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Visitors enjoy their day out at the Expo 2020 Dubai. Photos: Kamal Kassim, Gulf Today

Sajjad Ahmad, Deputy Business Editor

India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Housing and Urban Affairs, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, will address global investors at a round table today on “Opportunities in Oil & Gas Sector” in the India Pavilion of Expo 2020.

The minister will spell out the government’s strategies for accelerating investments in the Indian Oil and Gas value chain, besides utilising this global platform to understand global best-practices and discuss reforms with the global captains of the industry.

The round table will also provide the National Oil Companies (NOCs), International Oil & Gas majors, Sovereign Funds and Institutional Investors an opportunity to have in-depth discussion with the regulators and decision-makers from the Indian Oil and Gas sector and explore collaboration opportunities in India and understand the ongoing market and regulatory reforms in the country.

India is the 3rd largest oil consumer and 4th largest LNG importer and is a key player in the global Oil and gas sector.

The deliberations at the round table are aimed at utilising this opportunity to invite global investors to contribute and gain from the country’s objective of becoming self-reliant in the oil & gas sector and its vision towards attaining energy security.

Other topics which will also be discussed during the round table include, India’s increasing role in the global oil & gas value chain, energy security, access, as well as transition to sustainable energy along with Indo-UAE energy cooperation.

The round-table will be attended by Dr Aman Puri, Consul General of India in Dubai; Shri Subhash Kumar, Chairman & Managing Director, ONGC; Mr Prachur Sah, CEO, Cairn Oil and Gas and Mr Prashant Modi, Managing Director & CEO, Great Eastern Energy Corporation Limited & Chairman, FICCI Hydrocarbons Committee.

Priority banking for overseas Pakistanis: Roshan Digital Account (RDA) looks set to achieve a $3 billion milestone this month as non-resident Pakistanis continued to repose trust in the scheme by investing in different RDA products, according  to experts.

Industry leaders, bankers and executives said at a seminar that RDA is a big success as it receives on average $250 million to $300 million investments every month from overseas Pakistanis.

The Bank of Punjab (BOP) hosted the seminar at the Pakistan Pavilion of Expo 2020 to create awareness about RDA among the Pakistani community. The seminar was part of a series of events and conferences being arranged by BOP at Expo 2020 Dubai in November.

Pakistani Ambassador to the UAE, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) officials, BOP executives and partners participated in the seminar and briefed a large audience of Pakistani expats in the pavilion about the benefits of digital banking through RDA. A good number of Pakistanis also watched the event on Facebook Live.

Saleem Ullah, executive director for financial resource management at SBP, gave a comprehensive presentation on RDA and highlighted salient features and benefits of the scheme.

“RDA is a huge success as more than 285,000 RDA accounts have been opened so far from across 175 countries since the scheme was launched in September 2020. Pakistanis community abroad can benefits from number of RDA products such as Roshan Apna Ghar, Roshan Apni Car and Naya Pakistan Certificates, among others,” Saleem Ullah said.

He said around 1,000 to 1,200 RDAs are being opened daily on average and the scheme is expected to gain pace in coming months as banks, embassies and the government are creating good awareness among the overseas Pakistanis.

“Only five per cent of nine million non-resident Pakistanis worldwide have opened their digital accounts in past 14 months. There is a huge scope to tap the remaining 95 per cent of Pakistani diaspora by creating awareness through seminars, webinars and online campaigns,” he said.

Chief guest Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE Afzal Mahmood said RDA is an innovative product and is specially designed to cater to the needs of non-resident Pakistanis. “Overseas Pakistanis especially in the Gulf region gave an overwhelming response to RDA by investing in Naya Pakistan Certificates, Roshan Apna Ghar and Roshan Apni Car schemes. About 1.6 million overseas Pakistanis are residing in the UAE and they have remitted record money through RDA to Pakistan,” he said.

