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Misleading Advertising’: CCP’s battle with Mezan Drinks’ Sting-lookalike Storm continues



ISLAMABAD: Mezan Drinks (Non-public) Restricted, a outstanding participant within the drinks trade, has been entangled in a authorized battle with the Competitors Fee of Pakistan (CCP) for the previous 5 years, using strategic court docket keep orders to impede the continuing enquiry.

As per the main points shared by the CCP, the saga started in August 2018 when the CCP initiated an enquiry into Mezan’s alleged involvement in misleading advertising practices. This was prompted by a proper grievance filed by PepsiCo Pakistan. The grievance accused Mezan of mimicking the packaging of Pepsi’s well-known power drink “Sting” for its personal power drink “Storm.”

Mezan swiftly responded with authorized maneuvers, submitting a writ petition on October 12, 2018, resulting in a two-year keep order in opposition to the initiation of the enquiry. Later, the Lahore Excessive Court docket (LHC) vacated the keep on October 26, 2018, permitting the CCP to renew its investigation. Subsequently, on June 28, 2021, the CCP accomplished its enquiry, issuing a present trigger discover to Mezan on July 7, 2021.

Undeterred, Mezan secured one other keep order from the LHC on August 3, 2021, in opposition to the CCP’s present trigger discover. This has extended the authorized standoff, leaving the end result of the enquiry in limbo.

The authorized saga continued with a parallel incident in 2020 when the CCP initiated an inquiry looking for data from cooking oil and ghee firms relating to pricing. Dalda Meals challenged this enquiry within the Islamabad Excessive Court docket (IHC), ensuing within the IHC setting apart CCP’s name for data letters and initiation of the enquiry. The IHC additionally imposed stringent necessities on CCP’s regulatory and enquiry powers.

In response to this setback, the CCP took the matter to the Supreme Court docket of Pakistan in September 2023. The apex court docket, in a historic and landmark judgment, unanimously upheld the statutory powers of the CCP associated to the initiation of enquiries and gathering of data.

The Supreme Court docket’s ruling put aside the extraordinary necessities imposed by the IHC, together with the necessity for detailed reasoning when initiating an enquiry and passing a reasoned order. This judgment reaffirms the authority of the CCP in imposing honest competitors practices, nonetheless the present delay in consequence on the Mezan beverage case, as soon as once more brings into query CCP’s statutory prowess.

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Senate’s standing committee deliberates on TCP’s Rs260bn debt problem



ISLAMABAD: Disconcerting revelations have emerged  in a session of the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce held at Parliament Home on Monday. It was revealed that the Buying and selling Company of Pakistan (TCP), an integral division beneath the Ministry of Commerce, is entangled in unpaid debt obligations of roughly Rs 260 billion.

Within the assembly chaired by senator Zeeshan Khanzada, a complete technique was mentioned to handle the debt compensation problems with the Buying and selling Company of Pakistan (TCP). The committee scrutinized the excellent dues owed by TCP to numerous authorities entities, encompassing industrial financial institution loans and accrued markup, totaling a considerable 259.26 billion Pakistani rupees. The breakdown included a principal quantity of 105.51 billion rupees and 153.74 billion rupees in markup.

Through the session, the Chairman of TCP supplied insights into the company’s efforts in the direction of debt restoration. Notable initiatives included third-party audits on subsidy funds and constant reminders to recipient companies. To streamline the method, directives had been issued to involved ministries, urging them to submit summaries to the Finance Division reflecting the payables to TCP of their monetary calls for for FY 2013-2024.

The Chairman additional highlighted ongoing efforts involving recurrent conferences with Finance Divisions and related federal and provincial recipients. Regardless of these efforts, the matter was deferred for additional reporting, emphasizing the committee’s dedication to a speedy and equitable decision of the monetary predicament. The Committee concluded that discussions will persist till a conclusive decision is achieved.

Concurrently, the committee shifted its focus to enhancing kinnow (Tangerine) exports. Officers highlighted that Pakistan predominantly exports kinnows to Afghanistan, UAE, Russia, Philippines, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia. Regardless of a decline in kinnow exports final season as a consequence of floods, the Ministry goals for a considerable rebound, setting an bold export goal of $150 million for the present season.

Deputy Chairman Senate, Mirza Muhammad Afridi, proposed increasing export locations to incorporate South Korea, citing potential demand. He additional advocated for home exhibitions to lift consciousness amongst locals concerning the demand for these merchandise. The Committee Chairman advisable the Ministry devise a particular export technique for oranges, predominantly produced in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Along with the monetary challenges confronted by TCP, the Senate Committee additionally mentioned the “Imports and Exports (Management) Modification Invoice, 2023.” Launched by Senators Zeeshan Khanzada, Faisal Saleem Rehman, and Muhammad Abdul Qadir, the modification proposes restrictions on the export of uncooked salt, urging the Federal Authorities to impose circumstances.

The Ministry argued that the Imports and Exports (Management) Act, 1950, serves as the first authorized instrument regulating worldwide commerce in Pakistan. The Ministry emphasised that inclusion-wise prohibitions and restrictions within the act is probably not applicable, because it offers powers to the Federal Authorities to control commerce.

