JS Bank Enables Ease of Business for Freelancing Community

January 27, 2020: Pakistan is the world’s 4th largest freelance market primarily due to mushrooming numbers in call centers, software houses, tech companies, and content freelancers, Forbes reported. The greatest challenge being faced by the sector is payment receipt with popular options such as Paypal absent from the market and traditional wire transfers taking ages to arrive.

Realizing the need for the market, JS Bank has launched the ‘Freelance Wallet’, a global payment product allowing freelancers to receive payments from more than 40 countries directly on their mobile numbers. This product was launched in alliance with Paysend, one of the fastest-growing international money transfer services under the State Bank of Pakistan’s initiative of Home Remittance Account (HRA). 

Funds can now be sent directly to mobile numbers in Pakistan with the receiver receiving SMS intimation of the transfer. Funds can be withdrawn after verification from branchless banking agents, JS Bank branches or via ATM cards (for existing customers). This has greatly simplified the process for incoming freelancer remittances through the reduction of gray channels and improved safety and transparency.

Committed towards its role as a catalyst towards the progress and prosperity of Pakistan, JS Bank hopes to continue this journey of digitalization by providing a variety of innovative conventional and digital solutions in the years ahead.

Press Release


CDNS committed to complying with FATF recommendations to safeguard...

January 27, 2020: Finance Division has maintained that CDNS is committed to mitigating the deficiency to improve customer service delivery and to comply with the FATF recommendation to safeguard the investors’ interests, said in a financial statement.

Banks under the supervision of SBP have already put in place all the required systems and KYCs (Know Your Customers) processes to comply with the FATF recommendations. In order to implement this requirement, Finance Division through promulgation of National Savings Schemes (AML-CFT) Rules, 2019 has decided to engage an AML-CFT compliant bank, through competitive bidding, to put in place the requirements as well as the necessary training of employees of National Savings.

Accordingly, Expression of Interest, in consultation with SBP, has been sought from the interested bank to conduct KYC and other requirement of new as well as existing clients of CDNS. This will include the biometric verisys and screening of potential clients in UN Proscribed person List. All these screenings are meant to stop any ill-gotten money to become part of financial system and to safeguard the valued investor from the menace of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.

Finance Division therefore reiterates that the steps of the Government are aimed at making the CDNS compliant with the FATF requirement and are not intended to jeopardize the interests of the account holders / customers. Moreover, third-party arrangement will make the organization i.e CDNS more transparent and viable for the customers and will not in any case affect its financial business.


Press Release

Gold price gains Rs 550, traded at Rs 91,550...

January 27, 2020: The per tola price of 24 karat gold appreciated by Rs 550 on Monday and was traded at Rs 91,550 as compared to Rs 91,000 on last trading day, Karachi Sarafa Association reported.

Likewise, the price of 10-gram gold witnessed an increase of Rs 472 and was traded at Rs 78,490 against the last closing of Rs 78,018.

The price of silver remained stable and was traded at Rs 1000 and that of 10-gram silver was traded at Rs 857.33.

In the international market, the price of per ounce gold gained $11 and was traded at $1583 against $1572, Karachi Sarafa Association reported.


Engineering Development Board to participate in ‘Engage Africa’ Conference

Jan 27, 2020: A trade delegation from the Domestic Engineering Industry is all set to participate in the “1st Africa-Pakistan Trade Development Conference" scheduled from January 30 to 31 in Nairobi (Kenya).

The delegation would be led by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Industries & Production, Commerce, Textile and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, said an EDB press statement, adding the conference was being organized under “Engage Africa” initiative of Pakistan.

Almas Hyder would represent Engineering Development Board (EDB) in the conference, it added.

The objective of trade delegation’s visit is to explore trade enhancement opportunities in the African region which is one of the potential markets for Pakistan’s exports, being the 2nd largest continent in the world, spreading over 20% of the world landmass and a collective GDP of over 2.3 trillion.

It offers an import market of around US$ 500 billion, the statement said adding that in 2018, trade between Pakistan and Africa stood at US$ 3.6 billion which could be doubled with serious efforts.

There is a huge untapped export potential for Pakistani domestic engineering industry to cater to the needs of the African market.

The government has been pursuing an export led growth strategy for economic stability which could be achieved withfocus on the export of value added products pro-actively towards perspective customers and target markets.

The statement added that EDB had been playing a vital role to strengthen the local Engineering sector and integrate it with the world market to make it the driving force for economic growth.

It is anticipated that the engineering sector would become the largest exporting sector from Pakistan and goal is to substantially increase exports from the current level of US$1.3 billion.

The statement added that EDB had been working in close coordination with the all relevant organizations in order to make this trade delegation’s visit a success.

Representatives from engineering sub-sectors like tractor manufacturers, motorcycle & rickshaw manufacturers, electric fans manufacturers, surgical instruments, pumps & motors, cutlery & utensils manufacturers and engineering services would be part of the delegation.

This conference is not only expected to enhance economic activities between Pakistan and African region but would also prove to be conducive in deepening cultural/social links.

The conference will include multiple sessions of B2B with the counterparts in order to achieve positive results.


