Streamlining Toll Payments: FWO Partners with NayaPay for Effortless M-Tag Recharging

In a significant move towards enhancing toll payment processes, Frontier Works Organization (FWO) has joined forces with NayaPay to facilitate quick and seamless M-Tag recharging.

This strategic collaboration, facilitated by One Network (ONPL), an expert in Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) and Electronic Toll Collection (ETC), marks a milestone in digitizing toll payments and ensuring enhanced convenience for motorists.

The agreement, formalized by Mr. Danish A. Lakhani, CEO of NayaPay, and Brig Asif Siddique (Retd.), Director IT FWO, underscores the commitment of both entities to revolutionize toll payment systems. The signing ceremony, attended by senior executives from NayaPay, One Network, and FWO, heralds a new era of efficiency and ease in toll payment management.

NayaPay, a prominent E-Money Institution in Pakistan, empowers users to establish E-money accounts effortlessly on their smartphones. With just a few simple steps, users can take control of their finances and streamline their toll payment experience. Now, with the integration of M-Tag recharging functionality within the NayaPay app, motorists can replenish their M-Tags seamlessly and at no additional cost. This integration ensures that every journey becomes smoother, more secure, and hassle-free for drivers.

This timely development aligns closely with the recent mandate issued by the National Highway Authority (NHA), which requires all vehicles on motorways to utilize M-Tags starting January 1, 2024. This mandate aims to enhance toll collection efficiency and improve user convenience, making it imperative for motorists to adopt digital toll payment solutions like M-Tags.

The partnership between FWO and NayaPay not only streamlines the M-Tag recharging process but also underscores the commitment of both organizations to embrace innovation and enhance customer experience. By leveraging technology and collaborative efforts, they aim to set new benchmarks in toll payment management and contribute towards a more efficient and digitized transportation ecosystem.

As motorists embrace the convenience and efficiency of digital toll payment solutions, the collaboration between FWO and NayaPay serves as a testament to the transformative potential of technology in simplifying everyday transactions. With M-Tag recharging now seamlessly integrated into the NayaPay app, drivers can enjoy enhanced convenience and peace of mind on their journeys across motorways.

In conclusion, the partnership between FWO and NayaPay signifies a significant step towards modernizing toll payment systems and embracing digital transformation in the transportation sector. As the demand for efficient and user-friendly toll payment solutions continues to grow, initiatives like this pave the way for a more connected, streamlined, and digitally empowered future.

 

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Govt to set up 10,000 e-Rozgar centres across the country to facilitate freelancers

Acting ICT Minister Dr Omar Saif on Wednesday announced the establishment of 10,000 e-Rozgar centers across the country to help self-employed workers as most of them do not have a suitable workplace.

“About 1.5 million freelancers work regularly in Pakistan,” Dr Saif said in a statement posted on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

The minister said that the comfort of self-employed workers is essential for them to improve their work performance and efficiency.

“If we can help one million self-employed workers, their income will rise to about $10 billion annually,” he said, adding that with measures already in place, including allowing the withholding of up to 50 percent of the export of their income and an easy way to receive your payments. Independent activities are expected to grow rapidly.

The Ministry of Information Technology has identified that most freelancers belong to smaller cities and towns, while female IT experts mostly come from remote areas where they do not have job opportunities in the relevant field.

While admitting that most self-employed workers do not have the necessary facilities, including a working environment and fast internet at their homes, Dr Saif said that under the new policy, Rozgar e-centres will be equipped with all necessary facilities and each of them will have a capacity of 100 people to work.

Under the plan, building owners who want to convert their properties into Rozkar e-centres will receive interest-free loans to convert their properties into workplaces.

While speaking to the media recently, the Acting Minister said that the most important aspect of the e-Rozgar centers will be networking and connection between freelancers, and the overall atmosphere will support them to take up high-profile projects and so on.

