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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)


International data, voice traffic: PTCL earns $320m last fiscal

By Imran Ayub

KARACHI: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has earned $320 million during 2003-04 financial year from international telecom carriers for transmitting their voice and data traffic.

Company officials said last financial year had witnessed a 6.66 percent earning under the head compared to last year’s income of $300 million.

“This year earning is around $320 million,” said Mashkoor Hussain, senior executive vice president PTCL. “We have received almost 80 percent of the amount and remaining is receivable within next few weeks.”

He said telecom carriers of Europe, the United States and Arab states topped among all companies, which used PTCL channel to terminate voice and data traffic.

“The telecom companies of Europe, US and companies from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates are the biggest users of our services and pay bigger amount than others,” he added.

The state-owned firm in early 2002 signed agreements with five international telecom companies for terminating additional international incoming traffic to capture the grey market by using voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology from the US and Europe into Pakistan.

The operation was started in November 2002 and in the next eight months, the PTCL received 132.65 million minutes of incoming traffic. “The achievement of growth in international traffic since the start of operations is remarkable and it exceeded set targets,” said Mr Hussain.

More voice circuits: He said in 2003-04 financial year the company had made agreements to add another 2000 voice circuits with international carriers.

Company officials believe the PTCL’s earning under the head would increase in years to come as the operation is just two years old.

“The incoming traffic growth, including VoIP, is 32.11 percent and outgoing traffic grew by 16.48 percent,” said another company official. “Though this year’s growth has yet to be estimated, it may register over 50 percent as aggregate growth for the last year was 30.75 percent,” he said and added last year a total of 1654 international circuits were added in international switches.

“The status of total international circuits as June 30, 2003 was 13,489 circuits including 5201 circuits via satellite, 7075 circuits via undersea fibre link and 1213 circuits via other international transmission links,” he added.

He said the PTCL had set up two new international gateway exchanges (IGEs), one each at Rawalpindi and Karachi, to deal with international traffic.

“These two IGEs meet increasing international voice traffic requirements,” he added. Business managers at the PTCL have already showed optimism about financial results for the year 2003-04 and estimated the profit would touch Rs 27.2 billion mark against Rs 23.08 billion of the last year.

“We are expecting books to close at Rs 27 billion profit or maybe over,” said the PTCL official. “It is all estimation but the announced figures would definitely bring a good message and it is expected in next few weeks.”

Established as a public limited company in 1996, PTCL is 88 percent owned by the government. The company has shown an impressive growth in the past five years and manages a well-developed domestic telecommunications infrastructure of 5 million access lines, nationwide backbone and international communications links.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_17-8-2004_pg5_1
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Plan to develop export-related industry

SIALKOT: Muhammad Ajmal Cheema, Punjab industries and investment minister, has said that a well-knit plan has been initiated to further accelerate export activities in the province.

Talking to APP here Sunday, he said steps have been taken to set up export processing zones (EPZs) at Multan and Sargodha shortly. This would ensure a boom in the export of mango and kinno, as well as provide maximum facilities to fruit growers in the respective areas, he said, and added there was a rising demand for Pakistani mango and kinno in European and Middle East countries.

Another aspect of the plan was development of a textile city on 3,000 acres in Faisalabad, where all modern facilities would be provided to the business community engaged with this industry.

The proposed textile city would be ready next year, and it was expected that it would help revolutionise the industry in Pakistan and boost exports of our products to world markets, he added.

Mr Cheema said that adequate efforts were also being made to promote industries of non-traditional products including wooden furniture in the Punjab for export purposes. A Wood Seasoning Centre had been established at Chiniot, the hub of traditional wooden furniture he disclosed.

He said that necessary machinery was being installed in the wood-seasoning centre which would become operational in the near future. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_17-8-2004_pg5_6
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Govt to set up fiber testing labs

KARACHI: The government will set up two fiber testing laboratories at a cost of Rs 20 million, one each in Sindh and Punjab this year to facilitate quality examination of cotton lint.

This was stated by M Ismail Qureshi, secretary ministry of food, agriculture and livestock (MINFAL), while chairing the board of directors meeting of Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute (PCSI) here Monday.

Chairman TCP, Agricultural Development Commissioner, vice president FPCCI, Secretary Agriculture Punjab, representatives of commerce ministry, agriculture departments of Sindh and Balochistan, APTMA and KCA, joint director PCSI and growers members attended the meeting.

