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Bringing in institutional reforms good for democratic governance: Ishrat Hussain

Former Governor SBP speaks on ‘governing the ungovernable’ book session at IBA Karachi

Institute of Business Administration Karachi organized a distinguished lecture by Dr. Ishrat Husain, Former Dean and Professor Emeritus, IBA Karachi on “Governing the Ungovernable” at the IBA City Campus, Karachi. The session was moderated by Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Dean and Director, IBA Karachi and attended by luminaries from all walks of life, alumni, faculty and students of the IBA.

The lecture was aimed at examining the reasons behind the volatile and inequitable growth of Pakistan during the last twenty-five years and how Institutional Reforms can bring about democratic governance as captured in the recently published book by Dr. Ishrat Husain.

Dr. Farrukh Iqbal introduced the book to the audience by explaining why the best person to author this book is Dr. Ishrat since having worked in civil service, World Bank and State Bank of Pakistan has provided him the comparative international perspective. He mentioned that the book points out merit, accountability and sustainability as indicators for bringing in institutional reforms.

Dr. Ishrat elaborated that his claim of failed governance during the last 25 years is supported by empirical evidence gathered during his fellowship at Woodrow Wilson Institute. He stated that the evidence suggests that Pakistan has declining ratios of all indicators in terms of governance whereas an upward trend is observed in India and Bangladesh which were lagging behind Pakistan before the 90’s.

Former Governor State Bank of Pakistan highlighted 25 institutions where selective intervention and incrementalism can put Pakistan on the right track. On being enquired if the country could perform well if divided into 12 provinces, Dr. Ishrat said that the answer to better governance can come from complete implementation of the 18th Amendment and devolution of powers to districts and union councils.

When questioned if military government is the panacea, he elucidated that military gained power due to a vacuum created by a weak civil service. A continuity in democratic governments with sustained efforts in bringing merit into civil service can lead to better governance.

He mentioned that he is a firm believer in demarcation of powers amongst judiciary, executive and the parliament and if parliamentary committee on oversight starts playing active role than there would not be a need for active judicial measures. He stated that Pakistan has done well economically during 2013-2017 and the Western route of CPEC will open doors for progress.

Dr. Farrukh Iqbal adorned Dr. Ishrat with a Ijrak and presented him with a shield. The session concluded with a book signing ceremony.

UD Trucks Picks VPL as Authorized Importer for ‘Quester’

UD Trucks Corporation has appointed VPL Limited as its authorized importer in Pakistan for the new Quester heavy-duty trucks to be introduced in the country.

UD Trucks is a leading Japanese total transport solution provider. UD Trucks was established in Japan in 1935, and became a part of the Volvo Group in 2007. UD Trucks has a long and proud history in Pakistan. UD Trucks (previously known as Nissan Diesel) was the first Japanese truck brand to enter the Pakistan market, and has since then continued to be one of the leading players in the country. UD Trucks are a familiar sight on the roads of Pakistan and hold a prominent position in the long-haulage and construction segments.

UD Trucks Corporation is now planning to introduce their popular new heavy-duty truck model Quester in the Pakistan market for which they have appointed VPL Limited (VPL) as their authorized importer.

VPL is a leading importer of trucks, buses, construction & mining equipment, generators and tools in Pakistan with a country wide after-sales support network. VPL is also the authorized importer of Volvo Trucks, Volvo Buses, Volvo Construction Equipment and Volvo Penta. VPL is part of the Panasian Group, which has been responsible for the Volvo business in Pakistan since the mid-1970s.

The UD Quester heavy-duty truck will be launched in the country soon. The plan is to enhance the experience and support for UD Trucks customers in Pakistan in both the sales and after sales dimensions.

Pak Mission and Ontario Government celebrate Pakistan Day in Toronto

The Consulate General of Pakistan in Toronto celebrated Pakistan Day in a befitting manner at the Markam Townhall along with members of the Canadian Parliament, Diplomatic Corp, Mayor of Markam and the Pakistani community.

Mr. Imran Ahmed Siddiqui, Consul-General of Pakistan raised the national flag as the Pakistani community and members of the Consular office joined in the singing of the Pakistan anthem.

The Government of Ontario was represented by HW Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markam; Hon. Yasmin Ratansi; Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of International Trade; Hon Rob Oliphant; Hon. Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament; Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, MPP; and Mr. Eric Jolliffe, York Regional Police Chief.

The Consul-General of Pakistan said, “I am pleased to welcome our guests at the Pakistan Day celebrations and thank the Ontario Government, Members of the Parliament and the Mayor of Markam for the collaborative efforts in developing relations between the two governments in business, trade and cultural ties.”

In their speeches, the Canadian politicians highlighted the importance of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Canada. They also praised the positive and constructive role being played by the Pakistani community in Canada for further strengthening of this relationship.

The message of the Premier of Ontario, Hon. Kathleen Wynne was read by Hon. Michael Chan. On the occasion, two documentaries titled, “Ancient Pakistan” and “Emerging Pakistan” were also screened.

