BISP beneficiaries to get field training by FMBL

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): FINCA Microfinance Bank Limited (FMBL) will provide field training to BISP beneficiaries which will also help spread the branchless banking movement in the country. In this regard BISP and FMBL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), for financial inclusion of BISP beneficiaries. The collaboration will involve females from the most under privileged, excluded and marginalized segments of society to be trained as field agents of FMBL so that they not only earn for themselves as contractual employees of FMBL but also spread the branchless banking movement and bring in other members of their respective communities to the branchless banking network.  Initially, a pilot project will be undertaken by FMBL with collaboration and assistance of BISP and on the basis of the data collected during the pilot phase, the project will be extended on regular basis. BISP/MNA Chairperson Marvi Memon hoped that this partnership will make a difference in the lives of poor beneficiaries.

She said that, “we should always remember that we are dealing with most vulnerable segment of society, and therefore ensure financial inclusion which means improving livelihood.”

She added that she is proud that BISP is the first social safety net in the world to have a program of financial inclusion and graduation.

The partnership is aimed at increasing the female financial inclusion footprint and graduation of BISP beneficiaries to women entrepreneurs by leveraging the bank’s digital financial services offering, a digital wallet (app) which offers easy and quick on boarding, zero transaction fee and access to range of services including bill payments, money transfer, lending and online marketplace amongst other offerings.

FMBL CEO Muhammad Mudassar Aqil shared that 96percent women are financially excluded in Pakistan.

He added that it is proven globally that financial inclusion is a key to poverty eradication.

He hoped that this partnership will help BISP beneficiaries in graduating out of poverty in a sustainable manner.

FMBL branchless banking will enable BISP to graduate women beneficiaries to female entrepreneurs. The pilot project will be based on a sample set of fifty women in two locations.

BISP will share data of 200 women beneficiaries out of which 50 will be selected through a rigorous and thorough process, keeping basic literacy level of women and their influence in their respective communities, as key considerations.

The women will work on similar model as the existing Lady Health Workers, who are closely engaged with the local community and conduct house-to-house visits and call community meetings.

These women will be equipped with tablets to open and operate mobile accounts for other women in their respective communities.

Moreover, training and awareness sessions will be conducted on how to use digital financial services via tablets issued, and provide overall understanding of financial inclusion.

Women becoming of this pilot will have access to loans, savings and other products offered via FMBL Digital Financial Services (DFS) portfolio. In addition, women will be educated on the opportunity of a digital marketplace/e-commerce encouraging them to promote local goods/services through FINCA’s digital financial services and integrated platforms.

 No growth without promotion of female employment

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): The participants of a seminar have stressed the need for promotion of female employment without which economic growth and development of Pakistan is not possible. The seminar on 'Promotion of Female Employment' was organized by Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) in collaboration with Pakistan Knitwear Training Institute (PKTI) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under the 'Project for Skills Development and Market Diversification of Garment Industry.' The seminar was addressed by PKTI chairman Adil Butt, PHMA secretary Muhammad Ayub, WCCI Lahore Division president Falahat Imran and PSDF COO Akbar Bosan.  PKTI chairman Adil Butt said that Knitwear Training Institute under the umbrella of PHMA is making serious measures for gender equality and empowerment that is a must for sustainable economic development of the country.

He called for strong linkage between the industry training institutes working for the women empowerment in Pakistan, as PKTI has always been supporting and facilitating women empowerment.

PKTI principal Muhammad Ayub said that GDP could be increased through women entrepreneurship and employment, adding that women contribute only 1 per cent in the country entrepreneurship which was very poor ratio.

Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Lahore Division president Falahat Imran said that women were important shareholder in building the society but unfortunately they are facing problems in uplifting their social and economic status.

She said in order to bring women at par with men, the government will have to introduce special women empowerment packages to target the areas where there is need for improvement.

 National Water Policy soon

 LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) chairman Muzammil Hussain has said that first-ever National Water Policy would be launched soon that would help overcome water challenges. Talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Malik Tahir Javed, Senior Vice President Zeshan Khalil and others he said that that energy and food security is as essential as security of borders. He said that country is preserving only 10 percent of flowing water despite the fact that water resources are depleting. He said that Pakistan stood at 15th in the list of water deprived countries. He said that economic worth of water being wasted to sea is around $14.5 billion. Malik Tahir Javaid said that though government has largely overcome the energy shortfall and there has been a considerable decline in electricity load shedding but there is a dire need to bring down the electricity prices to give some relief to industry.

Silkbank net profit up by 54pc in 2017

 KARACHI (PR): The board of directors of Silkbank Limited, in its meeting held the other day, reviewed the performance of the bank and approved the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017. The bank has posted a profit before tax of Rs1,387 million and a profit after tax of Rs1,135 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. This translates into a growth of 54 percent over 2016. This performance was driven by formidable growth of 26pc in net interest income, with non-interest income also reflecting an impressive rise of 33pc. During the year, deposits increased from Rs 23.5 billion to Rs 110.3 billion. This included a significant growth of 33% in CASA of Rs 16.8 billion. The non-performing loans to advances ratio reduced to low of 6.5% as of December 31, 2017. The bank has increased its distribution footprint by opening 35 new branches both on the Islamic and conventional side, at strategic locations all over the country, which should significantly enhance the bank’s ability to mobilise deposits.

In order to provide a platform to cater the unbanked population, the bank has established a digital banking unit to increase its outreach in the millennial population, which is currently in its pilot stage. By introducing the “smart branch” concept, the bank will also increase its distribution footprint and increase the number of branches at strategic locations all over the country. The growth and profit expectations for 2018 remain very strong, driven by the bank’s high earning consumer assets, where the bank maintains a leadership position in several products. The bank is committed to meet the increasing expectations of its customers and continues to build its franchise by timely investing in information technology, human resources, marketing and infrastructure.