Toast Selects FreedomPay as its Preferred Payments Partner for Global Enterprise Merchants

Toast will now enable enterprise merchants to combine FreedomPay’s best-in-class global Commerce Platform with its leading restaurant digital platform Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FreedomPay, the world’s leading independent commerce platform and Toast, the all-in-one digital platform built for the entire restaurant community, signed a partnership agreement making FreedomPay Toast’s preferred payments […]

Toast will now enable enterprise merchants to combine FreedomPay’s best-in-class global Commerce Platform with its leading restaurant digital platform

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FreedomPay, the world’s leading independent commerce platform and Toast, the all-in-one digital platform built for the entire restaurant community, signed a partnership agreement making FreedomPay Toast’s preferred payments gateway partner for select enterprise brands.

Toast will be able to offer its cloud-based digital platform for restaurants to leading enterprise merchants in the U.S. and Canada who are on the award-winning FreedomPay Commerce Platform.

Kelly Esten, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise at Toast stated: “As the restaurant industry rapidly adapts to new service models, Toast continues to deliver the industry’s trusted digital platform to help restaurants of all sizes and types—including franchisees—drive profitability, create the streamlined dining experiences guests expect, and make managing food service operations across properties easier than ever. We look forward to partnering with FreedomPay as we drive our enterprise expansion.”

FreedomPay Senior Vice President, Sales & Digital Development Nate Ware added: “This exciting collaboration between FreedomPay and Toast delivers advanced capabilities to large merchants. We are quite simply ‘unleashing the power of pay’ to thousands more businesses to help support Toast’s growth across enterprise level merchant solutions.”

FreedomPay is one of the world’s fastest growing Fintechs, innovating and transforming commerce to Next Level™ payment solutions. FreedomPay is aggressively expanding in new markets including the Middle East, South America, Africa and APAC. FreedomPay has recently been named one of the Fastest Growing FinTechs to Watch in 2022 and is a finalist for the Best Payment System in the PayTech Awards, London 2023.

FreedomPay and Toast will be exhibiting together at HITEC in Toronto, June 26-29. Visit booth 516/518 to learn more.

About FreedomPay
FreedomPay’s Next Level Commerce™ platform transforms existing payment systems and processes from legacy to leading edge. As the premier choice for many of the largest companies across the globe in retail, hospitality, lodging, gaming, sports and entertainment, foodservice, education, healthcare and financial services, FreedomPay’s technology has been purposely built to deliver rock solid performance in the highly complex environment of global commerce. The company maintains a world-class security environment and was first to earn the coveted validation by the PCI Security Standards Council against Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE/EMV) standard in North America. FreedomPay’s robust solutions across payments, security, identity, and data analytics are available in-store, online and on-mobile and are supported by rapid API adoption. The award winning FreedomPay Commerce Platform operates on a single, unified technology stack across multiple continents allowing enterprises to deliver an innovative Next Level experience on a global scale. www.freedompay.com

Jennifer Tayebi
Hill+Knowlton Strategies for FreedomPay
+1 734 395 0780
jennifer.tayebi@hkstrategies.com

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8856540

Dominica Ranks as Safest Country in the Caribbean in 2023 World Citizenship Report: CS Global Partners

London, June 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Commonwealth of Dominica has been crowned as the safest place in the Caribbean in the second annual World Citizenship Report published by the world’s leading government advisory and marketing firm, CS Global Partners. Using data from the World Citizenship Index (WCI), the World Citizenship Report’s data-driven tool which measures 188 countries […]

London, June 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Commonwealth of Dominica has been crowned as the safest place in the Caribbean in the second annual World Citizenship Report published by the world’s leading government advisory and marketing firm, CS Global Partners.

Using data from the World Citizenship Index (WCI), the World Citizenship Report’s data-driven tool which measures 188 countries across five motivators most relevant to the mass affluent, the Nature Isle topped the Safety and Security pillar in the region with a score of 76.9, bringing it to the 38th safest place in the international arena.

In the Caribbean, Grenada (46), St Kitts and Nevis (48), Saint Lucia (50) and Antigua and Barbuda (52) followed Dominica’s safety and security rank of 38. Iceland (1), New Zealand (2) and Switzerland (3) kept their top rankings globally for the second year in a row, while economic giants like the US (65) and China (111) trailed much further behind Dominica.