Secretary MINFAL said that the allocation has already been made in the Pakistan Special Development Programme (PSDP) for 2004-2005. These five laboratories, equipped with high volume instruments (HVI) have been approved for Rahimyar Khan, Multan, Vehari, Ghokti and Sanghar, he added.

Mr Qureshi pointed out that the government will also encourage a network of private inspection companies to facilitate quality checking in cotton sector.

He underlined the need for the production of high quality and contamination free cotton in the country and said that private sector will be closely and actively involved in all these efforts. Referring to the recent meeting of WTO, he advised all the stakeholders to accomplish obligations on their part to secure maximum benefits from the forthcoming withdrawal of textile quotas and subsidies in agriculture.

The meeting discussed the implementation status of cotton grading and classification system and possible role of private sector stakeholders in ensuring quality improvement in Pakistani cotton.

The board advised provincial governments to expedite the necessary amendments in Cotton Control Act to implement cotton grading system at grass root level.

The board observed that PCSI has to play an important role in introducing and implementing the cotton standardization and grading system and further develop the proficiency in that discipline. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_17-8-2004_pg5_10
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dry port at Peshawar sought

PESHAWAR: Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, chairman standing committee of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on dry port, has demanded of the government to establish a well furnished and modern dry port in Peshawar for promoting country’s export to Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics.

In a statement issued here, Mr Sarhadi said Peshawar was considered as `Gate Way’ to Central Asian Region (CAR) and government should take measures for facilitating exporters so that the lost glory of the city is revived.

Mr Sarhadi observed that past governments didn’t pay proper heed to the strategic importance of Peshawar in garbing markets of CARs for Pakistani goods otherwise, he continued, Peshawar would have today two modern dry ports, a stock exchange and an Export Trade Centre.

Contrary to the establishment of a modern dry port, the present dryport in Peshawar is running on temporary basis from the last 18 years and provide very limited facilities to importers and exporters, he said. The Peshawar dry port, he continued, is also short of space as a result of which businessmen face difficulties in loading and unloading of goods.

Most of the goods were lying in open creating problem of theft and damage in case of rain. Due to non-availability of official crane, the businessmen have to pay exorbitant amount to private crane owners for the service.

He also demanded of the government to make the floor of dry port metalled so that loading and unloading is not affected during rain. Furthermore, he continued, offices should be set up for Pakistan Railways, Customs department and clearing agents so that they could perform their duties property.

Similarly, one merchant room and an examination hall should also be established at the dry port.

He said earlier, Railways provided Watch and Ward squad for export cargo, but now the facility has been suspended due to unknown reasons. Due to non-availability of watch and ward squad, the exporters have to make arrangements by their own for security of their export cargo, which increase cost of the consignment.

Mr Sarhadi also demanded running of special cargo train from Peshawar twice in a week so that exports goods could reach Karachi in time. Presently, he said, export goods reaches to Karachi in a period ranging from 10 days to one month as a result of which lot of problem is created for exporters.

Sometime, the railway wagons carrying export goods from Peshawar were disjoined from train at Multan and Sukkur divisions and were left unattended for several days. Mr Sarhadi also demanded abolishment of Safe Transportation Scheme under which authorised transporters were allowed to shift goods from bonded houses to one city and other. app

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_17-8-2004_pg5_11
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pakistan’s economy to benefit post-WTO: EBP chief

KARACHI: Pakistan would benefit after the implementation of WTO regime as it would not only provide access to country’s exports to the larger regional markets but foreign investment would also increase after implementation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the country.

Tariq Ikram, minister of state and chairman Export Promotion Bureau (EBP), stated this Monday while talking to reporters on the sideline of a seminar titled: “WTO Agreements and their implications for Pakistan,” organised by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Responding to a question about growth of regional trade after the WTO regime, Mr Ikram said there are tremendous opportunities for growth of trade in the region. He said Pakistan would benefit in trade with China in the long run. “Our exporters would have access to larger market, under the reduced tariffs structure there.”

But he added that some of the sectors are facing difficulties due to cheaper imports from China. “But we have the option to impose anti-dumping duties,” he added.

Without naming any country, he said Pakistan is facing investment and business problems with many countries due to absence of IPR implementation in Pakistan, and expressed confidence that foreign investment would be given a boost after WTO implementation due to IPR.

Trade with India: About promotion of trade with India, he said Islamabad wants to develop trade ties with India but there are certain impediments, which can be resolved thorough political dialogue only.

