Financing ratio for SMEs pathetic despite reduction in policy rate: APBF

(1) APBF logo

Karachi (Cliff News) State Bank of Pakistan has launched its Policy for the promotion of SME Finance; the All Pakistan Business Forum has urged the commercial banks to improve its financing for SME sector which contributes around 40% to the national gross domestic product (GDP) in the country. President Ibrahim Qureshi said that it is unfortunate that banks are always reluctant to shore up financing to the Small and Medium Enterprises, as their financing continued to show negative growth despite record reduction in policy rates by the central bank. He said that a small section of the public sector and Islamic banks and few DFIs are active in financing SMEs sector. Despite significantly contributing to the GDP, exports and employment generation, the financing percentage of SMEs remain pathetic in the overall financing to customers of various levels. He urged the government that SME policy should focus on addressing specific issues faced by the SME sector and help in curtailing reluctance of financial institutions to provide financing to SMEs. He said that APBF fully supports the proposed measures for the promotion of SME finance including the establishment of credit guarantee company for offering risk-sharing facility for SMEs, and setting-up of Secured Transactions Collateral Registry under Financial Institutions Secure Transactions Act 2016 by 1st July 2018. He urged all the stakeholders to collaborate in order to meet the objectives of the SME policy and support the priority sectors. Ibrahim Qureshi emphasized the importance of SMEs for the growth and development of the economy. He called for early and speedy access to finance for SMEs, including the creation of enabling regulatory framework, market development, awareness creation and capacity building programs for banks & SMEs and an introduction of SME financing targets for banks & DFIs. He stressed that a separate and comprehensive policy for the SME sector was the need of the day to promote the contribution of SME sector for inclusive growth. For this purpose, a thorough consultative process should be adopted wherein all relevant stakeholders including banks, DFIs, microfinance banks, chambers, trade associations, SMEDA, multilateral institutions, SMEs, Federal and Provincial government departments should be consulted to discuss various bottlenecks impeding the growth of SME finance, suggesting policy interventions in different areas. Ibrahim Qureshi said that the role of small and medium enterprises is the most important in achieving the objectives of Pakistan Vision 2025. He said the development of the SME sector will lead to employment generation and increase national income. According to the figures, the number of SMEs in Pakistan is estimated to be 3.2 million, with a share of 30% in Pakistan’s total exports, having a significant concentration in Punjab (66%). The share of Baluchistan in the country’s SME sector is the smallest (2.3%) while those of Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are 18% and 15%, respectively.

Atlas Battery steals the Auto Show at Karachi  with a plethora of activities. 

R-2.jpgKarachi (Cliff News): The Pakwheel organized its annual event to showcase the latest and unique auto vehicles. The event provided an opportunity to different partner organizations to engage the masses directly by introducing different creative and engaging ideas. While various brands carried out different activities, Atlas Battery Limited (ABL) led the race with a multi-faceted brand activation that included free car battery check-ups for the visitors, the talent show for the audience. Moreover, ABL also held a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, named ‘Sparkistan’, exhibited at its stall in form of a photo booth. Visitors were able to win instant prizes by taking pictures in the Sparkistan photo booth and uploading it with the specified hashtag on Facebook. The free battery service that is a hallmark of ABL aims to ensure that the Pakistani car owners get the best output and longevity of their battery. ABL has been a consistent partner of the Auto Show for last many years. This year, ABL was able to provide free service to a record 900 visitors to the event. This initiative by Atlas Battery was highly appreciated by the visitors as a respite for the car owners. Mr. Yasir Rana, Head of Sales, Pakwheel stated that “The purpose of this event is to enable vehicle lovers to share their passion with the people keeping similar interest, and to acknowledge their hard work they put into this hobby”. He further expressed his admiration for the partner organizations, Atlas Battery in particular and added that “Atlas’s consistent support and services has regained the customers’ confidence in battery manufacturers, specifically the local brands”. On this occasion, the Brand Manager of Atlas Battery, Saqib Khan, stated that ‘ Atlas Battery has always believed in going the extra mile for its customers. This activity is just a gesture to not only offer help but also create awareness about the maintenance and proper care of the battery so that it lasts longer. Our technical experts do their utmost efforts to ensure that all car batteries get the best attention and the owners are equipped with the optimization tools for their battery.’ Apart from these noteworthy initiatives, different engagement activities were performed by ABL, focusing on the vibrant culture of Karachi. Atlas Battery entertained around 25,000 visitors through distinctive activities.