Dominica continues to place emphasis on physical safety, rule of law, and political stability and ranks high in categories like voice and accountability, where citizens feel empowered to hold leaders accountable to their demands and needs.

The post-pandemic return to ‘normal’ has been marred by generational inflation, broader macroeconomic volatility as well as the geopolitical instability stemming from the crisis in Ukraine – which has threatened to upend the ‘Long Peace’ enjoyed since the end of WWII.

The resultant supply chain, energy, and political pressures have pushed the global economy closer to a recession and are forcing governments to enact monetary and fiscal policy changes that are pressurising households the world over. Perhaps more importantly, the upheaval of the last two years that has engendered both restrictions on local and international movement and increased economic headwinds have compelled the world’s citizens to reappraise their relationship with their own governments with respect to freedom, safety, and opportunity.

The mass affluent and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) are looking for alternative destinations as a bolt-hole for future crises in countries that offer the freedoms that are lacking in their home nations.

With many parts of the world also experiencing an uptick in violent crime due to ineffective policies and rising inequality, smaller jurisdictions in particular are increasingly prioritising efforts to ensure the rule of law for all as part of efforts to boost tourism and attract digital nomads. In the Caribbean for example, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) data shows that St Kitts and Nevis saw a 50 per cent reduction in its average crime statistics over the past five years resulting in it being ranked among the safest islands to visit in 2023 by well-known tourist guide “Travellers Worldwide”.

Caribbean nations that offer investment migration schemes such as Dominica, offer global citizens access to some of the best travel and economic markets in the world.

Dominica began welcoming foreign nationals to obtain citizenship in 1993. The island remains politically and economically stable, with a low crime rate and rich investment opportunities.

Chantal Mabanga
CS Global Partners
+44 (0) 207 318 4343
Chantal.Mabanga@csglobalpartners.com

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8856088

13 Killed, 41 Injured In Two Road Accidents In Pakistan

At least 13 people were killed and around 41 others injured today, in two separate road accidents in Pakistan, the rescue service and authorities reported.The authorities said that, at least nine people were killed and 18 others were injured early this…

At least 13 people were killed and around 41 others injured today, in two separate road accidents in Pakistan, the rescue service and authorities reported.

The authorities said that, at least nine people were killed and 18 others were injured early this morning, when a bus fell into a deep ravine in Kotli district of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

According to reports, around 35 passengers were in the bus, who were returning to Gujranwala city of Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, after attending a religious ceremony at the Nairian area.

Separately, four people were killed and 23 others injured, in the wee hours of this morning, in Sheikhupura district of Punjab, after a bus turned turtle due to over-speeding, while taking a turn at Sheikhupura Motorway, the rescue service reported.

Rescuers have reached the sites of the two accidents and shifted the victims to local hospitals, according to the rescue service

Source: Nam News Network

Pakistan: How Khan crackdown imperils women in politics

As Pakistan’s government continues to crack down on supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, female supporters say the government is using the unrest to create a hostile environment for women in polit…

As Pakistan's government continues to crack down on supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, female supporters say the government is using the unrest to create a hostile environment for women in politics.

Khan's arrest in May on corruption charges sparked violent protests across Pakistan, with PTI members and Khan supporters accused of vandalizing military buildings, including Pakistan's army headquarters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Since then, authorities have been targeting PTI officials and supporters, promising to punish those responsible for the unrest

Khan claims more than 10,000 party members and workers have been arrested and accuses the government of trying to "dismantle" his party. The government denies these claims and puts the number of arrested at much lower. According to Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, 5,000 PTI workers and supporters have been arrested since May 9.

PTI women speak up about crackdown

Amid the crackdown, a number of female PTI workers claim that their fellow party workers have been threatened, arrested, beaten and harassed.

Kanwal Shauzab, president of the PTI's women wing, told DW that she witnessed police brutality.

Shauzab said several female supporters who were peacefully protesting on May 9 were beaten and taken away by police. She added that one of her friends returned from detainment with bite marks all over her body, which she hid from her family members.

"She comes from a respectable family, and the entire family has been in trauma," she said.

Tehmina Faheem, district president of the PTI for the city of Abbotabad, told DW many women working for the PTI have left their jobs out of fear.

She added that if the workers show up at their offices, they will be identified by police, and could be subject to raids.

She said that female party workers who were running beauty parlors, marriage bureaus and other small business have lost their sources of livelihood.