“If they are ready to reduce non-tariff barriers on Pakistani imports, we are also ready to do the same,” he added. Mr Ikram said the FTA talks with Sri Lanka are in progress and the concerned departments of both sides are working over it.

The minister of state said that DTRE rules are being modified and the EPB has forwarded its recommendations to the Central Board of Revenue, under which many issues have been addressed including reduction of the documentation process from four pages to one and a half page.

Earlier speakers briefed participants of the seminar about the impact of WTO regime on the country and said that Pakistan is an active founder member of WTO.

They said WTO is a vast subject, which is often misunderstood due to lack of proper information and knowledge.

They stressed that to meet the WTO challenges exporters need to increase the component of high-tech products in exports, diversify exports and increase value addition in exports.

Misconceptions about WTO: Mrs Farah Ayub Tarin, deputy secretary Economic Affairs Division, said there are more misconceptions about WTO, especially about the tariff structure.

She said WTO encourages countries to bind the upper level of tariffs, while committing that these will not be not be increased beyond that level. “Our industrial sector has no immediate threat as the applied tariff in the country is already under the higher binding level,” said Mrs Tarin and added: “But the automobile sector that have tariffs up to 150 percent need to prepare for the challenges ahead.”

Akhtar Mehmood, former federal secretary, said WTO mainly deals with three subjects, which are multilateral agreements on trade and goods, agreements on services and the trade related aspect of intellectual property rights (TRIPs). He said the objective of WTO is to develop more fair and liberal international trade and it is the only international trade organisation to have legal authority to resolve disputes between two member states.

Mr Mehmood said WTO gives better treatment to developing countries, while the MFN status is provided to all the member states but there are provisions for countries like India and Pakistan in their mutual trade. “Pakistan is well prepared to meet the challenge and new laws have been made while amendments have been made in eight existing laws,” Mr Mehmood said and added that the average tariff structure in the country is round 17 percent, with exception to the automobile sector.”

Habib Ahmed, secretary (customs) CBR, presented an update on the Doha development agenda and highlighted that political grouping by the developed countries to resist reduction in farm subsidies and changes in the protective regulations for their agriculture. He said developing countries are expected to gain from WTO if developed countries lower high tariff structure and reduce subsidies for the agriculture sector. “Japan has 1,000 percent tariff on imports of rice, making it almost impossible for any country to export rice to the country,” said Mr Ahmed. staff report

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_17-8-2004_pg5_12
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Exports climb to $1.18bn in July

By our correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s exports surged by 32.9pc climbing to $1.18 billion during the first month of the current fiscal year against exports worth $890.2 million in the corresponding month of last year, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Thursday.

Over the history of Pakistan, this is for the first time that exports during the month of July have crossed the $1 billion mark.

For the current fiscal year, the government has set an export target of $13.7 billion and an import target of $16.7 billion.

Imports during July 2004 increased to $1.37 billion from $999.8 million during the corresponding period of last year, indicating an increase of 37.2 per cent.

The trade deficit increased to $189.4 million during July 2004 from $109.6 million in July 2003, registering a rise of 72.83 per cent.

Exports as a percentage of imports decreased to 86.2 per cent during July 2004 from 89 per cent during July 2003.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
cntower said:
Question; what exactly is a dry port?
a port that is on land, and not on water.

the cargo is arrived on trucks not ships, and also has air links.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Foreign investors approach CBR for advance ruling

SOHAIL SARFRAZ

ISLAMABAD (August 17 2004): Six foreign investors have approached Central Board of Revenue (CBR) for obtaining 'advance ruling' on income tax matters before making investment in Pakistan.

Official sources told Business Recorder here on Monday that the tax authorities would examine their cases and sectors in which investment is being made for issuance of advance ruling through procedure notified through Income Tax Rules 2002.

The cases would be taken up with the committee for processing of applications filed by the non-resident companies interested in obtaining ruling.

The committee will be headed by Chairman CBR and Member Direct Taxes and a Senior Joint Secretary, Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights will be members of the committee.

Officials said that the facility of advance ruling was notified in fiscal 2003-2004 to facilitate the foreign investors. However, few foreign investors and non-resident companies approached for availing themselves of the facility of advance ruling. So far only six companies have contacted the Board for availing this facility.

The committee will have the authority to examine the application filed by a non-resident company. However, CBR is bound to finalise application on 'advance-ruling' within 90 days of its filing.

