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Zong 4G offers free access on WhatsApp to any network

F.P. Report
KARACHI: Being at the forefront of Pakistan’s data revolution, country’s largest data network, Zong 4G, has announced an un-paralleled offer for its data users.
Customers can now enjoy unlimited access to world’s largest connectivity platform, WhatsApp, at Pakistan’s largest data network, Zong 4G, for absolutely no charge.
Powered by the fastest 4G network in the country, Zong continues to balance affordability with seamless connectivity, as it continues to expand its 4G data coverage to all corners of Pakistan.
Through this offer Zong 4G has catered to the ever-growing data needs of its new-age customers. By providing free access to all WhatsApp services, Zong 4G allows its customers to stay connected and make unlimited calls through WhatsApp, to all networks, anywhere in the world, even without any balance.
The offer extends to both video and voice calls and further includes multimedia sharing/downloading, voice and text messages, through one of the most widely used smartphone applications in the world.
Any Postpaid, Prepaid, Internet SIM or Mobile Broadband subscriber can simply dial *247# to start availing this service. After activation, all WhatsApp services continue free of charge, without any data caps or limits, till the continuation of the offer.
This year, Zong has made some major announcements that are poised to transform the industry landscape. The company is expanding its 4G footprint to all of Pakistan, making 100% of its network 4G enabled. Zong’s management has also recently stated that “all Pakistanis are our customers” displaying a far-sighted approach that transcends the traditional boundaries of subscribership.
Zong 4G’s partnerships with some of the most widely accessed platforms in Pakistan such as Facebook, WhatsApp & Daraz, reflects its core desire to seamlessly integrate all subscriber preferred applications into its state-of-the-art, high quality network, for the best & most optimal user experience.
Through its relentless focus on customer-centricity, Zong 4G continues to build its network and services around the unique requirements of its subscribers.
This is also reflected by the fact that more than 70% of 4G users in Pakistan prefer to use Zong 4G’s super-fast network.

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MCB enters into MoU with TMF

F.P. Report

LAHORE: MCB Bank, one of the largest & most innovative banks in Pakistan, has entered into a strategic alliance with leading Sindh based microfinance service provider Thardeep Microfinance Foundation (TMF) for digital financial services.

At the signing ceremony, Faisal Ejaz Khan, CIO MCB Bank, apprised the TMF team on the bank’s diverse digital product portfolio. Sono Khangharani, CEO, TMF, also spoke of greater collaboration between the two organizations and proposed different initiatives to strengthen ties between the financial sector and the microfinance sector. The MoU was signed between Faisal Ejaz Khan CIO MCB Bank and Sono Khangharani, CEO, TMF in the presence of senior executives of both organizations.

Established in 1998, Thardeep Microfinance Foundation (TMF) is a community loans provider that helps unbanked / un-served micro-entrepreneurs increase their income through doorstep microfinance services without collateral.

The company provides a variety of financial products to help equip their clients with the knowledge and skill required to reduce poverty and drive sustainable development.

MCB Bank, is one of the Largest & most Innovative banks in Pakistan. The Bank operates a strong and vast network of over 1300 ATMs, over 1300 branches in Pakistan and 11 branches overseas. MCB Bank was awarded ‘Best Bank in Pakistan, 2016 by Euromoney & Finance Asia’ and the bank continues to maintain a strong rating of AAA/A1+. With a customer base of over 06 million, it leads the banking & financial services sector in Pakistan and Customers across the globe have 24/7 access to MCB Bank via our World Class Internet Banking.

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McDonald’s takes a deep dive to promote active lifestyle!

F.P. Report
KARACHI: The 22nd McDonald’s National Age-Group Boys Swimming Championship 2017 was organized by Sindh Swimming Association with support of McDonald’s. This was the 8th consecutive year of McDonald’s Pakistan supporting the event.
The event started at 7:30 am on 11th November, 2017, and concluded successfully with a closing ceremony on 12th November, 2017 at 5 pm.
The competition was held at International NPT & SC Swimming Pool, PNS Karsaz, with the top 100 participants of age groups ranging 12-16 years competing from schools, colleges and clubs from all over the country.
It is no surprise that McDonald’s, an advocate for all kinds of healthy competition, supports such grand events. McDonald’s has actively promoted athletics in Pakistan so that more people can become involved in physical activities, as they believe that it is the key to taking the nation forward.
Jamil Ahmed Mughal, Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald’s Pakistan stated that McDonald’s will continue its support in providing a platform for competitive and engaging activities.