Government launches Start-up Fund in Pakistan in a big boost for entrepreneurs

  • Pakistani startups raised more than $70 million in 2023, which represents a significant decline of more than 70 percent compared to the previous two years.
  • Acting IT Minister says the government hopes to create value of at least Rs 50 billion annually in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem.

The government on Tuesday launched the Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF), which aims to invest Rs2 billion annually in startups, Acting IT Minister Dr Omar Saif said, after a dismal year for business activities in the country.

According to Saif, the venture fund is designed as equity-free capital that will help close a venture capital (VC) round for a startup and help it raise its first outside investment.

This development comes after a lackluster year for Pakistani startups. In 2023, they raised more than $70 million, according to independent tracking firms, which represents a significant decline of more than 70 percent compared to the large influx of funding in 2021 and 2022.

“Today we launched the Pakistan Startup Fund (PSF), which will invest up to Rs 2 billion annually in Pakistani startups,” Saif wrote on social media platform X, previously Twitter.

“If you are a startup in Pakistan and a foreign VC is evaluating your startup for a $1 million investment, the VC only needs to invest $700,000; the Pakistan Startup Fund will provide you with a $300,000 grant to help close the round.”

 

Saif assured the startups that the government will not obtain shares or seats on the board of directors in exchange for funding. He said that the Enterprise Support Fund aims to reduce the risks of international investors investing in Pakistani startups. Once the government gives money to startups, “we won’t bother them at all,” he added.

“With PSF, we hope to create value of at least Rs 50 billion annually in Pakistan’s startup ecosystem,” he wrote.

Pakistan’s financial regulators last week expressed optimism about 2024, predicting a more promising year for local startups after the country’s general elections.

They noted that Pakistan’s ongoing economic recovery and the announcement of elections have restored investor confidence, which is expected to boost the startup ecosystem in the country.

Online renewal of driving license at home started in Lahore

Punjab Police has launched online renewal of driving license in another addition to its online driving license services. Citizens should renew their driving license at home.

Driving license system has been innovated with the collaboration of Traffic Police Punjab and PTA. Citizens were earlier getting learner license and learner license renewal online.

From today, citizens are self-renewing their regular license and international license online. So far 842 citizens have applied for regular online license renewal in the services launched today.

10 citizens have applied for online renewal of International Driving License. 17566 new learner while 3295 citizens applied for renewal of learner driving license.

Dr Usman Anwar said that citizens are now renewing their regular and international licenses at home, online license services will reduce the rush of service centers and other traffic offices.

Pakistan’s Banking Sector: Struggling with Centralized Operations and Aiming for Enhanced Efficiency in Customer Services

In recent times, the integration of various sectors with centralized databases has proven to be a game-changer in improving efficiency and customer service. One such sector that could benefit significantly from centralization is the Pakistan’s Banking Sector. The recent incident at a private bank, where a customer faced issues with a closed account marked as deceased or blacklisted, highlights the need for a streamlined and centralized approach to banking operations. This article explores the advantages of centralizing banking operations with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in Pakistan.

1. Identity Verification: Centralizing banking operations with NADRA can significantly enhance the accuracy and efficiency of identity verification. By linking banking databases directly with NADRA, banks can ensure real-time validation of customer identities, reducing the risk of errors and unauthorized transactions. This integration would prevent instances where customers face difficulties due to outdated or inaccurate information linked to their accounts.

2. Fraud Prevention: NADRA’s comprehensive database includes biometric information, making it a robust tool for fraud prevention. Centralized integration would enable banks to cross-verify customer identities using biometric data, adding an extra layer of security against identity theft and fraudulent activities. This measure not only protects customers but also safeguards the integrity of the entire banking system.

3. Account Management: Centralization can streamline account management processes, allowing customers to access their account information seamlessly across different banks. This would eliminate the need for customers to repeatedly provide the same information when opening accounts with different banks. Additionally, centralized account management would facilitate swift updates, reducing the likelihood of accounts being marked erroneously or facing unnecessary complications.