About Atlas Battery: Atlas Battery [ABL] is Pakistan’s largest battery manufacturer providing batteries for both commercial and OEM sector via its two brands in its portfolio, AGS and Atlas Hybrid. It has been serving the market since 1969 in collaboration with GS Yuasa Japan through its state-of-the-art production facility in Karachi.

 

Pakistani Students awarded second prize at Huawei Middle East ICT Skills competition 2017 held in Shenzhen, China

(1)HUAWEIKarachi (Cliff News) Huawei conducted “Huawei Middle East ICT Skills Contest – Final” in Shenzhen headquarters, 13 college student teams from 10 countries and totally 39 students participated in the finals. Pakistan was represented by two teams (six students) participating in the finals this year after they successfully distinguished themselves from over 7,000 students from more than 50 Higher Educational Institutes all over Pakistan. They performed well in the finals, and both teams eventually finished at the second position. They are Team 1: Ayyaz Ahmed and Muhammad Zubair of University of Engineering and Technology Lahore, and Noor Muhammad Malik of National University of Science and Technology Islamabad. Team 2: Shamim Iqbal from Virtual University, Fatima Rashid of University of Engineering and Technology Lahore and Shariq Malik from Lahore Garrison University. Ms. Chen Lifang, Vice President of Huawei, delivered the opening speech on behalf of Huawei, Mr. Fahmeed Akram, from University of Engineering Technology Lahore accompanied and mentored the students, won the Best Teacher Award. Mr. Kashif Hussein, Huawei authorized training partner in Pakistan, received the Best Partner Award for Corvit Systems. Winning students visited Huawei labs at its Headquarters and ICT Academy during their seven days sponsored tour to China. They were also awarded free Huawei certification vouchers, certificates, Huawei Mobile phones and other giveaways as a token of appreciation for their excellent performance in the finals.

NAPA Laughter Fest 2018

Laughter Fest 2018- Schedule copy.jpgKarachi (Cliff News) Play: Crash Landing Date: 3rd & 4th Jan 2018 at 8:00pm NAPA Auditorium Director: Rauf Afridi

Synopsis:

Playboy Jimmy is an architect based in Dubai. He lives with his fiancée, LIA airline stewardess Zareena —and BIA stewardess Najma—and NIA stewardess Nargis. However, none of the women know about the other two, and this is exactly the way Jimmy has designed it. This works just fine as long as their flight schedules only bring them home every three days. Jimmy’s live-in cook, Mamoo, is key in pulling off this ruse, managing three sets of clothing, photographs, bed linens, and food preferences. However, this perfect schedule is bound to run into trouble sometime. Things begin to unravel when there is a change in the women’s flight orders, making it increasingly difficult to keep them apart, and eventually bringing all three of them home on the same day. In addition, Jimmy’s longtime friend from Pindi, Bashir, has arrived in town unexpectedly. He is brought in on the outrageous arrangement and finds himself entangled in trying to help Jimmy and Mamoo pull it off during the course of a single day. Will they survive the day? And at what price? It just may be too much for them to handle!

Cast:

  1. Hammad Siddiqui Mamoo
  2. Rauf Afridi  Bashir
  3. Aqsa Qureshi Zareena
  4. Bani Mirza Nargis
  5. Najma Kiyafat Najma
  6. Hassan Khan Jimmy

Director’s Info: Rauf Afridi is a graduate of NAPA. He has acted extensively with the NAPA Repertory Theatre (NRT). He has hosted the popular TV show ‘Reporter Pakistani’. He has produced and directed theatre plays such as ‘Da Baghi Marg’ and children’s play ‘Tarzaan’ & ‘Sindbad’. He is currently producing TV plays, commercials, and documentaries.