"The fear of arrests and raids is so profound that they cannot go and work at their businesses," she said.

Fauzia Kalsoom Rana, an Islamabad-based based journalist and analyst, told DW she has witnessed how authorities raided the homes of PTI women, while harassing and bullying them.

"This has forced them to hide here and there, changing their location. What is more disturbing is that they are also being declared traitors and being pressured into leaving Imran Khan."

Yasmin Lehri, a Quetta-based activist from Pakistan's western province, said that although the authorities' actions were triggered by the pro-PTI unrest, the heavy response, especially towards PTI women, cannot be justified on any ground.

"The way they were kicked out of their homes and their families were beaten, and the way they were abducted, is condemnable," Lehri told DW.

She added that it is the right of every political party to stage peaceful protests, and that the police cannot violate human rights of political workers in the name of crackdown.

Wider impact on women's role in politics?

Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, a PTI lawmaker, told DW that authorities are using all tactics to pressure women into leaving politics. He added that women in the PTI have proven more resilient than men, which he says has ushered in tougher treatment.

"PTI men are leaving the party, but women are still steadfast. A number of women have been in jail for over a month, but they've refused to betray Imran Khan, despite the fact that their houses were raided without any warrant and they were badly mistreated at the time of arrest."

Taimur asserts under the law anyone arrested should appear before a magistrate within 24 hours. "But our women remained in jail or police stations for days and weeks but they were not produced before a judge."

The PTI is seen as having brought a large number of women into politics, especially from middle, upper and sections of the elite classes.

The party also sent a number of women to parliament, and some of them also held important ministerial posts.

PTI district president Faheem said that women who are taken to jail or police stations are often maligned in Pakistan's patriarchal society.

"People taunt them saying cops must have done something with them," she told DW, adding unmarried women might not get marriage proposals, and married women could have their marriages ruined. This leads to men forbidding their wives or female family members from participating in politics, Faheem said.

PTI's women's wing leader Shauzab believes that politics requires a lot of mobility, and in Pakistan, "women are dependent on men economically and financially, even for mobility they are dependent on men."

"After this crackdown, they won't take them to take part in political gatherings," she added.

Government denies crackdown claims

Pakistan's government has denied that women are being targeted in the crackdown, saying claims to this effect are "PTI propaganda."

Punjab government spokesman Amir Mir said no women have been mistreated. He told DW that 300 women were identified for sabotage activities, adding 46 were arrested and 29 have been released on bail.

"Women were treated according to laws. Some of them were not allowed to meet relatives because of the laws," he said.

Muhammad Jalal-ud-din, a leader in Pakistan's ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance, told DW that the PTI is following the law in cracking down on both men and women who commit crimes.

"Laws are clear whether it is women or men when they commit crimes, they will be punished," he said, adding that since women were involved in attacking military installations they will be prosecuted and punished under the law.

"The PTI is spreading malicious propaganda. Arrested women are being treated according to the laws. No woman was tortured or harassed. It is all Imran Khan's propaganda to defame Pakistan," he said.

Source: Deutsche Welle

SBP Keeps Interest Rate Unchanged

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 21 percent.At its meeting today, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 21 percent. The MPC noted that higher inflation outturn…

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 21 percent.

At its meeting today, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 21 percent. The MPC noted that higher inflation outturns for April and May were broadly as anticipated.

The Committee also noted sequential ease in inflation expectations of both consumers and businesses from their recent peaks. Further, the Committee expects domestic demand to remain subdued amid tight monetary stance, domestic uncertainty, and continuing stress on external account.

Against this backdrop, and given the declining m/m trend, the MPC views inflation to have peaked at 38 percent in May 2023, and barring any unforeseen developments, expects it to start falling from June onwards.

Topline CEO Mohammad Sohail said, “No change in rate. MPC views inflation to have peaked at 38 percent in May 2023, and barring any

unforeseen developments, expect it to start falling from June onwards”.

MPC Statement

The Committee noted multiple important developments since the last meeting. First, the provisional National Accounts estimates show real GDP growth to have decelerated considerably during FY23.

Second, the current account balance recorded back-to-back surpluses in March and April 2023, which reduced some pressures on foreign exchange reserves.

Third, the government unveiled the budget for FY24 on June 9, which envisages a slightly contractionary fiscal stance against the revised estimates for FY23.