Pakistan’s economic freedom improves: Report

Jan 27, 2020: Pakistan’s economic freedom overall score has improved by 0.6 percent with higher scores for judicial effectiveness and property rights outpacing modest performance in monetary freedom and fiscal health.

According to a report compiled by Washington based Heritage Foundation, Pakistan's economic freedom score is 55 and its economy is the 131st freest in the 2019 index.

Pakistan is ranked 32nd among 43 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages, the report added.

At global level Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand are the top three ranked countries at the world economic freedom index.

In South Asia, Bhutan is ranked at 78, Sri Lanka 115, Bangladesh 121, India 129, Pakistan 131, Nepal 136, Maldives 141, and Afghanistan is at 152.

The report said that although some aspects of economic freedom had advanced modestly in Pakistan in recent years, decades of internal political disputes and low levels of foreign investment had led to erratic growth and underdevelopment.

Excessive state involvement in the economy but omnipresent regulatory agencies inhibit private business formation. Lack of access to bank credit undermines entrepreneurship, and the financial sector’s isolation from the outside world slows innovation.

The foundation defines economic freedom as “the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labour and property.”

The report pointed out that in economically free societies, governments allow labor, capital, and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.

The report argues that in an economically free society, “individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please”.

The foundation measures economic freedom by assessing the rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency and access to open market. The data is shared with investors, business and finance leaders, policymakers, academics, journalists, students, and teachers.

The report added that the tax system of Pakistan is complex despite reforms to cut rates and broaden the tax base. The top personal income tax rate is 30 percent, and the top corporate tax rate has been cut to 30 percent. The overall tax burden equals 12.4 percent of total domestic income.

Over the past three years, the government spending has amounted to 20.3 percent of the country’s output (GDP), and budget deficits have averaged 5.1 percent of GDP.

Progress in improving the entrepreneurial environment as been modest. The government’s 2018–2019 budget increased spending on subsidies for the construction sector and for such items as food (especially sugar), power, water, and textiles by 36 percent.

The combined value of exports and imports is equal to 25.8 percent of GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 10.1 percent.

As of June 30, 2018, according to the WTO, Pakistan had 66 non tariff measures in force. Excessive state involvement in the economy and restrictions on foreign investment are serious drags on economic dynamism. About 25 percent of adult Pakistanis have access to an account with a formal banking institution, the report added.


Omar Ayub, Nadeem Babar share structural reforms in energy...

Jan 27, 2020: Federal Minister for Energy,  Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar shared with High Commissioner of Malaysia to Pakistan Ikram Muhammad Ibrahim, the structural reforms being carried out in the Energy sector of the country including with a special focus on the ease of doing business in the energy sector of Pakistan.

High Commissioner of Malaysia to Pakistan Ikram Muhammad Ibrahim had called on Federal Minister for Energy,  Omar Ayub Khan and Nadeem Babar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Petroleum at the Petroleum Division on Monday. The High Commissioner apprised the  Minister and the Special Assistant about preparations being undertaken for the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Malaysia.

Federal Minister, Omar Ayub Khan invited Malaysian investors to fully participate in the auction of oil and gas blocks that will be offered to foreign investors shortly with 18 initial blocks in the first phase.

The SAPM also shared the possibility of Petronas acquiring divested shares from OGDCL, PPL and Mari Petroleum that will be divested to shared partners. Babar also invited Petronas to favorably look at LNG infrastructure development opportunities in Pakistan. He also mentioned Malaysian investors can benefit in areas such as LPG, refinery upgradation etc.

The Malaysian envoy  commended initiatives taken by the Federal Minister, SAPM and Petroleum Division to facilitate ease of doing business in Pakistan's Energy sector and remarked that Malaysia looked at Pakistan in general and the Pakistani Energy market as of great potential. He also appreciated the fiscal stabilization agenda of the present Government which is akin to such a process being executed in Malaysia. He was optimistic on Petronas establishing a strong presence in Pakistan in a cross section of Pakistan's energy industry.

The Malaysian High Commissioner expressed feelings of warmth and a special place that the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahatir Muhammad has towards the state and people of Pakistan. He shared how the Malaysian Government is looking forward towards the Prime Minister's visit.  Omar Ayub Khan and Nadeem Babar reciprocated the sentiments of the High Commissioner and mentioned that Prime Minister Imran Khan attaches great importance to Malaysia and has deep respect for Dr. Mahatir Muhammad whom he notes is an elder statesman who has been his role model in politics. They agreed that both countries are close and the existing bonds would cement further by PM Khan's visit and in the years to come.


Closing Bell: Calm before the calm?

January 27, 2020 (MNL): Following a week full of disappointing performances, the KSE-100 yet again failed to incite the market spectators as it lost 93 points in today's session and closed at 42,539-mark.

The sentiments of investors remained repressed throughout the session, despite today being the eve of Monetary Policy Announcement, as the expectation of the central bank maintaining status quo continued to dampen sentiment.

The Index traded in a range of 266.83 points or 0.63 percent of previous close, showing an intraday high of 42,737.90 and a low of 42,471.07.

Of the 92 traded companies in the KSE100 Index 45 closed up 46 closed down, while 1 remained unchanged. Total volume traded for the index was 126.38 million shares.