Play: Kya Aap Pagal Hain Date: 5th & 6th Jan 2018 at 8:00pm NAPA Auditorium Director: Aqeel Ahmed

Synopsis:

The play is a classic romantic farce based on two couples and their desire to marry in the face of great parental opposition. Nawab Sahib wants his daughter Mehr Bano to wed his nephew Naqi but Naqi loves Dilara and Mehr Bano wants to marry Zaki. In their effort to convince Nawab Sahib a series of misunderstandings ensues creating farcical situations of great mirth and chaos.

Cast List:

  1. Kashif Hussain Zaki
  2. Farhan Alam Nawab Naqi
  3. Usman Mazhar Nawab Sahab
  4. Syed Jameel Jamal Shah & ilm deen
  5. Areeba Khan Niazi Nurse Shameem
  6. Tehreem Shafiq Dilara
  7. Shabana Hassan Mehru
  8. Irfan Bardai         Yazdani

About Director Aqeel Ahmed graduated from NAPA In 2014. He has acted in number of plays at NAPA including Khel Khel Mein, Zard Patton ka Ban, Anjame Muhabbat, Raat, Juloos and Charmed Ring with American director Laquetta Carpenter. He also had an opportunity to work with Brigel Gjoka and Mattia Gandini in 2015. He had been an acting teacher for children at The Saya Homes Orphanage in Jhelum and Tafsal in Karachi. As a theatre director, Aqeel has put up a production of Kamal Ahmed Rizvi’s Ek biwi ka sawaal hy baba in Napa’s Young Directors festival in 2017.

Dastangoi: Qissa Kahani Date: 6th Jan 2018 at 6:00pm NAPA Basement Director: Meesam Naqvi

Synopsis: Qissa Kahani is a performance comic short stories and essays by some of the greatest Urdu writers. It is performed by the recently trained dastango from the Revival of Dastangoi project of the National Academy of Performing Arts, Society for Music and Repertory Theatre and Karachi Youth Initiative.

Director Info: Meesam Naqvi is an actor, director, and dastango. He is a faculty member at NAPA and has recently trained lots of youth in the art of storytelling.

Standup comedy: Don’t Laugh, I’m Serious Date: 7th Jan 2018 at 6:00pm NAPA Basement Director: Faheem Azam

Synopsis:

 “Don’t Laugh, I’m Serious!” is a Stand-up comedy act through which the performer sheds light on various questionable behaviors of the Pakistani society. The performer also speaks of the hypocrisy through the tongue in cheek humorous lines and mimicry.

Cast List: Faheem Azam (Solo Performer)

Director Info: Faheem Azam cannot be defined by one title such as Actor, Writer, Director, Stand-up Comedy performer or Trainer etc. as he dynamically keeps growing in all these areas. He is truly a multifaceted professional with strong creative capabilities. He captivates, entertains and educates people through his comedy, scripts, Training, and Talks etc. He has done motivational speaking at forums like TEDx, KAHO and Kuch Khaas. Faheem Azam performs Stand-up Comedy under the title “Don’t Laugh, I’m Serious”. He has been coaching amateur actors for theatre and TV, for almost a decade and now he is coaching Stand-up comedy performers. A leading performer, member, and organizer of the platform “Comedy Scene”, his guidance and vision have helped this platform produce successful shows and bring in aspiring performers in Comedy.

