COMPANY NEWS

Published June 10, 2024

HabibMetro’s exchange service

HabibMetro entered the currency exchange market with the launch of its new subsidiary, HabibMetro Exchange Services (HMES), which was established with a license from the State Bank and a paid-up capital of Rs1 billion, as per a press release.

This move will provide seamless and secure currency exchange solutions, underscoring the bank’s dedication to addressing varying customer needs. During the inauguration ceremony, held on June 4, 2024, at its main branch on II Chundrigar Road, Karachi, Yawer Ali Gulani, CEO of HMES, stated, “With our commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction, we are confident that HMES will set a new standard in the currency exchange industry.”

U Bank launches Islamic banking

U Microfinance Bank (U Bank) has launched its first Islamic Banking Window in Karachi, aiming to extend Sharia-compliant banking services across all 28 branches in the city, as per a press release.

This initiative reflects U Bank’s commitment to financial inclusion and the growth of Islamic banking in Pakistan. At the inauguration, President and CEO Mohamed Essa Al Taheri stated, “This initiative underscores our dedication to the national agenda of financial inclusion.” Syed Irfan Ali, Executive Director of the State Banks’ Financial Inclusion Group, highlighted that customers preferring non-conventional banking services can now access Islamic banking.

UBL extends Rs20bn to Engro

United Bank Limited (UBL) concluded a Rs20 billion bilateral finance facility for Engro Fertilisers Limited, a transaction that marks a significant milestone in the bilateral relationship between a major conglomerate and a leading bank, as per a press release. The bank also recently launched its UBL Currency Exchange, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBL.

Planting mangroves

Bank Alfalah, in collaboration with WWF-Pakistan, committed to planting 25,000 mangroves in 2024 at Khdri Miani Hor, Balochistan, as part of a pledge to plant 100,000 trees by 2030 with species like Rhizophora mucronata selected for their adaptability to local climate and tidal conditions, as well as their economic and carbon sequestration benefits, said a press release.

This follows their 2023 effort of planting 15,000 mangroves at the WWF Wetland Centre, Sandspit, Karachi.

BSCHH celebrates 25th anniversary

Bait-ul-Sukoon Cancer Hospital & Hospice (BSCHH) marks a quarter century of dedicated free services to cancer patients, the event coinciding with the completion of the hospital’s 100th tumour board meeting, as per a press release.

The institution began as Pakistan’s first hospice, providing solace and care with palliative treatment to patients suffering from stage IV cancer. An award ceremony was hosted for this occasion in which the chairperson of BSCHH, Ms Ebrahim, recognised the invaluable contributions of its medical team, while co-chairperson Jameel Yusuf stated, “We are proud to be the first private sector hospital to offer 100 per cent free cancer treatment in Pakistan.”

APTMA’s cotton woes

The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) urgently appealed for the intervention of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to address a critical issue threatening the textile industry, according to a press release.

For the past three to four months, cotton imports from the US and Brazil have been blocked at the port, leading to significant financial burdens due to escalating demurrage charges, which now exceed Rs50m. These charges are being paid in dollars to foreign companies, exacerbating the economic strain on the country.

The shipments in question were dispatched under valid import permits. However, unforeseen delays during transit have resulted in the shipments arriving after the expiry of the import permits. Despite multiple appeals and commitments from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR), the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Interior, and other relevant authorities, the necessary release orders have not been given by the Department of Plant Protection.

The ongoing blockage of cotton shipments is causing severe disruptions, leading to escalating demurrage charges and threatening the industry’s ability to meet export targets and maintain competitiveness in the global market.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, June 10th, 2024

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