Friday, September 23, 2016

NAB chief receives National Integrity award

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishrat ul Ebad Khan, has reckoned that five most challenging factors for doing business in Pakistan doing last year were corruption, tax rates, inflation, access to financing and insufficient government bureaucracy from which corruption was cited as the most problematic. 

He made the observation while addressing the presentation of Transparency International Pakistan Integrity Award to Director General, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Sindh, Lt. Col.® Siraj ul Naeem, at the Governor House in Karachi. The Provincial Ombudsman, Asad Ashraf Malik, and retired judges of the Sindh High Court were also present on the occasion. 

“It’s an established fact that effective accountability mechanism is essential for economic growth, investment and stability of social sector in any society. It is also a recognized fact that the intervention by NAB has acted as a catalyst, as transparency is a pre-requisite for promoting investment and economic growth,” he pointed out. 

‘”The contributions made by the NAB to fight such a huge menace and curbing corruption is based on a three pronged strategy of awareness, prevention and enforcement and it has been immensely successful. Since 2014, the NAB has acted with new zeal and has carried out a detailed analysis of organizational weaknesses, procedures and business processes and human resource development also. It is very commendable that NAB has recovered and deposited Rs. 276 billion in national exchequer since its inception,” the Governor recognized. 

He also lauded its work with the youth and establishment of more than 20000 Character Building Societies (CBS) in universities and colleges across the country. 

The Governor described the NAB Sindh as an important regional bureau whose performance for the last year has been graded as outstanding and excellent with 88 % Operational Efficiency Index by Chairman Inspection and Monitoring Team (CI&MT). 

“Its Director General Lt. Col. ® Siraj ul Naeem has headed these tremendous results which are commended by all concerned quarters. He deserves this award is the true reflection of his dedicated work,” the Sindh Governor complimented. 

Dr Ishrat ul Ebad Khan declared that the establishment of Citizens Corruption Liaison Committee (CCLC) on the pattern of Citizen Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and anti corruption and anti fraud help line would enable citizens to lodge their complaints for early redressal of the same. 

Suhail Muzaffar of Transparency International Pakistan informed that this award has been awarded to four global personalities and Col Siraj was only the fifth person to receive the same and the first one from Pakistan. 

On the occasion Governor of Sindh handed over the National Integrity award to Lt. Col ® Siraj ul Naeem. A memorandum of understanding for establishment of CCLC and anti corruption helpline was also signed by the Principal Secretary, Mohammad Hussain Syed and Suhail Muzaffar of Transparency International.

Pakistan ranks 149/188 on SDG index

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Global Burden of Disease Study, the first global analysis that assesses the United Nations’ health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 188 countries, has ranked Pakistan at 149.

Launched at a special event at the UN General Assembly in New York and published in The Lancet, the analysis assesses countries by creating an overall index score on a scale of zero to 100. 

Pakistan shares the score of 38 with Bangladesh and Mauritania, six places behind India and way behind Iran. 

“These analyses are critically important for Pakistan, where limited data make the transition from MDGs to the SDGs even more challenging. These data allow the country to set a baseline based on recent performance and also set a trajectory for achieving the health and health-related SDGs,” Professor Zulfiqar Bhutta, Founding Director of the Aga Khan University’s Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health, Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, and co-author of the study, remarked. 

The analysis showed that expanded health coverage, greater access to family planning, and fewer deaths of newborns and children under the age of five were among several health improvements contributing to progress toward achieving SDGs. However, hepatitis B, childhood obesity, violence and alcohol consumption have worsened. 

Iceland ranks the first at 85 with the United Kingdom and Canada among top 10 at 82 and 81 respectively. With a score of 26, Afghanistan is among the bottom 10; the Central African Republic being the lowest at 20. Kenya’s SDG index score increased between 2000 and 2015, from 33 to 40. 

The prevalence of childhood stunting there dropped as a percentage of the population from 39 per cent in 2000 to 26 per cent in 2015. 

One potential driver of the decrease in stunting in the country is the concurrent increase in access to health services. In 2015, 70 per cent of Kenyans who needed an essential health intervention received it, in contrast to just 32 per cent in 2000. 

The researchers note that these gains will need to be sustained, and in many cases accelerated, to achieve the ambitious SDG targets. The findings also highlight the importance of income, education and birth rates as drivers of health improvement and that the investments in those areas alone will not be sufficient. 