The Ambassador appreciated BOP for hosting a series of seminars and webinars at Pakistan Pavilion and said it will help Pakistani community to understand the benefits and advantages of RDA scheme.

“BOP introduced exciting additional products and features for its customers that are really helpful for overseas Pakistanis,” the ambassador said.

Zahid Mustafa, group chief, consumer and digital banking group at BOP, highlighted the bank’s efforts to promote RDA scheme by introducing priority digital banking to facilitate the Pakistani community.

“Our services under RDA scheme are free of charge as we value the contributions of overseas Pakistanis to their country. We have linked our priority banking proposition, BOP Khaas, to RDA scheme that will give overseas Pakistani community access to host of services such as personal relationship manager, priority banking, one free bank account service to a friend or family,” he said. Nofel Daud, group head of retail banking at BOP, said the bank is committed to offer NRPs best services under RDA scheme.

Daud, who moderated the seminar, said overseas Pakistanis gave overwhelming response to Roshan Apna Ghar and Roshan Apni Car.

Atyab Tahir, country head of Mastercard in Pakistan, BOP is a key partner for Mastercard and both are finalising details of new credit card that will offer good facilities to cardholders.

“We are going to offer more privileges to BOP customers under RDA scheme. The new cardholders will get access to all international lounges in addition to some other benefits,” Tahir said.

Yasir Shirazi, founder and CEO of InstaKin, also addressed the webinar and briefed the audience about key features of their company’s products and how it would benefit the RDA subscribers.

The session concluded with a question and answer session in which questions from the audience were answered by the webinar panelists.

IPACK-IMA awards: IPACK-IMA presented in Dubai, within the Expo framework, the contents and goals of the next edition of the technologies and materials exhibition to be held in Milan from 3rd to 6th of May.

As part of the “On the road to IPACK-IMA” program, buyers, trade journalists, opinion leaders and exhibitors met live in anticipation of the next IPACK-IMA 2022 event which the community has identified as the moment of return to international presence for every food and beverage industries.

‘Processing & Packaging Stories by Ipack Ima’ – a talk show, organized by Ipack Ima in cooperation with Packaging Mea and animated with speeches by Almarai, Della Toffola, Green Etichs, Al Bayader, Spinneys and Unilever – debated upon the demand for sustainability expressed by the food sector in this key market for the processing and packaging solutions.

“We’ve finally returned to in-presence activities for the international promotion of IPACK-IMA, which is strategically scheduled in the calendar of international industry events in 2022” states Rossano Bozzi, CEO of Ipack Ima. “We intend to offer the food and beverage industries a unique experience of returning to network live with companies, retailers and industry experts several months before the event, with the aim of generating concrete returns in terms of leads and personal meetings that, the next year in Milan, will be translated into projects and new business opportunities”.

Guests at the evening organized by Ipack Ima were welcomed by UCIMA, which presented the numbers for the export outlook in the region by Italian producers of packaging technologies. “For the Italian packaging machinery manufacturers, Asia in 2020 marked a +1.6% in exports of packaging machinery for the food sector and forecasts a record +3.2% in 2025, with detailed +5.3% for Food and +3.5% for Beverage. In particular, the Middle East represents a market with high potential which, according to data from MECS (Manufacturing Economic Studies), has consolidated for the United Arab Emirates alone in 2020 a growth of 42.3% over the previous year,” states Riccardo Cavanna, Vice President of UCIMA.

“We are proud to have been part of IPACK-IMA since its first edition back in 1961– stated Franco Goglio, President and CEO of Goglio SpA –. I do remember with pleasure that was during that edition that our company came to a turning point, in fact we presented there the first packaging machine by Goglio, a semi-automatic system for vacuum packaging, the first essential step in the path that has lead us to evolve from packaging suppliers into complete system partners. Since then we never stopped, such as IPACK-IMA that has and still does represent for us an extraordinary stage to let customer discover our products beyond the Alps, and up in the whole world”.