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Bullish trend witnessed as PSX gains 150 points

KARACHI (PPI): A bullish trend at the Pakistan Stock Exchange was witnessed as the KSE-100 index closed around the 40,800 points mark on Thursday after witnessing a positive change of 0.37 per cent.

The index gained 150 points during the day’s trading session with investors trading shares valuing more than Rs4.16 billion.

The market closed at 40,813 points, reaching a high of 40,886 points during the day’s trading. A normal trading session was witnessed with KSE-100 volume trading 51.5 million shares today.

Textile composite stocks led the volumes with 18.5m shares being traded followed by technology and communication companies with 11m shares traded.

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Pak-Russia agree to strengthen bilateral trade ties

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Minister for Commerce and Textile, Pervaiz Malik, has expressed interest in further strengthening cooperation in all fields of mutual interest including trade, energy, defence, and culture.

The Minister is currently on a visit to Moscow held a meeting with Russian Minister for Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting under Shanghai Coordination Organization (SCO).

The two Ministers expressed satisfaction at the upward trajectory of bilateral relations and expressed interest in further strengthening cooperation in all fields of mutual interest including trade, energy, defense and culture, says a statement received here from Moscow on Thursday.

They also agreed on making joint efforts to enhance trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. On the occasion Pervaiz Malik extended invitation to Denis Manturov for a visit to Pakistan at his earliest convenience to which Mr Denis responded positively and accepted the invitation.

Earlier, the Commerce Minister attend the 16th Meeting of Ministers of SCO member states responsible for foreign economic and foreign trade activity in Moscow from November 13 to 16. He was accompanied by MNA Shaista Malik and two officials of the Ministry of Commerce.

The meeting was attended by Ministers of Commerce and Trade of the eight members of the SCO as well as Observers. The Ministers deliberated on the topic of “Current situation and prospects for further development of multilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation in the region of SCO”.

In his Statement made at the meeting, the Minister highlighted that Pakistan will work proactively with fellow SCO-member states to realize the goals and objectives of this forum in keeping with the SCO Charter and the ‘Shanghai Spirit’ of mutual trust, and shared development.

He said his country looked forward to advancing the overarching goals of SCO to strengthen political, economic and trade relations between the member states and promoting regional peace, security and stability.

“Pakistan is a natural SCO partner, ideally located to provide links for regional economic integration within and between SCO member states,” he said adding China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is in step with SCO’s efforts to create trans-continental overland connectivity resulting in stronger regional economic integration.

Pakistan is partnering in a number of key regional energy and infrastructure initiatives including Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) and CASA-1000.

He said Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have agreed to initiate a bus service that would not only enhance trade but also be an important tool to promote people-to-people contacts among the four countries.

Pervaiz Malik said in line with the government’s vision of shared prosperity through connectivity, Pakistan has undertaken several initiatives which include rebooting of Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA ) among China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Pakistan, which is also being joined by Tajikistan.

He said the QTTA serves as a channel to regional connectivity and would become even more effective with Pakistan’s membership of SCO.

SCO, Pakistan’s strategic aim is to utilize its unique geopolitical position and economic capital to build trade, energy and communications corridors linking South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and China.

The Government of Pakistan, he said is working on domestic reforms that would help in promoting regional trade and connectivity.

The initiatives include establishment of the National Single Window to expedite trade clearance, aggressive implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement and tariff rationalization to improve further our competitiveness and r educe the cost of doing business, he added.

The Minister expressed support for a regional Free Trade Agreement under SCO with a view to opening up partnership opportunities for the whole region.

He underscored that a trade led growth in the region would play a key role in bringing economic prosperity, employment and sustainable development.