4. Deceased Status Updates: The incident underscores the importance of accurate information regarding account status, especially in cases of a customer’s demise. Centralizing with NADRA ensures that information about a customer’s demise is promptly updated across all banks, preventing any unfortunate incidents like the denial of cheque withdrawal due to a deceased status. This not only respects the sensitivity of such situations but also prevents inconvenience to the deceased’s family.

5. Blacklisting and Defaulters: Centralizing with NADRA enables banks to maintain a shared database of blacklisted individuals and defaulters. This proactive approach ensures that individuals with a history of financial misconduct are promptly identified and prevented from engaging in fraudulent activities across different banks. It also aids in maintaining the overall health and trustworthiness of the banking sector.

6. Streamlined Regulatory Compliance: A centralized system with NADRA facilitates regulatory compliance by providing a unified platform for monitoring and enforcing banking regulations. This ensures that all banks adhere to the same standards, promoting transparency and accountability within the industry. It also simplifies the regulatory reporting process, reducing the burden on individual banks.

Conclusion: In conclusion, centralizing banking operations with NADRA in Pakistan offers numerous benefits, ranging from enhanced identity verification and fraud prevention to streamlined account management and improved regulatory compliance. The incident serves as a reminder of the challenges posed by decentralized banking systems. By embracing centralization, Pakistan can create a more secure, efficient, and customer-friendly banking environment, ultimately contributing to the growth and stability of the nation’s financial sector.

Starting in 2027, Pakistan will enforce the mandatory use of E-passports

Mustafa Jamal Qazi, the Director-General of Passports in Pakistan, has declared a significant development concerning the implementation of e-passports in the country. During his recent visit to the Karachi Passport Office, Qazi emphasized that starting from 2027, the issuance of e-passports will become obligatory.

Qazi further disclosed that the necessary preparations for transitioning from the existing machine-readable passport system to e-passports are nearing completion. Additionally, he announced the imminent installation of a new passport system within the next six to seven months as part of this transition. According to Qazi, 6.5 million passports have already been issued to Pakistani nationals intending to travel abroad in the current year.

Addressing concerns about the alleged issuance of thousands of Pakistani passports to Afghan nationals, Qazi assured that a high-level task force has been established to thoroughly investigate the matter.

Furthermore, he affirmed that delays in passport issuance would be minimized, attributing the improvement to the government’s procurement of an ample supply of the necessary lamination paper for printing new passports.

 

Pakistan e-Passport application process

Acquiring a Pakistan e-Passport will involve a process similar to obtaining a traditional passport. Initially, the e-passport service will be exclusive to diplomatic and government officials of Pakistan. Once the manufacturing process is finalized, applicants will be issued their e-Passports. The documentation needed for an e-Passport will closely resemble that required for a Machine Readable (MRP).

SAP’s Objective is to Bring Positive Change in the Lives of People through Digital Transformation

Islamabad: SAP’s Senior Vice President Middle East and North Africa, Ahmed Al-Faifi, on his visit to Pakistan, met with Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed and Secretary Railways, Mr. Mazhar Ali Shah. He also attended The Future Summit’s 6th Edition, organized by the Nutshell Group in Karachi.

During his meeting with Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, the discussion revolved around how to improve the technological dynamics of Pakistan to expedite the growth. Mr. Al Faifi said; “The commercial enterprises and the government sector are benefitting from SAP’s business solutions for efficient service delivery in the public sector. Financial, HR, audit and numerous other SAP core business applications are contributing to Pakistan’s global standing in terms of transparency.”

SAP is cognizant of Pakistan’s needs for a viable IT future and is continuously redefining its scope to reach out to more and more of public and private companies. It ensures that the product is best suited for optimization of productivity in each sphere. It takes pride in being dedicated to synergizing its services for a more technology-driven Pakistan.