According to the procedure, a non-resident person desiring an advance ruling under section 206A of the Ordinance, 2001 will make an application to the CBR in the form set out in the Schedule of the draft notification.

Elaborating definition of 'advance ruling', the CBR clarified that it means determination by the committee in relation to the transaction, which has been undertaken or is proposed to be undertaken by a non-resident person the question of law specified in the application.

The advance ruling will be binding on the committee only in respect of the specific transaction on which such advance ruling is issued. The advance ruling shall continue to remain in force unless there is a change in facts or in the law on the basis of which the advance ruling was pronounced.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
EPZs being set up at Multan and Sargodha

RECORDER REPORT

SIALKOT (August 17 2004): Provincial Industries and Investment Minister Muhammad Ajmal Cheema has said that a well-knitted plan has been initiated for further accelerating the pace of export activities in the Punjab.

Talking to Business Recorder here on Sunday he said that under the plan special steps had been taken for setting up "Export Processing Zones (EPZ)" at Multan and Sargodha shortly.


The step was being taken for bringing big boom in the export of mangoes and kinno and to provide maximum facilities to the mango and kinno growers in their respective areas, he added.

Ajmal Cheema said there was a great demand of Pakistani mangoes and kinnos in European and Middle East countries. In order to fulfill the growing demands of Pakistani fruits, all basic facilities would be ensured to the growers in those EPZs, he added.

The Industries Minister said the Textile City was being developed on 3,000 acres of land in Faisalabad where all modern facilities would be provided to the business community engaged with the textile industry.

The proposed Textile City would be ready in next year, and its regular functioning would bring revolutionary changes in the textile industry and help boost the export of textile products, he added.

Ajmal Cheema said that adequate efforts were also being made for promoting non-traditional products including wooden furniture in the Punjab, for which a "Wood Seasoning Centre" had been established at Chiniot, which is a hub of wooden furniture, he disclosed.

The Minister said that necessary machinery was being installed in wood centre and would be operational in near future, adding the centre would provide maximum facilities to the manufacturers engaged with furniture.


Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rupali group offers to establish 2 hydel projects in NWFP

NAVEED SIDDIQUI

ISLAMABAD (August 17 2004): The Rupali group has offered to establish two hydropower projects with a power generation capacity of 830mw.

These projects include a 130mw project at Keyal Khwar, Kohistan district and a 700mw project in Swat valley comprising of Kedam (410mw), Kalam (147mw) and Swat (150mw).


The offer was made during a meeting of Rupali group delegation led by its managing-director Badruddin Feerasta with Federal Minister for Water & Power and Safron chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao here on Monday.

The minister told the delegation that the government is encouraging the private sector to invest in power projects to enhance the country's power generation capacity.

There is hydropower generation potential of some 40,000mw in Pakistan, he said, adding that more projects are need to tape hydel power by constructing hydropower projects.

The minister said that the economy is growing rapidly and there is an increasing demand of power energy in the country. He said that there is a need of establishing hydropower projects in the country to generate cheap hydel electricity.

We can reduce the electricity tariff by initiation small hydropower projects in the NWFP, he pointed out.

The minister said that the government wants to establish a hydel/thermal ratio of 70 to 30 in the country.

The minister assured the Rupali group of all-out support in this regard.
The detailed feasibility study of these projects has been approved under the public sector projects and processed to the Ministry of Water and Power by the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB).

Special secretary Riaz A. Khan, Rupali group project-director Noor Feerasta and other senior officials of the ministry were also present during the meeting.

It may be recalled that the water and power ministry has identified nearly 30 raw hydel generation sites in the NWFP having a capacity above 50mw.

According to a report, with the commissioning of these hydropower projects, Wapda would be able to generate about 13,584mw additional electricity.


Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
CNG taxis in Lahore soon

LAHORE (August 17 2004): The Punjab government has decided to introduce CNG-fitted 800 CC taxis in Lahore which would be, later on replicated in other big cities of the province.

The Provincial Transport Minister, Rana Shamshad told this here on Monday while addressing a meeting held in the transport department to review transport system in the province. He further said, the Chief minister Punjab, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has approved a new scheme to provide livelihood to unemployed youth with 5 per cent subsidy on the mark-up.

According to a handout, the scheme would be launched soon and the transport department would fix per kilometer fare for these taxis.

The transport minister said, measures are being taken to provide basic facilities to commuters at bus stops, adding that a policy has been adopted to establish bus stands of uniform designs in all cities of the province.