Play: Burqavaganza Date: 7th & 8th Jan 2018 at 8:00pm NAPA Auditorium Director: Shumaila Taj

Synopsis: Burqavangza is a burlesque fantasy play about the burqa revolution written by Shahid Nadeem. At a time when the burqa has taken over the country, two lovers ‘Haseena’ and ‘Khoobru ‘ decide to challenge the burqa brigade. The lovers are joined by a duo of thieves and they together defy the police. In the form of short skits, this play is a complete satirical odyssey where two Mullahs provide the doctrine of life in this new burqa universe. The hypocrisy of society and douncle standards are all unveiled in this play where eventually tiring of the constraints placed on them the lovers get rid of their veils for a new freedom.

Cast  list:

  1. Umair Rafiq  Khobara
  2. Najma Kifayat   Haseena
  3. Mahjabeen Rehman Multiple Characters
  4. Damayanti Gosai Multiple Characters
  5. Muhammad Ghani Multiple Characters
  6. Tanveer Gill Multiple Characters
  7. Ahsan Ali Multiple Characters

About the Director: Shumaila Taj has a Master’s degree in English Literature from Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan. She has taught creative writing, communication, and other language skills. She completed her diploma at the National Academy of Performing Arts in September 2016. She directed a private project at Karachi University with her group The Altruist for Active Citizens an organization managed by the British Council. She has acted in a number of plays at NAPA and has directed a Punjabi language play Raat for the NAPA Young Directors Festival in January 2017. She has written the play ‘Baaztab’ which was performed at the NAPA International Theatre and Music Festival March 2017.

Play: Chacha Chakkan Date: 9th & 10th Jan 2018 at 8:00pm NAPA Auditorium Director: Zarqa Naz

Synopsis: Chacha Chakkan likes to be involved in all that is taking place in his home. His involvement often leads to a great deal of trouble for his family and all those around him.  In just 24 hours the misadventures of Chacha Chakkan are enough to drive his long-suffering wife to distraction. Even the simple act of hanging a picture becomes a long drawn out marathon of disasters when Chacha Chakan decides to take matters into his own hands. The play is a delightful look at one of the most beloved eccentric characters from Urdu Literature.

Cast List:

  1. Farhan Alam Chacha
  2. Aasiya Alam Chachi
  3. Syed Arsalan Bundu
  4. Imran Fattani Khan Sahab
  5. Muzamil Ahmed  Moda
  6. Zain Nazar  Molvi Sahab
  7. Ibad Alam  Mir Baqir Ali
  8. Roohi Ahmed Dhoban
  9. Harshika Children
  10. Hussnain Children

About the Director: Zarqa Naz graduated from NAPA in 2016. She has directed three plays, Salgirah, Ishq Ke baad and  Heer Ranjha in the NAPA Young Director Theatre & Music Showcase 2017. She has acted in plays like Sau Din Chor Ke, Aasman Se Gira, and Khuwabon ke Musafir. She has also acted on TV.

Play: Lafrha Returns Date: 11th & 12th Jan 2018 at 8:00pm  NAPA Auditorium Director: Fraz Chhotani Written by Muhammad Younus Chhotani

Synopsis: Bachu Bhai is a builder who likes to talk big. He married a girl from a rich family in the hope of making it big but that has not worked out so well for him. He is now planning a second marriage and a new building to finance this new marriage. He must work around tenants reluctant to move out of the old building and a very suspicious brother in law if his plans are to succeed and he has only his not so bright nephew Zubair to help him.

Cast detail:

  1. Hammad Siddique Bachchu Bhai
  2. Usman Mazhar Zubair
  3. Shabana Hassan Bachchu’s wife
  4. Syed Muhamad Jameel Brother-in-law
  5. Muhammad Ghani Haseen Gul Khan
  6. Muhammad Zaman Achchan qasai
  7. Imran Fattani  Wakeel
  8. Tanveer Gill  Bhola Kaka

About the Director: Fraz Chhotani graduated from NAPA in 2012. He has acted in a number of plays with the NRT including Merchant of Venice, Lao to Qal Nama Mera, Kuttay, Baba Jalinoos, Sau Din Chor ke among others. He has worked with a number of directors as a lighting designer and with Mateela Films as an Assistant Director.