Expressing his views about digitization and transforming Pakistan’s public sector enterprises during The Future Summit, Ahmed Al-Faifi highlighted that Pakistan is blessed with a large group of dynamic youth. That given, digital literacy can be a huge asset. Pakistan can leverage SAP platforms to provide an enabling environment and contribute to the country’s economy. “Technology is there to help you grow economically and professionally; it focuses on transforming processes by keeping a track of technology trends. The objective of SAP is to make the life of their customers easy.”

During his meeting with Secretary Railways, Mr. Mazhar Ali Shah Mr. Ahmed Al-Al Faifi expressed gratitude to Pakistan Railways Management for bestowing their trust into SAP and shared his commitment to support Pakistan Railways in their digital transformation journey.

Accompanied by Saquib Ahmad, Country Managing Director, SAP Pakistan, Ahmed Al-Faifi also met with Chairman HEC, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, about the new initiative for enrolling young university students for IT trainings across Pakistan. Ahmed Al-Faifi reiterated SAP and HEC’s over 15 year long relationship and committed to the agenda of providing free technology training to students, with an aim to impart skills that are key to the technology sector’s growth.

Pakistan Business users to benefit from Availability of SAP Build

Islamabad – SAP announced the launch of SAP Build, a powerful new low code offering to unleash the power of business users, launched at SAP TechEd conference in Las Vegas, USA, recently.

SAP Build empowers users of all skill levels to create and augment enterprise applications, automate processes, and design business sites with drag-and-drop simplicity. It brings the best of SAP’s low-code offerings together in a unified development experience. It gives business users full visibility into the dynamic range of their processes as well as real-time insights and easy-to-use tools. Users can easily integrate systems; intelligently monitor, analyze, and automate processes; and build applications for the last mile of innovation – all without moving their data into an external system. The solution also includes 500+ pre-built industry and business-process templates to accelerate development.

Commenting at the launch of SAP Build at TechEd, Arnal Dayaratna, Research Vice President Software Development at global market intelligence firm IDC, said: “Given that the demand for contemporary digital solutions is greater than the ability of professional developers to supply them, IDC envisions that business professionals will become increasingly involved in initiatives to create digital solutions to solve pressing business problems.”

Saquib Ahmad, Managing Director SAP Pakistan, said, “SAP Build will be a transformation partner for Pakistani corporate giants as well. This will enable our customers to extract maximum knowledge from their technology investments, shorten time-to-value for new applications and future-proof their businesses. As Pakistan continues to pursue its rapid digital transformation goals, there is a need for business experts at all levels to become more involved in developing technology solutions. This will ensure that companies’ digital goals are fully aligned with their business goals, and that their technology solutions are tailored to suit the needs of their specific company and industry.”

In addition to the launch of SAP Build, the SAP’s TechEd conference saw SAP announcing its commitment to upskill 2 million developers worldwide by 2025 by tripling its free learning offerings on the SAP Learning site, partnering with world-class learning platform Coursera to expand paths to success with SAP, and empowering new audiences.

Elaborating on SAP’s new entry-level Professional Certificate on Coursera, Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO Coursera, said, “This certificate is designed for learners of all backgrounds, no college degree or industry experience required. It will prepare learners for entry-level job roles and in some of the most in-demand fields. We’re honored to partner with SAP to increase access to job-related skills and to expand economic opportunity for everyone.”

With Middle East engaged already, SAP looks forward to making this world-class enterprise technology available and accessible to the Pakistani corporates, giving them direct access to the end-to-end processes, data and context required to make smarter decisions and drive innovation.

MMBL partners with GSMA to expand Pakistan’s Digital and Financial Solutions

Karachi – To support the mission of promoting digital inclusion across the nation through innovative financial solutions, Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL), Pakistan’s largest digital bank, is collaborating with GSMA, the global organisation representing mobile operators and the broader mobile ecosystem. Through this partnership, MMBL and GSMA aim to reduce the gender gap in digital financing through MMBL’s flagship program, Women Inspirational Network (WIN), and other Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will enable both partners to execute joint projects for connectivity and other areas for Information & Communications Technology (ICT) development in Pakistan.