Fourth, global commodity prices and financial conditions have eased recently and are expected to persist in the near term.

The MPC also took stock of the cumulative impact of the substantial monetary tightening undertaken so far, which is still unfolding. On balance, the MPC views the current monetary policy stance, with positive real interest rates on a forward-looking basis, as appropriate to anchor inflation expectations and to bring down inflation towards the medium-term target – barring any unexpected domestic and external shocks. However, the MPC emphasized that this outlook is also contingent on effectively addressing the prevailing domestic uncertainty and external vulnerabilities.

Real Estate

The provisional National Accounts estimates show that real GDP grew by 0.3 percent in FY23, from the revised FY22 growth of 6.1 percent. The major drag came from a significant contraction in value addition of industry due to several adverse domestic and external factors; while the services sector grew at the slowest pace since the COVID-impacted FY20.

The agriculture sector growth was lower than last year but better than post-flood expectations, as bumper sugarcane and wheat crops and robust growth in the livestock sector largely offset the flood-related damages to cotton and rice crops.

The MPC also noted that the slowdown in economic activity was in line with the trends in high-frequency indicators, especially double-digit declines in volumes of auto, POL, and domestic cement sales, and contraction in large-scale manufacturing during the course of this fiscal year.

These trends are expected to continue in the near term due to the accumulated impact of tight policies. On the other hand, in the absence of any unfavorable turn in weather conditions, the agriculture sector is expected to post an improved performance relative to the outgoing fiscal year.

External sector

The current account continues to respond to the demand compression policies and regulatory mix, with the deficit during Jul Apr FY23 dropping to $3.3 billion, less than one-fourth of last year’s deficit. The policy-induced contraction in imports more than offset the drop in exports and remittances.

The Committee noted that the narrowing of the current account deficit has somewhat contained pressures on the foreign exchange reserves and the interbank exchange rate, which has broadly remained stable since the last MPC meeting.

However, debt repayments amid lower fresh disbursements and weak investment inflows continue to exert pressure on the FX reserves. Going forward, under the baseline assumptions of a relatively favorable outlook for commodity prices and moderate domestic economic recovery next year, the MPC views that the current account deficit will broadly remain in check.

Fiscal Sector

The fiscal position has improved in cumulative terms during Jul-Mar FY23, as the fiscal deficit reduced slightly to 3.6 percent of GDP from 3.9 percent last year, while the primary balance posted a surplus of 0.6 percent of GDP this year against a deficit last year.

Notwithstanding this cumulative improvement, there has been some deterioration in fiscal indicators in Q3, largely reflecting an increase in non-interest current expenditures, mainly subsidies, and a significant deceleration in the pace of overall tax revenue.

The usual end-year increase in developmental spending and further slowdown in revenue collection amidst a substantial slowdown in domestic economic activity and contraction in imports points to a further increase in the fiscal deficit in Q4.

The revised estimates show a fiscal deficit of 7.0 percent and a primary deficit of 0.5 percent of GDP for FY23. The FY24 budget envisages a fiscal deficit of 6.5 percent and a primary surplus of 0.4 percent of GDP. The MPC noted that while the target for the overall fiscal deficit is not significantly different from the revised estimate for FY23, strictly adhering to it is imperative to contain inflationary and external account pressures.

Monetary and inflation outlook

The broad money (M2) growth decelerated in May 2023 compared to last year, largely due to a substantial fall in private sector credit (PSC) and a contraction in net foreign assets of the banking system. The y/y growth in PSC decelerated to 7.1 percent in April 2023, substantially lower than 22.3 percent in April 2022.

Sequentially, PSC saw net retirement for the fourth consecutive month in April, mainly because of a substantial reduction in demand for working capital and consumer loans in the wake of subdued economic activity and high borrowing costs.

While there was an uptick in credit for fixed investment in April, it was significantly lower in cumulative terms during Jul-Apr FY23 compared to the same period last year.

The national CPI inflation rose to 38 percent in May 2023, pushing the average inflation to 29.2 percent during July-May FY23, compared to 11.3 percent in the same period last year. Inflation remained broad-based, with food continuing to contribute more than half to the overall inflation in May.

Importantly, core inflation maintained its upward trajectory, albeit at a slower pace, mainly indicating the second-round impact of higher food and energy prices and exchange rate depreciation amid still elevated inflation expectations. Within food, prices of a few essential non-perishable items rose quite significantly in May, mainly due to domestic supply chain issues.