Standup Comedy: JO BAAT HAI Date: 13thJan 2018 at 6:00pm NAPA Basement Director: Usman Mazhar

Synopsis: A standup comedy show about pop culture of Pakistan, personal stories and nostalgia which will have 4 performers; a host, couple of opening acts of roughly 10 minutes each and Usman Mazhar as the headliner for about 1 hour.

Cast List:

  1. Usman Mazhar
  2. Tabish Hashmi
  3. Osama Siddiqui
  4. Natalia Gul

Director info: Actor by profession, Usman Mazhar is a man of many talents. One of his traits is being a standup comedian along with having experience as a writer, teacher, and trainer. He started performing in stand-up comedy events with the troupe called Comedy Scene in September 2016. Since then he has performed stand-up comedy or hosting in over 25 shows in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Dubai.

Play: Dil e Nadan Date: 13th & 14th Jan 2018 at 8:00pm NAPA Auditorium Director: Omair Rana

Synopsis: Dil-e-Nadaan is based on the Neil Simon hit comedy, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers. Yawar is a middle-aged man in the middle of a crisis. He feels his youth is finally slipping away from his hands and decides the only way to regain a little bit of fleeting excitement is by having an affair. Using his mother’s apartment as the setting for the plan, he invites 3 different women to make overtures, but this innocent soul fails miserably at every turn. Additionally, the outrageous characters make this one crazy ride!

Cast List: 

  1. Omair Rana Yawar
  2. Nadia Afgan   Mehreen
  3. Rasti Farooq  Shayan
  4. Zainab Ahmed   Tania
  5. Huma Ijaz Zaman   Rabia

About the Director:  With the direction of over 50 bilingual theatre plays under his belt, Omair Rana is a true powerhouse of the Pakistani theatre scene. In addition, Omair has extensive acting experience in countless English and Urdu stage plays, TV serials, films, and commercials, as well as teaching theatre. We are especially excited to have this true star of the stage and screen take the helm as both director and lead actor in this production.

Standup Comedy: Larki Wonderful Date: 14thJan 2018 at 6:00pm NAPA Basement Director: Faiza Saleem

About Khawatoons: The Khawatoons are Pakistan’s first all-girl improv comedy troupe. The troupe has been created and trained by Faiza Saleem. The show will consist of one MC and about 4-5 performers. Everything will be non-scripted and performed on the spot on the basis of audience suggestions. The show format is similar to Who’s line is it anyway? The Khawatoons have done several shows in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rahim Yar Khan, and Topi. Faiza has been covered by Times of India and BBC News a number of times for her work with regards to founding and building The Khawatoons.

Names of The Khawatoons:

  1. Faiza Saleem
  2. Amtul Baweja
  3. Natalia Jillani
  4. Jaweria Khan
  5. Sara Ashraf
  6. Fatima Altaf

About Director: Faiza Saleem is a lawyer turned comedienne, known nationally and internationally for bringing women into comedy. She is Pakistan’s first female social media entertainer and also the founder and director of South Asia’s first all-female comedy troupe, The Khawatoons. She is a theatre actor, improv artist, stand-up comic and also does TV and film.

Dolmen Mall celebrating 25 Years with biggest winter shopping festival

Karachi (Cliff News) Dolmen mall is celebrating its 25 years with the biggest winter shopping festival that will last till 7 th January. The festival started on 22 nd December in all three malls, Clifton, Tariq Road and Hyderi. Winter Food Street, flash sales, fashion carnival, beauty lounge, and a lot more are happening there. Celebrities from the showbiz world are attending the event and sharing their experience. This event is the biggest shopping festival till date, says the organizers. Apart from the shopping bazar, there are numerous other activities going on in the malls including lucky draw, live music, and live cooking demonstration. Dolmen shopping festival also marks the 25 th anniversary of dolmen mall and since it’s a global brand hub, this time they are also promoting and celebrating cultural diversity from around the world. The organizers have planned for months for this festival, to give the best possible experience to the

