-1 Capital (Sukuk) of Rs. 2 billion [including greenshoe option of Rs. 500 million] during the year 2019. Moreover, the Bank has also announced issuance of Right Shares amounting to Rs. 1 billion which will further fortify its net worth and capital adequacy.

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