Sector wise, the index was let down by Oil & Gas Exploration Companies with 93 points, Power Generation & Distribution with 37 points, Textile Composite with 15 points, Commercial Banks with 14 points and Inv. Banks / Inv. Cos. / Securities Cos. with 8 points.

The most points taken off the index was by OGDC which stripped the index of 41 points followed by HUBC with 31 points, POL with 24 points, PPL with 22 points and MEBL with 15 points.

Sectors propping up the index were Fertilizer with 40 points, Cement with 19 points, Transport with 9 points, Automobile Assembler with 7 points and Paper & Board with 3 points.

The most points added to the index was by ENGRO which contributed 29 points followed by HBL with 15 points, FFC with 15 points, PIBTL with 9 points and MLCF with 8 points.

All Share Volume increased by 25.44 Million to 198.48 Million Shares. Market Cap increased by Rs.0.14 Billion.

Total companies traded were 350 compared to 350 from the previous session. Of the scrips traded 166 closed up, 169 closed down while 15 remained unchanged.

Total trades increased by 6,941 to 71,835.

Value Traded decreased by 0.16 Billion to Rs.6.57 Billion


Top Ten by Volume

Maple Leaf Cement Factory25,961,000
Pakistan International Bulk Terminal25,183,500
Fauji Cement Company12,145,500
Pakistan International Airlines Corp9,892,000
D.G. Khan Cement Company9,081,000
Fauji Foods8,705,000
Cherat Cement Company5,876,000
Dewan Cement5,728,500
Unity Foods5,436,000



Top Sector by Volume

Technology & Communication17,312,900
Food & Personal Care Products10,813,170
Commercial Banks9,556,300
Vanaspati & Allied Industries5,436,300
Power Generation & Distribution5,140,500
Inv. Banks / Inv. Cos. / Securities Cos.4,392,500



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ISL’s profitability drops considerably by 73% YoY

January 27, 2020 (MLN): International Steels Limited has declared net earnings of Rs.465.9 million with an Earning per share of Rs. 1.07 for the half-year ended on December 31, 2019, i.e. nearly 73% lower than the earnings of the same period last year.

The decline in net profits is mainly attributable to the normalization of the tax rate and an increase in finance cost.

During the period, the topline of the company declined marginally by 1.62%YoY, on account of lower volumes. In addition, despite lower raw material prices, the gross margins declined 3 ppts to 9% from 12% on the back of PKR devaluation.

Moreover, the Company witnessed a massive rise in finance cost from Rs 591.8 million to Rs 1.34 billion mainly due to rise in running finance for higher working capital requirements and higher borrowing cost.

With regards to the company’s major expense head, admin expenses remained stagnant while distribution cost surged by 62%YoY.

Financial Results for the Half-year ended December 31, 2019 ('000 Rupees)




% Change

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Cost of Sales




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Profit before taxation for the year








Profit after taxation for the year




Earnings per share - basic and diluted (Rupees)





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PKR stands firm against dollar

January 27, 2020 (MLN): Pakistani rupee (PKR) closed today's trading session relatively unchanged against the USD with the rate remaing stable at PKR 154.57

The rupee traded within a very narrow range of 6 paisa per USD showing an intraday high bid of 154.60 and an intraday Low offer of 154.55.

Within the Open Market, PKR was traded at 154.50/155.20 per USD.

Alternatively, the currency gained 1.2 rupees against the Pound Sterling as the day's closing quote stood at PKR 201.99 per GBP, while the previous session closed at PKR 203.2 per GBP.

Similarly, PKR's value strengthened by 43 paisa against EUR which closed at PKR 170.35 at the interbank today.

On another note, within the money market, the overnight repo rate towards close of the session was 13.20/13.40 percent, whereas the 1 week rate was 13.20/13.35 percent.

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Fauji Foods incurs heavy losses worth Rs 5.78 billion

January 27, 2020 (MLN): Fauji Foods Limited (FFL) has announced its financial results for the year ended on December 31, 2019. As per the results, the company incurred huge losses of Rs 5.78 billion (LPS: Rs 10.96), up by 2.03 times YoY when compared to the same period last year.

During the period, the sales revenue were down nearly by 25% YoY which caused gross loss to increase by around 2.3 times YoY to Rs 678 million. However, the cost of sales of the company dropped by 19% YoY.

The company’s marketing and distribution expenses plunged by 27.1% YoY whereas it incurred loss allowance on trade debts of Rs 7.67 million during the said period.

On the other hand, the other income rose by 5.5 times YoY to Rs 98.31 million. The finance cost soared by 2.5 times YoY, from Rs 674 million to Rs 1.69 billion due to a rise in borrowings with a substantial increase in interest rate, resulting in weakening bottom-line.

Moreover, the company paid taxes worth Rs 1.53 billion during the year, while it got a tax credit of Rs 463 million last year.


Profit and Loss Account for the year ended December 31, 2019 (Rs)




% Change





Cost of Sales




Gross Loss




Marketing and distribution expenses




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Loss for the period




Loss per share - basic and diluted (in Rupees)





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