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UBL Omni, TPL Rupiya, EvantageSoft sign MoU

F.P. Report

KARACHI: TPL Rupiya, TPL Holdings payment service vertical, has joined hands with UBL Omni and EvantageSoft to introduce cashless payments for its mass transit customers. This will allow passengers of Lahore Transport Company (LTC), a Lahore-based public transit bus system, to make daily commute payments using their UBL Omni bank accounts. The MoU was signed by representatives of the three institutions at a ceremony held in Karachi.

Under this strategic partnership, TPL Rupiya will provide extension to UBL Omni services for its existing customer base that relies on the Mass Transit System. The technology platform is being provided by EvantageSoft, a Planet N company. The solution will enable LTC passengers to avail a first of its kind “Tap n Pay” solution. TPL will issue NFC Cards for online payments and UBL Omni bank accounts will be linked for enabling these payments. TPL Rupiya, using its state-of-the-art e-ticketing system, is currently serving more than 100,000 passengers across multiple LTC bus operators.

Ali Jameel, Group CEO TPL Holdings said, ‘This project has been a challenge for us. It will be a trendsetter and will lead Pakistan in to the digital era. We have envisioned it as a project facilitating the masses. Pakistan has witnessed digital economic transformation that has changed the way how we transact and manage payments. Now we should step up to pay with a single wallet i.e. digital platform or card or mobile (tap and pay). This will further reduce the need for cash’.

Arif Sirhindi, Group Executive Payment Services Group UBL said, ‘UBL is playing an active role in digitizing Pakistan’s economy. Collaborating holds critical significance for successful transitioning to a cashless economy. All the stakeholders will have to put in their efforts to create a lasting impact. UBL aims at convenience for customers and LTC passengers can now preload their cards from UBL Omni and just tap n pay to commute.’

Nadeem Hussain, Group CEO Planet N said, ‘We are moving from cash economy to digital economy. The benefits will not end here. Once people are brought to the digital economy, we can offer them credit, life insurance, health insurance and savings programs’.

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Conversion of public transport on CNG to improve environment

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, Central Leader All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Wednesday said public transport should be converted on CNG in Punjab to offset to impact of smog and air pollution. He said that dozens of countries have converted their public transport environment-friendly fuel and Pakistan should follow the suit by introducing CNG in the public transport in the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala and Multan so that masses can get some relief.

The APCNGA is ready to cooperate with the government of Punjab in this regard while the availability of CNG kits and cylinders will be ensured, he said.

Ghiyas Paracha said this while talking to Punjab Minister for Environment Begum Zakia Shah Nawaz. Secretary of the ministry Saif Anjum, APCNGA leaders Captain (retd) Shuja, Waqas Ahmed and others were also present on the occasion.

The leader of the CNG sector said that apart from the public transport, at least fifty percent of the vehicles should be converted on CNG to improve environment on a faster pace as there is no shortage of gas anywhere in the country. Expressing concern over smog and increased air pollution which has badly disturbed daily life in Punjab, he offered all the out cooperation to the government to handle the situation.

At the occasion, provincial Minister for Environment Begum Zakia Shah Nawaz and secretary environment said that provincial government is closing industrial units which are causing pollution while urgent steps are being taken to convert public transport on CNG.

They asked the APCNGA leaders to ensure the proper price of the fuel so that it can become popular in the masses. The representatives of All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) and government are engaged in the negotiations to fine-tune details of the conversion of public transport on CNG.

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Deadline for filing tax returns extended till November 30

ISLAMABAD (APP): The deadline for filing of income tax returns has been extended till November 30.

Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar on Wednesday approved the extension of the due date for filing of Income Tax Returns/Statements by companies, salaried individuals, other individuals and AOPs.

It was felt that the taxpayers could not find ample time for filing their tax returns.

A recent study of the World Bank has found that Pakistan suffers an annual tax loss of Rs3.2 trillion due to weak enforcement and low compliance by taxpayers.

