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SBP’s organizes compliance forum session for bank officials

F.P. Report

KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday organized a ‘Compliance Forum Session’ for guidance and awareness of financial institutions in implementation of Risk-based approach and alert them regarding upcoming Anti Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML / CFT) mutual evaluation of Pakistan. Besides presence of senior officials from supervisory departments of SBP, relevant officers from Banks, Developments Finance Institutions (DFIs), Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Exchange Companies and Payment System Operators also participated.

The session was chaired by Executive Director – Banking Policy & Regulations Group who observed that the AML/CFT compliance is a global phenomenon which has implications for economic and trade related activities with rest of the world. He highlighted the importance of implementing AML/CFT regime and need for further improvements in areas of transaction monitoring through sophisticated technology coupled with appropriate human resources for identifying and reporting suspicious transactions under the AML laws. He urged reporting entities to refine their efforts in risk based AML/CFT compliance and prepare well for the upcoming AML/CFT assessment.

In his presentation, the senior officer of the SBP discussed in detail the essential elements of technical compliance and effectiveness of FATF Recommendations in the context of upcoming AML/CFT mutual evaluation of Pakistan. During the session, the requisite actions including preparation of statistics/ responses to FATF assessment criteria came up for discussion and it was observed that the whole process would require dedicated efforts and seamless coordination from all AML/CFT stakeholders. The presentation was followed by Question & Answer session.

In accordance with Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) membership rules, every member country is required to undergo a process of Mutual Evaluation/ Assessment to determine the level of compliance with the international AML/CFT standards. Mutual evaluation involves a desk-based review as well as an on-site visit by a team of experts drawn from the member countries to assess a country’s AML/CFT systems. Previously, Pakistan has undergone two mutual evaluations in 2005 & 2009 and next mutual evaluation on FATF’s revised standards is expected to start in the first quarter of 2018.

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Commerce and trade envoys conference held

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The Ministry of Commerce and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan organized an interactive Trade Envoys conference at Movenpick hotel Karachi. The Envoys Conference was chaired by the Secretary Ministry of Commerce, Additional Secretary Commerce, Secretary Trade Development Authority of Pakistan and Tariq Ikram (SI). The Envoys conference was attended by all of Pakistan’s Trade Officers abroad, including Ministers’ Trade, Consuls General, Commercial Counselors and Commercial Secretaries. The conference was also attended by the top most sectoral exporters from the private sector with a view to build public private sector partnerships in policy development for exports.

The intent of the conference was to discuss and formulate strategies to enhance exports from Pakistan. It was also intended to inform the Trade Officers about the challenges and opportunities being faced by the exporters in the supply chain and in branding of Pakistani products internationally.

The main idea behind the conference was to find out ways and means in which the Pakistani trade officers can assist the exporters from Pakistan in enhancing their sectoral exports, assisting them in finding new importers and markets as well as in product adaptation and marketing strategy development.

A SWOT analysis was undertaken by the TDAP, with the support of Tariq Ikram (SI), whereby 24 intense and interactive sessions were held sector wise with the exporters in identification of areas for enhanced marketing efforts and how can better facilitation be enhanced by the Trade officers from Pakistan.

Leading exporters in Textiles, hosiery, Rice, Leather, Pharmaceuticals, Fruits and Vegetables, Processed Food, Cement, Services, Women entrepreneurship development, Furniture and Handicrafts, Sports Goods etc participated. There were five different regional sessions held wherein the Trade officers and the private sector shared their regional strategies and their respective expectations for trade development.

Based upon the interaction and exchange of ideas and information between the Trade Officers and the Exporters, joint strategies were developed for North and South Americas, Europe, ECO and South Asian Countries, Middle East and African continent, East Asia and Oceania region. It was hoped that with these interactive sessions between the public and the private sector, the strategies that are developed as a consequence, would lead to some do-able roadmap for export development.

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JCR-VIS assign rating to Pakistan’s First Basel 3 Tier 1 instrument by Bank Alfalah