Rana Shamshad said, the steps are being taken to set-up driving training schools with the co-operation of private sector. He said that a modern computerised system would be introduced to gauge "fitness" of the vehicles and "fitness certificates" would be issued after thorough checking.

Copyright Associated Press of Pakistan, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bangladesh to replicate Pakistan's model of FTO office

RECORDER REPORT

KARACHI (August 17 2004): Useful contribution of the institution of tax ombudsman in Pakistan has encouraged Bangladesh to replicate this Pakistani model in facilitating tax payees to resolve their disputes and bring about transparency in country's tax administration system.

The daily Star Business, Dhaka, in its August 3 report, said that a ministerial committee headed by State Minister for Finance Shah Mohammad Abul Hossain had suggested establishment of the office of Tax Ombudsman with the characteristics of similar administrative set-up in Pakistan.

This committee was set up in view of the formal announcement made by Finance and Planning Minister, M. Saifur Rehman during his budget 2004-2005 speech to establish office of Tax Ombudsman to handle tax related disputes in an accountable and transparent manner.

Earlier in May 2004, State Minister Hossain had led a two-member delegation to Pakistan on a fact-finding mission. The delegation besides meeting tax officials at various levels had also met Foreign Minister Shaukat Aziz, Federal tax Ombudsman Justice Salim Akhtar, Central Board of Revenue chairman and other high-ranking officials.

The mission found out that social justice system has strengthened in Pakistan after the appointment of Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO).

The Hossein committee in a drafted law has recommended that the Tax Ombudsman, to be appointed by the president, would report annually to the head of the state.

It has been suggested that the Tax Ombudsman will have the authority to consider appeals of taxpayers regarding income tax, property tax, duty and excise. However, the ombudsman will not entertain any appeal if it is a sub judice matter.

Bangladesh will be the second country in the Saarc region, after Pakistan, to have the institution of tax ombudsman.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Machinery imported for GBHP being re-exported

RECORDER REPORT

KARACHI (August 17 2004): No less than 12,000 tonnes of heavy equipment and machinery, imported for construction of Ghazi Brotha Hydel Project, Phase 1, is being re-exported to Raas-al-Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.

A Roll-on-roll of (Ro Ro) vessel N.M.T. Elise, loaded with 1,200 tonnes of heavy equipment, including rollers, dumper shovels etc is due to leave Port Qasim on Tuesday.

The heavy earth-moving equipment was imported about eight years ago under concessionary customs duty on the condition of re-export after completion of work.

A spokesman of Bulk Shipping, ship agents for huge sailing operations, said on Monday that the entire heavy equipment would be re-exported in eight shipments.

The equipment is being brought to Port Qasim from the project site in upcountry gradually and was stored in the term storage area.

The Port Qasim Authority (PQA) had special arrangement to facilitate the smooth shipment of unusual heavy equipment.

This is for first time that the PQA handled such a heavy equipment for the re-export from Port Qasim. Special storage space was allocated for the heavy equipment, which arrived piecemeal from the project site.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
'Jewels Asia 2004' concludes

RECORDER REPORT

LAHORE (August 17 2004): "Jewels Asia 2004" helped a lot in highlighting the problems being faced by the jewellery and gems sector, and the same would be raised in all forums to give a boost to exports.

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Mian Anjum Nisar stated this on Saturday while speaking at the concluding session of the three-day exhibition, held under the auspices of the Chamber.

According to LCCI spokesman, apart from various ministers, government officials, traders and industrialists around 30,000-40,000 people visited the exhibition where 70 parties put up their stalls.

Anjum Nisar in his brief speech hailed co-operation extended by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (Smeda) in holding this event.

He also hailed services of LCCI Standing Committee Convener Moeenuddin and former Vice-President Muhammad Ali Mian. He assured that the LCCI would continue its endeavours to search new markets for enhancing exports.

Meanwhile in a joint statement, President Liberty Sarafa & Gems Association Lahore, Haji Sheikh Aminuddin, Secretary, Muhammad Muslim, LCCI Standing Committee Convener, Moeenuddin and some participants hailed the LCCI efforts for holding this exhibition in a befitting manner.

They said that this exhibition had provided an opportunity to highlight the potential that exists in gems sector.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Banking reforms start bearing fruits: SBP governor

RECORDER REPORT

KARACHI (August 17 2004): The ongoing banking reforms are moving in right direction with satisfied pace and have started bearing fruits. Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr Ishrat Husain stated this while, talking to media men at the launch of the book " Tariq Kirmani: A Corporate Leader-in Quest of Excellence" on Monday.

