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Pakistani startup declares war on climate change



Suftech Innovations, a Pakistani startup, has put on the war paint to launch a groundbreaking assault on climate change by introducing disruptive technology to most efficiently reutilise resources, reduce marine and soil pollution, and plug greenhouse gas emissions to a measure that matters.

Suftech — which leads the transition from a linear plastics economy to a truly circular and sustainable plastics economy — is a climate tech startup with state-of-the-art patent-pending technology that can create pristine polymer from plastic waste. The resultant product is of such a premium quality that it can be used as a replacement for virgin polymer.

This directly takes the firm a step closer to the Net-Zero emissions goal, promotes circularity and sustainability and helps commercial organisations fulfil their commitments related to recycling and reusing plastics responsibly.

It should be noted that the technology is replicable, and scalable and can be relocated to any global destination.

“The reason for doing something related to climate change was very simple, it was something that is very close to our heart,” Ahsan Ejaz, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Suftech Innovations Private Limited, told

The logo of Suftech Innovations. — Twitter/@suftechi
The logo of Suftech Innovations. — Twitter/@suftechi

With the focus on being able to help solve global environment-related issues, the founders of Suftech believe “the Earth is our only home and if actions weren’t taken now, this home will not be liable for our future generations”.

With no investors on board, the founders of the startup kick-started their operations after they were awarded the Green Challenge Fund by Karandaaz Pakistan, the implementation partner of the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in 2021.

The funding helped them set up their commercial scale plant and they now aim to make Suftech Innovations as a regional company in the next five years with at least two manufacturing facilities located in the MENA region.

Ejaz claims that Suftech has already brought a revolution within Pakistan and they aim to expand to the US and the UK markets in the next ten years.

He elaborated that within a few months, the firm has prevented 30,000+ kilograms of plastic waste from entering the environment and causing soil/marine pollution. “The technology helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 450,000kg and helped save $60,000 of precious foreign exchange by replacing virgin polymer with our product,” he added.

While most of the startups are struggling to continue operations, Suftech hasn’t been affected by the economic crunch that others are facing.

Ejaz believes every crisis is also an opportunity. “Due to the unfortunate economic scenario in Pakistan that has put restrictions on import and made everything imported extremely expensive it has at the same time created opportunities for businesses that rely on local materials,” he said.

“At Suftech we create virgin-like polymer from plastic waste which is readily available in Pakistan therefore we were not impacted by the shortage of raw materials ensuring the availability of our product and cementing our position as a reliable supplier for our customers,” he added.

The co-founder, however, added that the very high cost of electricity and the taxation system in Pakistan for startups needed to be simplified.

“This would allow startups like ours to reach our potential much more quickly and efficiently,” he maintained.


Gold rate declines for second consecutive day




  • Rate of gold reaches Rs232,800 per tola. 
  • International rate up by $11 per ounce. 
  • The silver price remains unchanged. 

Despite an increase in the international rate, gold’s value declined in Pakistan for the second consecutive day Tuesday.

Data provided by the All Pakistan Sarafa Gems and Jewellers Association (APSGJA) showed the price of gold (24 carats) decreased by Rs1,700 per tola and Rs1,458 per 10 grams to reach Rs232,800 and Rs199,588, respectively.

The gold rate cumulatively lost Rs1,100 per tola last week, and a further Rs1,700 on the opening day this week.

Meanwhile, the international price went up $11 to settle at $1,956 per ounce. 

The safe-haven bullion’s value has remained volatile in the international market recently. However, it bounced back from its lowest level in over two months Tuesday after the US dollar’s value declined from a high and investors remained anxious about negotiations on the US debt ceiling.

If the debt ceiling — which is currently capped at $31.4 trillion — is not raised in the next few days, it would trigger the first-ever US default.

Investors also remained wary about a possible hike in the interest rate, which would negatively affect gold’s value.

Meanwhile, the gold rate has been volatile in Pakistan recently amid continued political and economic uncertainty, high inflation, and currency depreciation. People prefer to buy the yellow metal in such times as a safe investment and a hedge.

The rupee gained Re0.07 or 0.02% against the US dollar in the interbank market Tuesday, closing at Rs285.35, according to State Bank of Pakistan data.