F.P. Report
Karachi: JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (JCR-VIS) has assigned preliminary rating of ‘AA-’ (Double A Minus) to Bank Alfalah Limited’s proposed Basel 3 Tier-1 debt instrument. Outlook on the assigned rating is ‘Stable’. Rating will be finalized upon review of signed legal documents.
Bank Alfalah is in the process of issuing a listed, perpetual, unsecured, subordinated, non-cumulative and contingent convertible debt instruments amounting up to Rs. 7.0b (inclusive of Green Shoe Option of Rs. 2.0b). The issue proceeds will contribute towards the bank’s additional Tier-1 capital and will be utilized towards enhancement of the bank’s business operations. Bank Alfalah’s tier-1 instrument will rank ahead of claims of ordinary shareholders but below the bank’s senior creditors, including depositors and holders of Tier 2 TFC.
The assigned instrument rating draws comfort from the sound risk profile of Bank Alfalah. JCR-VIS has assigned entity ratings of AA+/A-1+ (Double A Plus/A-One Plus) to Bank Alfalah indicating high credit quality and adequate protection factors. The assigned ratings reflect the Bank’s diversified operations, healthy financial risk profile, strong sponsors and existing market presence. Bank Alfalah has exhibited sustained improvement across key performance areas including asset quality, liquidity, capitalization and profitability. At the end of September 2017, Bank Alfalah had an asset base of Rs. 969.8 billion. Tier-1 and overall CAR on a consolidated basis stood at 11.11% and 13.5%, respectively at end-September’2017.
The assigned rating portrays the relative risk of the Tier-1 instrument wherein the issuer has full discretion on coupon payments, interest servicing from only profits for the year and conversion feature in the event of pre-specified trigger events, lock-in clause and point of non-viability in terms of regulatory requirements. While the regulatory framework may not consider a missed coupon payment as a default; the credit rating methodology employed by JCR-VIS would treat such missed payments as an event of default. In normal course of business, JCR-VIS believes that chances of non-performance risk are considered remote.

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Expo Pakistan 2017 continue to attract buyers

F.P. Report
KARACHI: On the 3rd day of the Expo Pakistan 2017, the show continued its momentum and buyers and sellers continued with their business negotiations aimed at shipments both in the immediate future and extended over the next year.
Mr. Younus Dhaga, Federal Secretary Commerce and Mr. Inaam Ullah Khan, Secretary, TDAP held meetings with Sri Lankan Export Development Board where the importance of the FTA between the two countries was emphasized; the Srilankan Board showed their interest in import of leather bags, Jewellery, Construction Materials, Rice, Textile and Sanitary-ware from Pakistan.
The Secretary Commerce offered them the trade opportunity entailed in the provisions of GSP facility of Pakistan to increase their exports to the EU; besides, indicating the strengths of construction sector of Pakistan for export to Srilanka. The Secretary Commerce promised to arrange their meetings with the Textile, Automobile and Rubber manufacturers in the country.
A trade delegation of Qatari businessmen also called on the Secretary Commerce where they referred to the increased prospects of trade between the two countries after agreement of the LNG imports from Qatar to Pakistan.
The delegation emphasized a FTA between the two countries that could address the trade irritants like banking issues, pricing and freight matters between the two countries.
Secretary said that TDAP has asked the CC Doha to arrange single country exhibition to introduce Pakistani textile, rice, sugar, cement, home textile, etc in the market. A 08 member trade delegation from Uzbekistan representing pharmaceutical, agriculture, CNG, and food sectors also called upon the Pakistan`s Secretary Commerce.
The secretary said that the direct flight from Uzbekistan to Pakistan will be very helpful in ensuring smooth trade ties, in addition to the discussion of bilateral trade issues between the two countries.
A delegation of businessmen from the Czech Republic also met with the Federal Secretary who showed interest in the cosmetics, textiles, fruits sectors and were especially interested in the renewable energy sector.
The country is already doing business with Fatima Fertilizer, Sapphire & Orient group. Besides, trade delegation from UAE also called upon the Secretary Commerce and informed the Secretary that they had signed business deals with M/s. Dawn, M/s United King and M/s Big Bird.
The day witnessed a very busy schedule of meetings of foreign buyers with their Pakistani counterparts in terms of which a number of business deals were negotiated, major highlights of which included an MoU between Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Australia Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry; an MoU between All Pakistan Gems Merchant & Jeweller Association and M/s. Fakhar Malik Jewellery from Bahrain; and a Thailand company interested in signing Joint Venture with M/s Trading Vision, Lahore.
In addition, some Afghan based companies have signed MoU with EPZA to invest in purchase of land in EPZA (Karachi) worth USD 8 thousand to establish factory for processing of Pulp and dry fruit.
The exporters of meat, Dairy Products & Honey also got good response from the buyers in the show to their product range.
Besides, some buyers interested in Sports Sector are planning to visit Sialkot to meet Pakistani firms to meet their procurement needs from Pakistan.

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JS Bank, Wemsol Pvt sign a strategic partnership

F.P. Report

KARACHI: JS Bank and Wemsol Pvt Ltd have signed an agreement for Keenu NetConnect to promote e-commerce in the industry by digitizing payments and provide an unmatched digital experience for its valuable customers.

