Stories about business

Investing in underdeveloped sector

Usual jokes about private equity resurfaced on social media as soon as the news of former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, joining Solamere Capital — a private equity firm his son set up in 2008 — emerged on March 6. Romney’s unsuccessful bid for the White House last year is attributed, in large part, to the Democrats’ ‘propaganda’ against private equity as well as Bain Capital, which the former presidential hopeful co-founded and led as CEO until 1999. So what is it that makes private equity professionals so bad in the eyes of American liberals? A simple answer would be that they ...

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Which political party is closest to the business lobby?

With general elections ahead, every leading political party claims to have the solution for the country’s chronic economic problems in their ‘economic agenda’. While some parties have revealed their economic agendas in the last few months, many have not bothered to fulfill this basic formality. There is not a single political party in the country that can claim to have the confidence of the business community. The failure of the Pakistan Peoples Party government in handling the economic affairs of Pakistan has compelled a large number of businessmen to look at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). Sensing ...

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In Karachi, let them drink juice

Fresh juice, no preservatives, not bottled, made right there in front of you, only for you. The horror. I grew up on bottled water from questionable sources and my system will react in unimaginable ways to any form of juice that is not chemical laden. Its primarily because I grew up in Karachi – I can’t deal with wholesome and nutritious, just like the city. So today – a typically atypical Karachi day with the promise of violence and death in the air – I wanted to buy my usual supply of unhealthy provisions that will lead to an early death, ...

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Talking business

I once interviewed a brilliant young man, who started a business with a total investment of Rs800 and achieved the annual turnover of one million rupees in less than three years. He was in his early 20s and had a degree in business studies. But when I asked whether his business paid taxes and was a formally registered entity, he said he had so far managed to steer clear of all government offices. Their registration procedures are tedious, he told me, and he’d rather build his business than waste time standing in queues outside government offices. So what’s the exact number ...

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Takaful: Rules of Islamic insurance

With the recent launch of Takaful rules, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission Pakistan (SECP) has allowed conventional insurance companies to roll out Takaful, or Islamic insurance, products through window operations. Irked by the SECP’s move, existing Takaful operators went to court and got a restraining order over the implementation of the new rules from the Sindh High Court on August 2. Takaful operators say, the decision to allow conventional insurance companies to launch Islamic products will “distort” the segment, as window operators will conduct the Takaful business “in a manner against the principles of Sharia”. Insurance is undervalued in Pakistan. ...

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Facebook: Think before you ‘like’

Back in 2010, when Facebook first introduced a ‘like’ button as a way for people to ‘give positive feedback or to connect with things you care about on Facebook, it forever changed the meaning of the word; or at least, for its 850 million or so active users. Ten years ago, who would have thought regular people like you and I would exist so publicly online? We use our real names on social networks to share our lives with loved ones, openly show political support, voice our opinions without a second thought, upload pictures of the most important occasions of ...

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How to make it big in Pakistan

There are many mysteries surrounding the rich and elite in Pakistan. These mysteries  have haunted us since time immemorial; how do they do it? How did that man make it so big, so fast being, so young? Where does he work? How can he be so rich without a job? These questions haunted me during the day and gave me nightmares at night, and all I could keep thinking to myself was ‘but how?’ I am pleased to tell you all that I have finally cracked the code; I have all the answers now! Reading newspapers, court orders, precedents and online research ...

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The wailing wall of Israel

Perhaps we have all heard the oft repeated joke; when an American tourist came to Israel with the intention of visiting the Kotel (the Wailing Wall) but he forgot what it was called. When he stepped into a taxi, he said to the driver, Can you please take me to the place where all Jews cry? Do you know where this is? The taxi driver answered, Beseder – I’ll take you there. And he drove him straight to the taxation office! When I stepped outside the Easy Jet terminal on Tel Aviv International Airport, I felt chills travelling down my spine. They were partly ...

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The life of a business reporter

“Journalism is writing,” columnist Aakar Patel once told me, saying I should write more to justifiably be called a journalist. I was then a sub-editor on the Op-Ed desk of The News. After spending four years on that job, I knew I had become lazy, self-satisfied and highly opinionated – characteristics of a typical sub-editor. So I decided to become a business reporter after coming back from a one-year break that I took to do a Master’s degree in Journalism. If you think a business reporter’s job is a piece of cake, try having a direct conversation with a businessman. Ask him about his ...

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Food business: Branded versus unbranded

One of the most successful CEOs in Pakistan’s corporate history once remarked that promoting corporate farming brazenly in a country like ours was ‘criminal’ because it was likely to hurt the livelihood of people associated with agriculture, dairy and livestock sectors. Of course, his opinion matters and can’t be dismissed as the rant of a so-called leftie. However, I’m not sure if protecting the source of livelihood of a select few at the expense of the overall market efficiency should be a preferred alternative either. We’re all driven by self-interest, and my interest as a consumer who lives in an ...

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