Deputy Chairman Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi emphasised Pakistan’s immense rock salt reserves, stressing the necessity for a coverage to maximise income. He careworn that this commodity has been exported internationally in uncooked type and not using a coverage that enables most income to be regained in Pakistan. It has been famous up to now that wealthy salt, such because the Himalayan Pink salt has been exported within the type of rocks from Pakistan and the revenue for worth addition and packaging was foregone by the exporters. The committee deferred the matter for future deliberation, requesting the amended draft of EPO 22 and deciding to carry conferences with stakeholders on the legality of the modification.

The Senate Committee additionally addressed the duty-free import of vehicles as much as 1350cc for disabled individuals. Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir proposed permitting disabled people to import used vehicles, given the monetary constraints. The Committee referred the matter to the Senate Finance Committee for gross sales tax exemption.

In attendance had been Deputy Chairman Senate Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan, Senator Mohammad Abdul Qadir, Particular Secretary Commerce Sarah Saeed, Chairman TCP Syed Rafeo Bashir Shah, and different senior officers from related departments.

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Chairman SECP warns towards misleading Apps: Requires public vigilance



ISLAMABAD: In a keynote deal with on the Mercentile Expo, Akif Saeed, Chairman of the Securities and Change Fee of Pakistan (SECP), emphasised the risks posed by misleading funding apps on social media. Saeed urged the general public to confirm platforms by way of SECP-regulated web sites and keep vigilant towards illicit schemes.

Chairman Saeed lauded the legitimacy of the Mercentile Change as a safe funding platform, advocating for consciousness campaigns to foster its progress. He harassed the significance of warning in digital investments, proposing modern platforms for the youth and envisioning a promising future for capital ventures.

The Funding Expo, organized by Mercentile Change in collaboration with SECP right here on Saturday, showcased seminars on shares, commodities, and mutual funds, emphasizing consciousness by way of informative periods. Exhibition stalls offered insights into various funding avenues, together with inventory brokers, commodity brokers, mutual fund insurance coverage, Takaful firms, and microfinance establishments.

Chairman Saeed expressed issues about fraudulent schemes on social media, urging buyers to train warning. Regardless of challenges, he underscored expertise’s position in unveiling new alternatives inside the monetary sector.

The Pakistan Mercantile Change (PMEX) organized the InvestExpo, that includes main entities within the monetary sector. The inaugural expo in Islamabad aimed to encourage protected funding options and lift monetary data.

Chairman PMEX Abdul Qadir Memon expressed gratitude for the expo, showcasing the dynamism and resilience of economic markets. The occasion celebrated the empowerment of buyers, emphasizing the essential significance of investor consciousness for a sturdy monetary ecosystem.

The expo, past direct beneficiaries, additionally goals to make sure each particular person and entity concerned in monetary markets is provided with data for knowledgeable selections. It makes an attempt to bridge the knowledge hole, making monetary services and products extra accessible and contributing to an inclusive monetary panorama.

A thriving capital market, in keeping with Chairman Saeed, supplies mandatory capital for companies to develop, innovate, and create employment alternatives, driving financial progress. A vibrant capital market allows wealth creation and preservation, permitting buyers to diversify portfolios and take part in long-term progress.

The SECP is dedicated to sustaining a good and clear market, guaranteeing investor rights and pursuits that are protected by way of regulatory safeguards. Belief is crucial, and moral conduct is inspired and anticipated from all individuals, fostering an setting of integrity.

Monetary literacy, highlighted by way of the SECP’s Jamapunji initiative, acts as a protect towards malpractice, aiming to empower people with data for sound monetary selections.

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Careem launches Flexi Journey in bid to compete with Bykea, InDrive



Journey-hailing platform Careem has realigned its technique with the launch of a value bidding possibility for purchasers, as competitors within the ride-hailing business will get fiercer with the entry of Russian Yandex-group backed Yango within the nation. 

Careem already faces stiff competitors from inDrive, additionally a Russian origin firm. Issues usually are not helped by the entry of Bykea in car-hailing. Each firms permit customers to bid fares and provide them extra management over pricing. Yango additionally affords these rides at discounted costs. 

Which is why, in a current announcement, Careem launched Flexi Journey, within the firm’s new bid to permit for extra person flexibility. Careem has stored the unique mannequin of robotically generated fares with out the bidding possibility intact in all classes.

What’s Flexi Journey?

The Flexi Journey function is perhaps a brand new providing by Careem, however it isn’t a brand new idea in Pakistan. This function permits commuters to set their most popular value on the time of reserving, with a median fare initially displayed. 

Customers on the Careem app can solely bid fares 15% over or beneath the displayed common fare, whereas customers on Bykea and InDrive should not have any vary restrictions. The remainder of the method stays the identical, the place the person’s provided value is shipped to a number of drivers, who both settle for the fare or provide counter bids. When an settlement over the fare is reached, a driver is assigned, commencing the journey.