He said the reforms were focused on consolidating the base of the sector and as a part of this process the number of banks and financial institutions had reduced from 55 to 39. The reforms had redefined the strategy of the banks and financial institutions and brought a paradigm shift in it, SBP governor stated.

These institutions primarily used to focus on corporate sector and government bonds only in the past but now they were willingly emphasising on consumer financing, construction loans, agriculture credit etc, Ishrat said.

The SBP governor explained that in this way the reforms had succeeded in taking out the money to the middle class, considered as the engine of economic growth of any country. Banks and financial institution should give more loans for health facilities, education, SMEs, construction etc, he stressed.

Replying to a question, Ishrat Husain said that the policy makers do not have any kind of pressure or influence from international donor agencies like WB and IMF, and they were carrying out purely indigenous policies.

He appreciated the efforts of MD Pakistan State Oil, Tariq Kirmani for transforming a typical loss-bearing, public sector organisation into a dynamic business corporation.

However, he emphasised on the sustainability of the turn around brought about in the organisation and observed that organisational changes should continue unaffectedly even in the absence of the person who brought in those changes.

In this perspective, he paid tribute to the former MD, PSO Shaukat Mirza and Zafar Khan of Engro Chemicals for bringing such changes/reforms in their respective organisations.

On the occasion, PSO MD, Tariq Kirmani while talking to newsmen declined to quantify the magnitude of PDL adjustment. Showing his ignorance from the issue, he said that the government was making some adjustments in PDL to absorb the effect of rising crude oil prices but OMCs had nothing to do with it.

He observed that the increasing oil prices was due to some abnormal situation, owing to crisis in Iraq and some other oil exporting countries which would be hopefully normalised soon.

In response to a query, Kirmani mentioned that the demand of furnace oil was increasing and the company was importing one to two cargoes monthly.

When asked whether the company was exporting oil to Afghanistan, he replied that the company was supplying oil to the country through its distributing agents and not directly involved in it.

On import of oil from India, he said that the matter was linked with the ongoing bilateral trade negotiations between the two countries.

Tariq Kirmani also declined to comment on the privatisation of PSO saying that the organisation was ready for the sale, but it was up to the government and the Privatisation Commission to decide the matter.

Managing Director SSGC, Munawar Baseer in his address stated that all the three gas pipeline projects ie Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan (TAP), Pakistan- Iran and Qatar-Pakistan were being examined to choose the most suitable one. He pointed out that the feasibility of Qatar project had been prepared whereas the feasibility of the remaining two projects were being worked out.

On the expansion plan of the company, he said that SSGC has a comprehensive expansion plan worth Rs 36 billion, which is spread over a period of five years.

On increasing gas demand and available gas reserves in the country, SSGC MD said that the country has sufficient reserves to meet the demand up to year 2010-11, while new off/on shore discovery drills and exploration operations were also in full swing.

Munawar Baseer rejected the impression that frequent attacks on gas pipelines in Balochistan were any serious threat for the company.

President 21st Century Business Club, Syed S. Haider and Chairman Publication Committee, Rafiq Rangoonwala also spoke on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
'UBL Address' launched

RECORDER REPORT

KARACHI (August 17 2004): United Bank Limited officially launched 'UBL Address', its home financing product, in a media briefing on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion UBL President Atif R Bokhari said, "After the overwhelming response to UBL Drive Auto Financing, 'UBL Address' is second in the range of our innovative consumer banking products, which offers loans to build, buy, or renovate homes."

Bokhari said that the housing sector was a fundamental pillar in the development of the economy. "The government and the State Bank are encouraging banks to come up with affordable & accessible home financing schemes to fulfil the rising demand of housing due to rapid urbanisation and lack of adequate housing units in the country" he said.

He said that in developed countries, the total amount of house financing is in excess of 25 percent of the country's GPD, whereas in Pakistan this figure is hardly 1 percent.

He added that UBL's products and services are designed keeping in mind the corporate vision to provide world class financial services based on the needs of the consumer.

"Consumer finance is one area that we see tremendous potential in this country, and we have invested a substantial amount of resources and capital into this effort. We will see the results going forward in the next 12 months," Bokhari said.