“We know that international targets can motivate countries and motivate donors. The international Global Burden of Disease collaboration is committed to providing an independent assessment of progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals,” Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which led the study, noted. 

The proportion of countries that have accomplished individual targets varies greatly. For example, more than 60 per cent of the 188 countries studied shows maternal mortality rates below 70 deaths per 100,000 live births, effectively hitting the SDG target. In contrast, no nation has reached the objective to end childhood overweight or to fully eliminate infectious diseases like HIV or tuberculosis. 

“We have concrete examples of countries making important progress on a range of health-related SDG indicators. We now need to look to those countries that have seen strong progress to find out what they are doing right and how it can be applied more broadly,” Dr Stephen Lim, Professor of Global Health at IHME and lead author of the study, pointed out. 

As part of its activities to support SDGs, the AKU has pledged to invest more than US$ 85 million over the next decade in support of the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, which is designed to help achieve Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, requiring countries to ensure good health and well-being for people of all ages.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Highlighting difference between mindset of an entrepreneur and a salaried person

By Nadeem Hussain
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The gist of my argument is that human resources are even more critical for startups as there is no margin of error. 

 The selection of people is even more important. A great performer at a company who works for a salary may not work out for a startup. 

The startup involves risk, absence of a safety net and they require haircuts in salary. Not everybody is cut out for it. 

My recent experience is that two of my high performers from my previous company who had joined me, left for a salaried job. In a startup you must have faith in yourself and your partners. 

Great wealth is not created from the safety of a salaried position. To make serious money one has to take risks, one has to be fearless, one must have the resolve. 

While all these character traits are required in a salaried high performer, in a startup they are critical. 

**The writer is the Founder and Coach of Planet-N Group of Companies and Pakistan Microfinance Network, having previously headed Tameer Microfinance Bank and Citigroup.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Process for admission-2017 at SSUET starts

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The process for admissions in Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) and as per schedule announced October 2 has been fixed for aptitude test to be held at the Karachi Expo Centre. 

The SSUET, an institution of excellence since 1994, gives admissions in eleven disciplines which include electronic, computer, civil, bio-medical, telecommunication, electrical engineering and architecture besides computer science, software engineering, bio-infomatics and information technology. 

As per required criteria the eligibility for admission in first seven disciplines is minimum 60 percent marks in HSC and 55 percent for rest four disciplines. 

The eligibility for admission in all programmes will be on combination of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, combination of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science for Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Software Engineering and Information Technology; combination of Physics, Chemistry and Biology for Bio-Medical engineering and Architecture and with combination of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics/Biology/Computer Science eligible for Bioinformatics. 

The SSUET has a highly qualified and experienced faculty and the campus has air-conditioned class rooms equipped with audio visual systems.

It is equipped with air-conditioned laboratories with 1,500 plus nodes Computer Network and high speed internet connectivity. 

The university carries a career planning and well structured internship program and has collaboration with leading universities of the world with credit transfers available.

The SSUET provides scholarships and financial assistance of over Rs 40 million for deserving and needy students.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Alpha opens with a bang as Tesco comes to Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Alpha opening in the basement of Ocean Mall, Clifton, on September 10 was quite a memorable event. 

It was an evening to remember as Karachi finally had the presence of Tesco, a reputed British multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer. 

As anticipated the launch of Alpha turned out to be a phenomenal success with the large turnout, a clear indication of the project generating immediate attention to the extent of creating waves among the potential customers. 

It’s the fulfillment of yet other cherished dream of Nadeem Hussain, Founder and Coach at Planet N Group of Companies, having earned accolades in the financial services industry of Pakistan through his impossibly gifted talents.

Living to the reputation of being very passionate about whatever he ventures into, the former Citi Group country chief in Pakistan has now got his Planet N Group off to a flying start with the launch of Alpha and obviously there is a lot more to follow. 

A firm believer of giving back to the society while pursuing his corporate goals, Nadeem Hussain has believed in setting examples, having been a naturally gifted leader, who always has a vision and a strategy to implement and achieve his objectives. 

Now he’s being lauded for bringing Tesco in Karachi, the commercial hub of the country. 

He had signed exclusive rights for Tesco for Pakistan, opening the doors for the third largest retailer in the world measured by profits and the second-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues.

Historically Tesco was founded in 1919 by Jack Cohen as a group of market stalls. 