This collaboration is an extension of multiple recent strategic partnerships formed regarding the future of payments and to help evolve into providing an effective e-commerce platform.

Speaking at the occasion, Kamran Jafar, Group Head CRBG JS Bank, said “This partnership with Wemsol will lay a foundation of digital payments for e-commerce to flourish in Pakistan, which we firmly believe to be the future of payments industry”.

Imran Soomro, Chief Information Officer JS Bank, further added “Technology that brings convenience has a very high adoption rate in today’s world, and our partnership with Wemsol will provide an extremely seamless solution to our clients”.

Syed Ejaz Hassan, CEO of Wemsol Pvt Ltd., said “Through simple payment and delivery options, innovative e-commerce solutions have the potential to transform the overall consumer shopping experience, which creates a very positive environment for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to expand into the digital space.”

JS Bank is one of the fastest growing banks in Pakistan, with 323 branches in 161 cities including one international branch, and is a leading player in the digital banking space. JS Bank is also a recipient of the prestigious award for Best Environmental and Social Governance Bank at the Pakistan Banking Awards 2017. JS Bank is part of JS Group, one of the Pakistan’s most diversified and progressive financial services group.

Keenu aims at setting the right stage for your business with its complete end to end payment services. Pakistan’s first end to end payment solutions brand to offer a complete package to manage customer needs.

Considering enhanced use of online and retail shopping, Keenu provides a hybrid of physical (retail payments) and digital (Keenu NetConnect) payment methods, topped with various value additions in the form of loyalty programs and digital wallet, intended to facilitate financial institution, merchants and end consumers.

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FPCCI, KCCI held meetings with foreign trade delegates

F.P. Report
KARACHI: On the 2nd day of the Expo Pakistan 2o17, delegations from Vietnam, the Netherlands, Jordan, Argentina and Turkey met with the Federal Minister of Commerce, Mr. Mohammad Pervaiz Malik, the Federal Secretary for Commerce, Mr. Mohammad Younus Dagha, and Mr. Inamullah Khan, Secretary, TDAP and discussed special bilateral trade hurdles and opportunities, and how the same could be addressed in order to increase trade with Pakistan.
Leading businessmen from the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) and Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) held meetings with the trade delegates from Russia, UK, Thailand, Tunisia, Australia, Vietnam, Netherlands, Jordan, Argentina, Italy, Kenya, Belgium, Japan, Turkey, Sweden and Lithuania during the second day of the Expo Pakistan 2017. In addition, Joint Business Councils (JBCs) of FPCCI with UK and Morocco also met on the occasion; FPCCI signed MoU with its counterpart from Hongkong and they expected to sign MoU with their Australian counterparts by the end of the day.
On the sidelines of Expo, TDAP also arranged outside meetings of businessmen from Thailand and Bangladesh with the Sindh Board of Investment with a view to explore the possibilities of investment opportunities in the province. Further, a meeting of office bearers of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce was also held in the EXPO.
The delegation from Vietnam raised the issue of lack of direct payment between Pakistan and Vietnam, which was hurting the trade interests of the two countries, which was discussed to be resolved by arranging meeting between the banking authorities of the two countries. Besides, a number of trade deals were negotiated by the M/s. Towellers with buyers from UK, USA & Europe. This time, the trade delegation from the Netherlands (led by the Pakistan Ambassador at the Hague) is biggest in the history of such delegations from the Netherlands to Pakistan on the occasion of the Expo Pakistan. Besides, Qatari delegation showed particular interest in setting-up food chains outlets in Pakistan.

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Overseas Pakistanis remit US $6.4 billion in the first four months of FY18

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Overseas Pakistani workers remitted US $6444.46 million in the first four months (July to October) of FY18, compared with US $6301.39 million received during the same period in the preceding year.

During October 2017, the inflow of worker’s remittances amounted to US $1654.45 million, which is 27.87% higher than September 2017 and 5.99% higher than October 2016. The country wise details for the month of October 2017 show that inflows from Saudi Arabia, UAE, USA, UK, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman) and EU countries amounted to US $461.07 million, US $333.57 million, US $215.64 million, US $270.46 million, US $184.76 million and US $51.12 million respectively compared with the inflow of US $470.19 million, US $358.38 million, US $183.26 million, US $173.4 million, US $183.13 million and US $35.36 million respectively in October 2016. Remittances received from Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Japan and other countries during October 2017 amounted to US $137.83 million together as against US $157.30 million received in October 2016.