public. One of the organizers said that they are doing it for their customers and they want them to be a part of it. The giveaways include gift vouchers, shopping vouchers and beauty makeovers from renowned beauty gurus. Mohammad Abrar, 42, talked about his experience, he said, “we have been shopping from here since generations, my grandparents and parents used to shop from here and now we come here with our children and it has always been a great shopping experience.” Another shopper, Aaliya Waqas, 32, said, “Festivals like this have become essential for today’s shopper, which are a combination of western festivals and eastern bazaars.” The shoppers can also participate in the lucky draw by showing their shopping receipts. There is a grand prize of Rs 2.5 million, 25 daily prizes and 25 lucky draws. The festival also brings an arts lounge to pay tribute to the founders; various artists painted live including Aftab Zafar. A photography competition is also being held at the mall and Sharmeen Obaid Chionoy exhibited memories of the mass migration during independence. The dolmen management stated, “This festival has all the happenings that karachiites need in their holidays season, to relax from their fast paced life, for people of all ages be it children, adults or housewives.”

Interschool T20 Cricket,Ghazi School beats Gbss Public School

Karachi (Cliff News): Ghazi School beats Gbss Public school by 17 Runs in Game number 6 in going on happy palace Group of schools T20 Inter school cricket Tournament Orginizing by Future Next cricket Academy fnca. In Detail Gbss Public school won the toss at Public School cricket Ground and Decided to ball first. Ghazi school scored 181/4 in 20over Muhammad Junaid Captain of Ghazi school scored 1st Century of the Tournament 110* not out. While Sikander khan Scored 26 Runs and Abdul moiz 24 from Gbss Public school Huzaifa,Ahsan and manan each took 1,1wkts. In reply Gbss Public school Unable to chased the target and Scored 164/9 in 20overs. Abdul Mannan scored 43 runs not out From Ghazi School Waheed Ahmed and Aurangzaib both took 2,2wkts. Man of the match award given to

PTCL to co-sponsor Pakistan team jersey for New Zealand T20I series

9442.jpgLahore(Cliff News): Pakistan team jersey for the T20I series to be played in New Zealand in January 2018 will be co-sponsored by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). This was announced at the kit unveiling ceremony held at the Gaddafi Stadium (Far End Pavilion) in Lahore. The cricket team kit was unveiled jointly by Mr. Adnan Shahid, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), PTCL, Chairman PCB Mr. Najam Aziz Sethi and Pakistan Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. Other attendees of the ceremony were Syed Shahzad Shah, EVP Marketing & Communication, PTCL, senior PCB officials’ and Pakistan T-20I Team Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Adnan Shahid, CCO, PTCL said, “Cricket and PTCL, both connect the country and unite the nation. We are excited to co-sponsor T20 team kit of Pakistan cricket team, which is also World Number 1 team in ICC T20I Rankings. Like all Pakistanis, we wish the team all the best and hope it will continue the winning streak and win the tough New Zealand series comprehensively. PTCL will continue supporting PCB and Pakistan cricket in future as well.” Chairman PCB Mr. Najam Sethi speaking on the occasion, said, “PCB, as the governing body of cricket in Pakistan, is involved in all aspects of the game and in promoting the interests of Pakistan cricket both in the country and abroad.” He added that “PCB was grateful to PTCL for co-sponsoring the T-20 series to be played against New Zealand. The tour will offer a new dimension to Pakistan team as they will play in different conditions against a formidable opponent.” Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed acknowledged PCB’s efforts and said it was an honor for him to have the opportunity of leading the country in this forthcoming series in New Zealand. Sarfaraz also expressed his thanks to PTCL for coming forward and supporting Pakistan cricket team. He further said that the New Zealand tour would offer a good opportunity to him and his team to showcase their best in different playing conditions. Pakistan tour to New Zealand will comprise 5 ODI and 3 T-20I matches.