The MPC expects that reduced demand-side pressures and ease in inflation expectations, along with moderating global commodity prices and high base effect, would help bring inflation down from June 2023 onwards. In this context, the MPC views that maintaining the current policy stance is necessary to bring inflation down to the medium-term target range of 5 – 7 percent by the end of FY25.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Ufone 4g Brings Unbeatable Data Roaming, Unrestricted Access to WhatsApp for Hajj Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

Pakistani Telecom Company, Ufone 4G has introduced an unbeatable and best-value Data Roaming Offer for its prepaid customers, embarking on the Holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.This exclusive bundle will provide its users with unlimited access to WhatsA…

Pakistani Telecom Company, Ufone 4G has introduced an unbeatable and best-value Data Roaming Offer for its prepaid customers, embarking on the Holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

This exclusive bundle will provide its users with unlimited access to WhatsApp calls for unrestricted communication with friends and family back home.

This rewarding bundle comes with a generous allocation of 7000 MBs of data for just PKR 4000 and exclusively unrestricted access to WhatsApp calls and messages from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The offer, once subscribed, is valid for 40 days, which adequately covers the entire period of Hajj.

While Ufone 4G has data roaming services in place for Saudi Arabia around the year, this exclusive offer aims to bring additional ease and enablement to Ufone 4G users by helping them fulfill their necessary communication needs conveniently.

The Hajj Data Roaming offer is reflective of Ufone 4G’s steadfast commitment to providing the best value for money to its users. The price of this bundle is lowest in the industry, while the data bucket is enormous to cater to customers’ data requirements during the extended validity period of 40 days.

The offer also mirrors Ufone 4G’s sustained commitment to prioritizing customer-centricity, as it invests and innovates to touch upon multiple socio-cultural aspects of their lives.

The company’s ability to cross national boundaries to ensure that its clients are always in touch with their loved ones is a testament to how the users are at the centre of everything Ufone 4G ever imagines and creates.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Low-Income Patients Struggle Due to Rising Medicine Prices

The high cost of essential medications has made it difficult for many patients to access the treatment they need, especially those from low-income families. This issue has been exacerbated by limited funding for healthcare programs like the Sehat Insa…

The high cost of essential medications has made it difficult for many patients to access the treatment they need, especially those from low-income families. This issue has been exacerbated by limited funding for healthcare programs like the Sehat Insaf Card.

Recently, the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) increased the price of medicine used to treat chronic conditions such as cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. This has made it even more challenging for patients to afford their treatment.

DRAP approved a 14 percent price increase for a range of essential medications, including those used to treat cancer, hypertension, bacterial infections, anaphylaxis, diabetes insipidus, and diabetes mellitus. As a result, many patients are unable to access the treatment they need.

Aslam Pervez, the General Secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) at the Pakistan Chemist and Druggist Association (PCDA), acknowledged the difficulties faced by low-income patients due to the high cost of 29 essential medications. He attributed this to the rising dollar rate and reliance on foreign drug companies. Pervez stated that he would request DRAP to review drug prices and monitor the policies of manufacturer

Source: Pro Pakistani

Hours-Long Load-Shedding Starts as Temperatures Rise Across Pakistan

Pakistan continues to grapple with a significant electricity shortfall as the demand for power outstrips the available supply.According to recent data, the country’s total electricity generation stands at 20,552 MW, while the demand has soared to 26,0…

Pakistan continues to grapple with a significant electricity shortfall as the demand for power outstrips the available supply.

According to recent data, the country’s total electricity generation stands at 20,552 MW, while the demand has soared to 26,000 MW, resulting in a shortfall of 6,348 MW.

As a consequence, various regions across the country are experiencing up to 8 hours of load-shedding.

The shortfall in electricity generation is largely attributed to several factors, including the limited capacity of the private thermal power plants, which contribute 11,284 MW to the national grid.

The shortfall is further compounded by the intermittent availability of solar power generation, which stands at 2,234 MW, and atomic power plants that generate 2,148 MW. The contribution from wind power plants amounts to 1,048 MW.

The prolonged outages impact daily life, affecting businesses, households, and essential services.

Addressing the electricity shortfall should be the top priority of the government and it must ensure an uninterrupted power supply to alleviate the hardships faced by the people.

Source: Pro Pakistani