Data shared by the jeweller’s body showed that the rate of silver remained unchanged at Rs2,850 per tola and Rs2,443.41 per 20 grams, respectively. 

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France launching electric car battery factory to dent Chinese dominance




Under a plan of reindustrialisation by President Emmanuel Macron, France is to inaugurate a factory for manufacturing batteries for electric cars Tuesday in Billy-Berclau — the first of its kind — challenging the Chinese dominance in the industry, according to an AFP report.

Battery industry buildup is a component of the plan by Macron with a clutch of factories set to emerge in the north of the country over the next three years.

The “gigafactory” is owned by Automotive Cells Company, a partnership between French energy giant TotalEnergies, Germany’s Mercedes-Benz and US-European automaker Stellantis, which produces a range of brands including Peugeot, Fiat and Chrysler.

The inauguration will be attended by French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and the country’s energy transition and industry ministers along with German and Italian officials.

The heads of Mercedes, Stellantis and TotalEnergies will also be at the event.

The factory is as large as football pitches in which production will commence this summer.

Elected officials and business leaders intend to turn the Hauts-de-France region into “Battery Valley” — the electric car industry’s answer to Silicon Valley.

AESC-Envision — a Sino-Japanese group — is building a plant near the city of Douai which will supply French automaker Renault from early 2025.

French startup Verkor is scheduled to begin production at a facility in Dunkirk from mid-2025 while Taiwan’s ProLogium has also chosen the coastal city for its first European factory, with output to start in 2026.

Competition between US and China

As European Union (EU) has marked a deadline of 2035 to phase out fossil fuel-run cars, the countries are racing to step up the production of batteries and electric vehicles to meet the target of electric vehicles within the deadline.

In recent years, around 50 battery factory projects have been announced in the EU and the French government has set a target of producing two million electric vehicles per year by 2030, as per the economy ministry.

The ministry said that “the ACC plant will supply 500,000 vehicles per year by then.”

China is the world leader in electric car battery production and also dominates the production of the raw materials needed to make them.

Europe also faces stiff competition from the United States, which is heavily subsidising the sector through the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $370 billion in clean energy incentives.

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Govt mulls slashing duty on mobile phones in budget




ISLAMABAD: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is mulling options to reduce the duty on mobile phones in the federal budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 — which is expected to be unveiled on June 9 — keeping in view the suggestions of Pakistan Mobile Phone Traders, The News reported Monday.

Previously, the government was obliged to raise the duty on mobile phones by 100% to 150%, and resultantly, only Rs5 billion to Rs10 billion were being deposited in the national exchequer instead of Rs85 billion.

The number of mobile phone users in Pakistan has exceeded 186.9 million. 

In order to cope with the financial crisis of the current financial year, in the new budget, a proposal for a conspicuous reduction in the rates of duties on cellular phones is under consideration, which is about 100% to 150% at present on small and big mobile phones. 

The mobile industry is on the brink of collapse due to an increase in taxes. It not only affected traders but also made the life of millions of people difficult to earn a livelihood.

It has been learnt that a delegation of the Mobile Phones Traders Association has given recommendations to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior officials. 

The delegation ensured that efforts would be made to include the recommendations in the budget. These proposals and recommendations are being reviewed to make them a part of the new budget.

It has been learnt that a 75% duty was imposed on cellular phones in Pakistan as compared to other countries of the region like Singapore, Bangladesh and Turkey where it is not at that level. That is the reason people are using smartphones without paying duties in connivance with FBR.

The additional 100% to 150% duty on cell phones has made it out of reach of the poor, labourers, daily wagers, students, professionals, the lawyer community, and civil society. 

All Pakistan Mobile Phones Traders Association General Secretary Munir Beg Mirza said that due to the ban on the import of used mobile phones, smuggling has increased to give favour to a few companies. 

Also, people are using smartphones illegally without paying heavy taxes to enjoy all functions of smartphones, which is inflicting a loss on the national kitty.

He said that not only every consumer would pay tax but also the government would get Rs100 billion instead of Rs5 billion on phones if an appropriate duty was imposed in the new financial year.

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