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Public-private talks must for trade policy framework, says DG

F.P. Report

LAHORE: The Ministry of Commerce’s forthcoming Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2018-2023 will be formulated while incorporating the insight obtained from constructive and broad-based engagement between the public and private sectors.

Noman Aslam, Director General of Trade Policy Ministry of Commerce said this while addressing a roundtable ‘Achieving Export Competitiveness in Pakistan’held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), here on Tuesday.

He said that Pakistan’s movement towards a more forward-looking and longer-term approach since 2009, when the MoC drafted its first 3-year STPF. In this regard, he mentioned the Ministry’s forthcoming trade policy framework, which will be valid for 5 years, between 2018 and 2023.

Speaking on Pakistan’s decline in exports over the last 2 decades, Gonzalo J. Varela, Senior Economist at the World Bank Group (WBG),presented the detail of country’s challenges in penetrating more diverse export markets and leveraging global value chains as a vehicle of sustained economic growth.

He explained how Pakistan’s overall share of the global export market had declined in comparison to peer economies such as India and Bangladesh, even though the country’s exports had increased in absolute terms. To reverse this decline, he recommended more market and product diversification and measures to improve the quality and sophistication of Pakistan’s export basket.

Providing further insight on the decline of trade and investment in Pakistan, Nadia Rocha, Senior Economist at the WBG, recommended introducing modern trade facilitation measures and a flexible exchange rate mechanism in the country. She recommended measures to reduce the cost-of-doing business, with a few towards creating a more favorable climate for foreign direct investment. In this regard, she also highlighted the need for greater trade liberalization efforts, which can boost productivity and export competitiveness in Pakistan.

Earlier, Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Deputy Executive Director at SDPI, highlighted key issues identified by the business community in the context of nation-wide consultations held by the organization.

He explained how, despite recent investments in the energy sector, the cost of energy was still higher than in regional economies.

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Bank Alfalah partners with Yayvo.com for e-commerce payments

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Bank Alfalah and Yayvo.com signed a Memorandum of Understanding, allowing Bank Alfalah customers to conveniently purchase items from one of Pakistan’s biggest e-commerce stores, further enhancing the scope of e-commerce and digital payments in the country.

Yayvo.com will integrate Bank Alfalah’s payment gateway and power Bank Alfalah’s Orbit Mall for the bank’s loyalty customers, account and card holders. Under this agreement, Bank Alfalah customers will be also able to redeem Orbit reward points and also use Bank Alfalah Accounts and Credit Cards on the revamped Orbit Mall. In addition to providing ease of payment and quick delivery, this will greatly enhance the range of items customers can purchase with their reward points and other payment instruments, as well as opening up many more avenues of collaboration in the future.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Nauman Ansari (CEO, Bank Alfalah) said, “This partnership highlights how both organisations have effectively capitalized on their strengths, increasing the range of choices that customers have. With Bank Alfalah’s payment gateway integrated into Yayvo’s e-commerce space, customers now have access to thousands of products which can be purchased via easy e-payment options.”

M.A . Mannan (President & CEO, TCS Holdings) said, “Yayvo.com is one of Pakistan’s fastest growing ecommerce companies which is utilising TCS’s delivery expertise and reach to make our customers live easy, simple and convenient for all their purchasing needs. Our partnership with Bank Alfalah will mark an important step in making online purchasing a trusted and secure option for all customers.”

Since its inception, Bank Alfalah has grown rapidly to become Pakistan’s fifth largest private bank, the largest issuer and acquirer of credit cards and one of the largest Islamic Banking businesses in the country. The Bank has a network of 650 branches spanning more than 200 cities with presence in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bahrain in addition to a representative office in the UAE. The Bank serves more than 1.5 million corporate, retail, small business, agricultural, Islamic and asset financing customers.

Yayvo was launched in September 2015, by TCS to move a step ahead in the journey of delivering beyond customer expectations. Yayvo strives to be Pakistan’s most customer-focused company, with an emphasis on bringing the latest, fastest to all its customers! The website has over 6 million pageviews a month, with a 15% month-on-month growth rate in order base. In the last year alone, Yayvo has increased its orders by 588%, attracting over 800,000 new visitors every month.