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Nielsen Pakistan organized special client events

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Nielsen Pakistan held special client events in Karachi and Lahore, where the regional leadership team highlighted new and innovative tools to help business address digitalization. The events focused on the importance of going digital in innovative ways and how it is necessary to understand and accept rapid changes that have become characteristic of doing business in the age of information.

In the growing marketplace, it is imperative to stay ahead of the curve. Consumer’s mindsets and preferences are constantly changing and evolving with market trends, creating the need to combine insights and business intelligence with action to capitalize on growth opportunities. Consumers are now relying more on online chatter and to win with the increasing competition, it is vital for companies to tap into digital solutions and sales execution monitoring tools available online.

Quratulain Ibrahim, Managing Director for Nielsen Pakistan said, “Nielsen is one of the largest, global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing, retail, and consumer information. We help companies navigate key trends and marketplace dynamics to help grow their brand. Currently, for brands to win they must also be aware of both offline and online consumer behavior, and we are at the forefront of technology constantly innovating and upgrading solutions. Pakistan is a growth market for many companies and is a priority for Nielsen. We are pleased to share our global tools and solutions with the industry experts in Pakistan to help grow their businesses.”

Consequently, market research has also evolved from an offline only approach to a mix of online and offline in order to serve the needs of retailers. The process of data analysis has become more digital, and Nielsen is addressing these needs with new and exciting solutions. They are now offering services to assist with brand tracking, maximizing retailer marketing efforts, and most importantly technology is being utilized to reach out to consumers more effectively to improve insights.

Nielsen Pakistan, one of the leading market research companies, has also been shifting to a device-based data capturing system in order to keep up with the market trends. Today it is all about the connected consumer, understanding them, tracking their purchase habits and maximizing their experience. At the event, Nielsen educated industry experts to use technology, and shift towards a more digital and innovative consumer approach, to provide consumers with a seamless online experience.

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Reefland organized ‘Dealer Meet 2017’

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Reefland, one of the Pakistan’s top fashion footwear brands, organized its Dealer Meet 2017 at Faletti’s Hotel. The purpose of the Dealers Meet 2017 was to appreciate the efforts and support of its partners.

As to mark and celebrate the success and redefining the future goals, the company unveiled its coming summer and winter footwear collections for the year 2018. The new designs showcased the fine craft, chic and classy styles that fashionistas would not be able to ignore.

Entire team of Reefland attended the event and cherished the continued and long-lasting partnership of the company and its dealers. Further they said that this partnership will open new horizons of success for the brand. Moreover, the guests loved the designs and quality of the 2018 footwear line and showed their gratitude towards this partnership.

Reefland is one of the leading fashion footwear brands in Pakistan. Reefland believes shoes are the centerpiece of one’s look, giving confidence and attitude. It’s an iconic brand dedicated to creating confident, stylish footwear that anyone can wear. From drawing the first sketches to presenting the finished shoes in stores, Reefland applies the utmost attention to every detail and quality.

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Cooperation in energy sector will continues: David

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: US Ambassador in Pakistan Mr. David Hale met Federal Minister for Power Division, Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Laghari.
During the meeting matters relating to the existing cooperation in the field of energy between Pakistan and USA came under discussion.
Federal Minister for Power Division expressed gratitude on the US assistance in the improvement of Power Distribution and Transmission system. The Federal Minister specially mentioned the USAID communication system for National Power Control Center which has helped the power sector in many ways specially in scientifically assessing the demand and supply situations .
The Federal Minister while highlighting the opportunities that the energy sector offer for the investors, said that US entrepreneurs should invest in the sector and get good return. He said that Pakistan’s renewable energy sector is fast expanding and with the introduction of competitive regime the sector will offer best opportunity for the investors.
The Federal Minister said that Pakistan desire to further cement the existing cooperation in they field of energy with USA. He said that since the USA companies have greater experience in renewable energy, close working will also boost the capacity of energy sector in Pakistan.
The Minister underscored the need of frequent exchanges of expert level delegation between the two countries in order to take benefit from each other experiences.
The US Ambassador assured the Federal Minister that the existing cooperation in the energy sector between the two countries will continues. He said that USA is also working closely to provide further assistance to the Pakistan in the renewable energy. He said that private sector in USA is closely and keenly watching the fast expanding opportunities in the energy sector of Pakistan.
The USA Ambassador informed the Federal Minister that an expert level delegation headed by Additional Secretary Power Division will be participating in Power Generation Conference at Las Viegas during this month. He agreed with the Federal Minister for enchanting the frequency of exchange of expert delegation between the two countries.
Secretary Power Division Mr. Yousuf Naseem Khokhar was also present during the meeting.