Careem’s justification for having a 15% higher and decrease cap for bidding vary is to forestall customers from providing exploitative fares to Captains and maintaining the costs honest. 

The brand new providing was piloted in Faisalabad and Multan in Spetember, the place it acquired a optimistic response, in response to the corporate, prompting its launch in Islamabad and Rawalpindi in November. The corporate plans to develop to different cities like Lahore and Karachi quickly. 

Imran Saleem, Basic Supervisor Journey Hailing at Careem Pakistan instructed Revenue, “We launched Flexi Journey as a result of we noticed an urge for food for it out there based mostly on surveys and routine join periods with the Captains and clients. Whereas the early adoption fee is promising, we’ll proceed to observe and see the way it progresses.” 

The corporate refused to share the precise adoption fee however knowledgeable Revenue that the brand new function has gained optimistic traction. 

Flexi Journey is presently accessible in three classes of rides, together with Flexi GO, Flexi GO Mini, and Flexi Bikes. GO Premium stays unchanged, and maintains the prevailing variable value market mannequin. Whereas Careem didn’t disclose the commissions charged to Captain, it was confirmed that commissions beneath Flexi can be decrease than within the authentic non-bidding fare mannequin. 

Lately, there have been complaints that Careem captains cannot earn sufficient from rides, as they’re charged hefty commissions between 30% to 40%.Which means from each Rs1,000 {that a} driver earns, anyplace between Rs300 and Rs400 will go to Careem. 

Careem was pressured to cost excessive commissions, as buyers demanded extra profitability from Careem’s father or mother firm Uber. 

Opponents akin to inDrive took benefit of the scenario, and began with no commissions. Now, Careem seems to be pressured to undertake the identical route by introducing the same providing and decrease commissions for drivers. 

Lately, Careem had additionally introduced that it might resume bonuses and incentives for its drivers, in a bid to prop up the provision of drivers which had fallen for the reason that pandemic.

However why would commuters, particularly ones choosing the smaller GO and GO Mini vehicles, proceed utilizing the unique mannequin when Flexi exists? Ought to Careem not have discontinued the earlier billing mannequin in GO and GO Mini vehicles as a result of clients and captains alike have larger incentive to go for the brand new value mannequin? 

A Careem captain, who requested to remain nameless, disclosed that the corporate is utilizing a number of incentives for captains to undertake the brand new mannequin. “Careem is charging much less service charges from Captains on Flexi Rides,” he shared, confirming that top commissions might need been a part of Careem’s troubles.  

With the brand new providing, Careem’s personal commissions may undergo, however the firm should succumb to market demand, particularly in right this moment’s extremely aggressive ride-hailing panorama.

The captain additionally instructed Revenue that in a briefing session for captains previous to the launch of Flexi Journey, a Careem spokesperson stated, “The thought behind maintaining each the Flexi (mounted) and market (variable) fashions operational is, to account for elements that affect the price of the experience. This fashion Captains have liberty to take rides on {the marketplace} mannequin throughout peak hours, whereas, clients preferring the unique mannequin as a result of any elements, akin to having a number of stops or longer journeys, however need a cheaper and smaller automobile also can go for it.”

It’s secure to say that this new function was launched to cater to extra value delicate clients, preferring having management over the fares they pay. Additionally it is secure to imagine that Careem was urged to introduce this new function with the intention to retain its market share in a extremely aggressive market, in order that it doesn’t lose its person base to alternate options like Bykea and InDrive.

In an interview with Revenue in 2022, Bykea’s CEO Muneeb Maayr stated, “We’re rolling out a hybrid between quick matchmaking that we do right this moment and a bid provide that inDriver does.” He added: “In a recession, we really feel that the hybrid of each of those goes to be one thing that the market goes to simply accept. It will each permit drivers to ship affords and even permit clients to ship bids, even when they’re low bids, particularly the shoppers that need to get monetary savings and need to wait after bidding for low fares.” 

Bykea assumed that motion won’t cease, however commuters might need lowered expectations of high quality and time. In essence, Bykea relied on the premise that the decline in disposable earnings, attributed to escalating inflation, coupled with the important must commute for work or college, will immediate people to commerce ready time for experience prices. This technique appeared to open the door for the inclusion of cheaper, lower-quality autos, additional lowering total costs and positioning Bykea to grab a bigger market share. One thing comparable is perhaps within the play for Careem as nicely.

Careem Pakistan appears to be shifting its focus away from segments which aren’t associated to ride-hailing. Simply over two months in the past, the corporate withdrew its digital cash establishment (EMI) licence from the State Financial institution of Pakistan (SBP), ending its plans to launch a cellular pockets. Careem’s meals supply service is also nowhere to be seen, hinting that the meals supply section might need succumbed to meals supply platform Foodpanda’s mammoth presence. 

As an alternative, adjustments at Careem, such because the introduction of Flexi rides, come on the again of a $25 million funding for the Pakistani market. The decrease commissions on rides implies that Careem’s focus has come again to ride-hailing. It has money and is able to spend it to regain its market share in car-hailing. 

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