UBL's Group Executive Consumer & Commercial, M.A. Mannan said, "The product menu entails innovative features like Fixed, Floating & Adjustable Rate Options, PAYS (Pay As You Select), Zero Pre-payment Penalty Options, and Free Property Insurance.

In addition, the facility of Mark-up Monthly, Principal Annually will be offered for the first time in Pakistan that allows customers to pay the mark-up every month, with one principal payment at the end of the year.

'UBL Address' will change industry norms by providing innovation, options and flexibility unmatched by any other bank. This has been possible due to the Investment made in systems, people & processes.

"True to our vision that our customers come first, 'UBL Address' has been designed with the single-minded focus of providing an affordable substitute to rising monthly rentals so consumers can get the security & peace of mind they deserve," Bokhari added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Farmers responded positively to ZTBL offers

RECORDER REPORT

ISLAMABAD (August 17 2004): Farmers and borrowers of the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) from all over the country have started getting maximum benefits of the agricultural package announced by the President by responding positively to measures notified by the ZTBL in line with the package. The turnaround has increased.

The field days held by regional managers in all the branches of the bank proved very successful in informing and pursuing farmers to settle their accounts under the recovery relief package.

The feedback is very encouraging. Borrowers are eager to get relief under this package. In some cases, borrowers have already settled their accounts by availing the relief notified by the bank.

This provides incentive to other borrowers to settle their accounts under this package and get further loans on lower mark-up of 9 percent now charged by the ZTBL.

The ZTBL directed field functionaries to create awareness among farmers/borrowers to avail the facilities provided by the bank, so that maximum number of small farmers could get the benefit of farmer-friendly initiatives of the ZTBL.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2004
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Five fibre testing labs to be set up

By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, Aug 16: The government will set up five fibre testing laboratories along with high volume instruments (HVI) for the evaluation of cotton. This was stated by Federal Secretary, ministry of food, agriculture and livestock, M. Ismail Qureshi, on Monday at a meeting of the board of directors of the Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute.

In the first phase, two laboratories will be set up this year for which an allocation of Rs20 million had been made in the PSDP for 2004-05. All this was being done to provide facilities to the stakeholders, he added.

The board also discussed the implementation status of the cotton grading and classification system and the possible role of private sector stakeholders in ensuring the qualitative improvement in cotton.

The secretary stressing upon producing high quality and contamination-free cotton, reiterated the government's intention to closely and actively associated the private sector in all such endeavours. Besides, he said a network of private inspection companies would be encouraged.

The provincial governments were advised to expedite the necessary amendments in the Cotton Control Act in order to implement the cotton grading system at the grass-roots level.

The board deliberating upon the administrative and financial matters of the Pakistan Cotton Standards Institute, observed that it had to play an important role in introducing and implementing the cotton standardization and grading system in the country and, therefore, further develop the proficiency in that discipline.

Mr Qureshi referring to the recent meeting of the WTO held in Geneva, advised all the stakeholders to meet obligations on their part in order to realize the maximum benefits from the forthcoming withdrawal of quotas in textiles and the subsidy in agriculture.

http://www.dawn.com/2004/08/17/ebr3.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
NBP prepares feasibility on branch at Dushanbe

By our correspondent

Lahore: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) is considering a pre-feasibility report for opening up its branch in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe by the end of the current year.

The NBP has already extended its consent to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for this venture, should it prove economically feasible, said a letter written by Executive Vice President and Group Chief of NBP to one of the Bank’s directors, Iftikhar Ali Malik.

The said letter, received at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on 12th August, said that in 1995-96 the Bank was advised to establish its presence in newly independent Central Asian Republics (CARs) and for this purpose, representative offices were opened in Ashgabat, Bishkek, Almaty, Tashkent and Baku.

In order to strengthen brotherly relations with these newly independent countries and for promoting economic and trade activities, first three offices were converted into full branches of the NBP.

Moreover, the NBP is in the process of opening its branch in Baku (Azerbaijan), which would be completed by the end of this year.

The SBP has advised the NBP in the inaugural session of Pak-Tajik Joint Economic Commission meeting, to decide about opening its one branch at Tajikistan. Following this advice, a pre-feasibility study has already been invited, which is being discussed and considered at highest level, the letter added.

Pakistan and Tajikistan have recently renewed their bilateral trade ties following the holding of first ever "Made in Pakistan" exhibition at Dushanbe, which boosted bilateral trade volume of two million dollar to four million dollars immediately. The exhibition was organized by the LCCI.
 
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