Mobilink Microfinance Bank is part of the VEON group, a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services across seven countries. As part of its digital operator strategy, VEON is transforming people’s lives, creating opportunities for greater digital inclusion, and driving economic growth across countries that are home to more than 8% of the world’s population.

Sharing his thoughts at the signing ceremony, Ghazanfar Azzam, President & CEO MMBL remarked, “The rapid growth in tele-density across Pakistan has opened great avenues for fostering financial inclusion through feature & smartphones. Through this partnership, we aim to leverage the technological expertise of GSMA for enabling digitally powered innovative solutions for our target segments, specifically women & persons with disabilities, increasing accessibility and affordability of mobile financial services on the way.”

Also speaking at the occasion, Sardar Mohammad Abubakr, Chief Finance and Digital Officer MMBL said, “Digital and financial literacy are key drivers to promote financial inclusion for all. Underserved, yet integral segments, particularly women, agriculture and SMEs lack access to banking channels due to little awareness and limited resources. Through this initiative, MMBL and GSMA will work in close collaboration to increase digital, and financial literacy, while boosting agri-tech services, through convenient and sustainable access to digital financial products and services.”

“We are pleased to support MMBL’s efforts to close usage and gender gaps and address the barriers to inclusion that affect so many,” said Julian Gorman, Head of APAC, GSMA. “We believe connectivity is a human right and giving it to those that are excluded empowers business, society, and local communities – helping them to thrive. We’re looking forward to working together to advance the Digital Pakistan agenda in support of inclusion.”

Through this partnership, MMBL and GSMA will undertake various digital and technological initiatives to empower the masses in various domains, including agri-tech, Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and Women Financial Services, enhancing connectivity on the way. With the help of its strategic partners, MMBL is taking concrete steps to close the digital and financial gap by uplifting the unbanked and underbanked segments across the nation.

Meta Expands “WeThinkDigital” to Gilgit-Baltistan

Meta is expanding its digital literacy program, ‘WeThinkDigital’, to Gilgit-Baltistan in collaboration with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and the Gilgit-Baltistan Department of Education. The program aims to equip the people who live in one of the most marginalised regions in the country with the necessary skills to become responsible digital citizens.

With the expansion of the WeThinkDigital program to the Gilgit-Baltistan sub region in Pakistan, Meta expects to train over 30,000 students and more than 10,000 women to help them think critically and share online thoughtfully.

Lt.Col. (R) Abaidullah Baig Senior Minister Industries, Labour & Commerce, Gilgit-Baltistan attended as the Chief Guest and said “Really appreciate Meta for supporting people of Gilgit-Baltistan with a major program of this calibre and scale.”

The WeThinkDigital program was initiated in 2021 in Pakistan and it is one of Meta’s multifaceted approaches to building a safe and informed community in the country. The program has reached 130,000 students and 3,094 teachers across 28 districts of the country providing them a collection of accessible learning modules that help people think critically and share online thoughtfully, as well as empowering them with the skills needed to be informed and safe online.

Commenting on the development, Raja Azam Khan, Minister of Education, Gilgit-Baltistan said, “Over the last few years, our region has witnessed rapid and significant progress across diverse digital fronts. As we continue to explore broader horizons for learning and development of our community, it is a pleasure to have key players like Meta assisting in our objectives to bring sustainable change across Gilgit-Baltistan.”

Through its expansion in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, the program focuses on building awareness regarding cyberbullying, potential abuse over the internet, safe internet practices, safeguarding personal interests and assisting vulnerable segments like women and children on how to navigate digital spaces.

Speaking at the launch event Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama, Policy Programs Manager, South Asia at Meta said, “We care deeply about the safety of our community – and providing resources that can help people have meaningful interactions online is an important part of the work we do to help keep our community safe. We are grateful for the collaboration with the Gilgit-Baltistan Department of Education and hope this program will empower people in Gilgit-Baltistan with the necessary skills to become responsible digital citizens.”

The initiative will see Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi as a key partner in implementing the objective.

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