The Tesco name had first appeared in 1924, after Cohen purchased a shipment of tea from T E Stockwell and combined those initials with the first two letters of his surname and the first Tesco store opened in 1931 in Burnt Oak, Barnet. 

Originally a UK grocery retailer, Tesco has diversified geographically since the early 1990s and into areas such as the retailing of books, clothing, electronics, furniture, toys, petrol and software; financial services; telecoms and internet services.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Engineers’ body felicitates Sindh Chief Minister

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Association of Consulting Engineers Pakistan (ACEP), a representative body of consulting engineers, which also represents the country at international level as being a member of International Federation of National Association of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), has extended its profound felicitations to Engr Syed Murad Ali Shah for having taken over the office of Chief Minister of Sindh. 

In a letter of felicitation, the ACEP said that it’s a matter of pride for all of us, structural engineers in particular, that he, being a from engineers' community, an NEDIAN, having done Masters in Structural Engineering, has been inducted into the coveted office of Chief Minister of the province of Sindh. 

"We firmly believe that you being an NEDIAN will fully demonstrate your capabilities and exploit the Allah-given opportunity to serve Sindh and its people". 

The ACEP wished him a successful tenure hoping that his dynamic personality and the ability of working hard will surely steer him to higher positions in his political career. 

The ACEP prayed that may Allah shower His blessings upon him and give him the courage to serve the down trodden people with all determination at his command in general and the engineering community in particular. 

In its letter to the Chief Minister, the ACEP pointed out that it has some suggestions for the betterment of engineering community and hoped that he will take some time out from his busy schedule for a meeting with the Association's delegation comprising the senior consulting engineers. 

The ACEP extended its full technical support to Engr Murad Ali Shah in the development sector keeping the welfare of people of Sindh in view.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

US diplomats to help facilitate foreign investment in Karachi

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishrat-ul-Ebad Khan has reckoned that peace has been fast restored in Pakistan particularly in Karachi due to Zarb-e-Azb and the Sindh government was endeavoring to further strengthen the law and order situation and the forces and political leadership were acting under short middle term and long term plans in this regard.

He said that foreign investors can take full benefit of restoration of law and order and in order to eliminate poverty and elimination of factors through which crimes come up. 

"A strong Pakistan is inevitable for maintenance of peace and development in the area. He said that restoration of law and order and development in Pakistan is dependent on peace, tranquility and development in Karachi", the Governor said in a meeting with newly posted US Counsel General, Grace Shelton, and the outgoing CG Brian Heath who called on him at the Governor House. 

 The Governor gave a detail account of the steps taken for maintenance of security and law and order and to ensure success of the steps taken in promoting foreign investment in Pakistan. 

He asserted that targeted operation against terrorists, target killers, extortionists and criminals involved in kidnapping for ransom would continue till complete elimination of crimes from the province particularly from Karachi. 

He said that military and political leadership in this regards are on one page and altogether to end all types of crimes from the country. He pointed out that there is no doubt that democracy is the only solution to resolve public issues but the continuance of democracy is that the act of accountability should continue ob permanent basis. 

He said that the action of armed forces against terrorism is worth appreciable and an open truth that Pakistan worst affected in war against terrorism. He said that financially and economically strong Pakistan is in the area and the world. He said that enhanced foreign investment is need of time. 

He said that very attractive sectors in Pakistan and Sindh Province are present for foreign investment. He said that America has extended help in many sectors of Pakistan for which Pakistani people are thankful to American people. 

He said that American investors can take much benefit of best investment in score of appropriate sectors in Pakistan and Sindh.

The Governor said that America under the US AID program has commenced score of projects of public welfare, which include Institute of Health Sciences at Jacobabad, gynea ward at Jinnah Hospital Karachi and projects of health and education those are seen by public with appreciable sight. 

The US Counsel General Brian Heath said that Sindh Province has vast opportunities and it require attention to take benefit and American investors are diverting in this regard. 

He said that during his posting he worked for the strengthening of Pak-America relationship and strengthening Pakistan financially and economically and would continue to do so in future also. 

He said that during his posting at Karachi he received love and affection, the people were caring, and he never felt that he was out of America. 

The newly posted Counsel General Grace Shelton expressing views said that she would endeavour to further strengthen the relations between America and Pakistan. 

She said that it's her desire to attract the foreigner investors to invest in Pakistan especially in Sindh Province, adding  that the cooperation of Governor in this regard would be beneficial. The Sindh Governor extended his full cooperation to Counsel General in this regard.