KARACHI: “Strong linkage between the financial services sector and academia is an important tool for boosting intellectual capital in the financial services industry and in finding better solutions for the current economic challenges of Pakistan”. These thoughts were expressed by President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Mr. Saeed Ahmad during his visit to University of Karachi (UoK). Professor Dr. M. Ajmal Khan S.I., Vice Chancellor of UoK welcomed Saeed Ahmad and his team at the university and expressed his gratitude to NBP for considering the UoK for its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spending.
NBP will plant over 1,000 trees at various sites of UoK to beautify the campus and improve environment. Saeed Ahmad said that NBP, under its CSR program “Green Initiative”, has also started tree plantation drive at various parts of the city and will carry this initiative to other cities as well. Tree plantation in a large scale is essential to avert pollution and to counter negative impact of climate change, he added.
In Pakistan, Saeed Ahmad said, the industry-academia linkages are not as well developed as they are in other countries. Pakistani universities rarely tap into their alumni network or engage with industry, and neither has industry made any serious effort to generate more practical interest in universities. It is high time to make some serious attempts to reduce the gap between industry and academia, he said. He emphasized that NBP plans to remain engaged with universities more regularly. This partnership can play a helping role in student recruitment, retention, and workforce development from within the local economy. He also mentioned that a number of graduates from the UoK’s Business School have built successful careers at NBP and are contributing to the bank’s growing success.
He also mentioned his other engagements with IBA, Karachi, LUMS, Institute of Management Sciences (IMS Peshawar), Karachi Business School and other institutions as Deputy Governor, SBP for the introduction of syllabus of Islamic Finance and research relating to issues faced by Islamic banking.
Saeed Ahmad said that he was delighted to visit University of Karachi, unarguably one of the most renowned academic institutions of Pakistan and having the honor of meeting Professor Dr. M. Ajmal Khan S.I., Vice Chancellor of UoK.
Professor Dr. M. Ajmal Khan highlighted the contributions of UoK since its establishment in 1951 and highlighted the fact that UoK’s graduates have been providing services in various national institutions. He said that the contributions of UoK’s graduates are recognized in all fields and particularly in the areas of finance and industry.
Dr. M. Ajmal also talked about the challenges being faced by the UoK in carrying out educational activities, mainly the ever increasing resource gap. He said that the UoK is providing higher education particularly to lower income groups of the society who could not afford hefty fee at other educational institutions. He further mentioned that the university was facing an annual budget deficit of PKR 3 – 4 billion. Dr. M. Ajmal desired to plug the deficit and said that NBP and other leading financial institutions and businesses in Karachi should play their role to strengthen the UoK`s financial position.
At the occasion, Mehmood Arshad, the UoK’s Alumni representative, acknowledged the highly effective role Mr. Saeed Ahmad had played for the promotion of Islamic Banking system in Pakistan. He requested him to introduce NBP’s ‘Aitemaad Islamic Banking Services’ at UoK.
Mr. Mehmood Arshad, UoK Alumni representative, Dr. Salman Gulzar and Mr. Omer Javed of ‘Green Better’ also present at the occasion. Other team members from NBP included Syed Jamal Baquar, SEVP/Group Chief, Corporate Banking Group, Mr. Shaukat Mahmood, EVP/Group Head, Service Quality Group and Syed Ibne Hassan, VP/Media-Service Quality Group. News Desk