National Highway Authority Public Relations Directorate

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), eliminating the audit observations on Lahore-Abdul Hakeem Motorway section, has commended the performance of NHA officers for maintaining transparency and before time completion of the project. The meeting of the PAC was held last week under chairmanship of Syed Khurshid Shah in committee room of the National Assembly.

In the meeting, audit observations raised by the DG Audit Works were presented before the committee regarding 230km Lahore-Abdul section of eastern corridor of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is going to be inaugurated before time in May 2018.

Chairman NHA Mr. Jawwad Rafique Malik gave details replies to the audit observations and presented complete record to the Committee. The PAC eliminated the audit observations and declared the contract as per rules.

Chairman NHA Mr. Jawwad Rafique Malik told the committee that in 2015-16, NHA made an excellent saving of Rs. 122 billion in two contracts. He said, one contract was of Government of Pakistan, while the other related to soft loan from China Exim Bank.

As per apparent estimates, if these contracts had been awarded on available rates, there would have not been any objection to NHA. But able and active team of NHA worked devotedly and in history of Pakistan, saved a huge amount through competition. He informed, the contract was awarded to company on merit for zero corruption.

On this occasion, the committee members expressed confidence on NHA and appreciated its performance for completing the project before time as per international standard on the lowest possible rates.

It is to recall that Lahore-Abdul Hakeem section of motorway will be completed three months before the scheduled time frame and opened to traffic.


National Bank Of Pakistan holds its 69th AGM

The 69th Annual General Meeting of National Bank of Pakistan was held at a local hotel in Karachi on Thursday, March 29, 2018. President of the Bank, Mr. Saeed Ahmed chaired the meeting. The meeting was well attended by the shareholders who approved the Annual Financial Statements – 2017.

The shareholders were apprised that the Bank has reported the highest after-tax profit in its 69 years history. After-tax profit for the year amounted to Rs. 23.03 billion i.e. 1.2% higher against Rs. 22.75 billion for 2016. This translates into highest ever earnings per share of Rs. 10.82 (2016: Rs. 10.69). Bank’s pre-tax profit amounted to Rs. 35.6 billion i.e. 4.1% lower against Rs. 37.1 billion for prior year. Bank’s total assets amounted to Rs. 2,370 billion depicting a 20 % growth YoY. Bank’s gross advances and investments amounted to Rs. 857 billion and Rs. 1,296 billion respectively; whereas deposits amounted to Rs. 1,727 billion.

The Chairman apprised the Shareholders that the Bank has filed a review petition against judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the pension case, and has also moved an application for constitution of a larger bench which has been accepted. The Bank looks forward to a favourable outcome of the case.

The shareholders were also informed that the Bank is expanding its market outreach by adopting modern-day delivery channels, and has recently established a Payment Services & Digital Banking Group and a Service Quality Group to bring innovation and to promote service culture. The Bank has also recently restructured its Commercial & Retail Banking group, empowering the Regional & field management teams and giving them distinct business targets to achieve better results.

The shareholders, after deliberations, unanimously approved all items on the Agenda of the meeting.

Country’s revenue can be increased by Implementation of Electronic Data Interchange: Mian Zahid Hussain

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said implementing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to enable the existing import system more effective is encouraging in Pakistan. The revenue will be increased to a greater extent and issues pertaining to under invoicing of import goods will be permanently resolved. Expenses associated with paper, printing, reproduction, storage, filing, postage and document retrieval are all reduced or eliminated when you switch to EDI transactions, lowering your transaction costs by at least 35 percent.

Mian Zahid Hussain said despite of various traits of EDI, common masses will face severe increase in price of import goods after its implementation. Some importers use the under invoicing techniques to reduce their cost and transfer the benefit to end user as well. After EDI they will not be able to do so hence the price of different essential goods will experience substantial increase in prices, he added.

The veteran business leader said the Government should take all necessary measures to maintain the prices of import goods even after implementation of EDI, so that the general public may avoid the potential difficulties of the prospective import system. EDI enables faster decision-making and improved responsiveness to changing customer and market demands, and allows businesses to adopt a demand-driven business model rather than a supply-driven one.

The former minister said Government should take all stake holders in confidence before the implementation of the proposed system and also consider the draw-backs of the system including staff training cost, limitation of trade to countries and businesses having EDI, installation charges, system security and protocols, etc. If expected rise in prices could not control in pre-implementation phases of the system, the smuggled goods will intervene the local market, troubling registered traders as well as the Government will face difficulties in achieving duties’ targets. TI)

JS Bank partners with Engro Foods

Working to build sustainable livelihoods for the people of Pakistan through monetary support and knowledge transfers, JS Bank has collaborated with Engro Foods Limited under the banner of the Prime Minister Youth Business Loan (PMYBL) program. This was an initiative to build sustainable livelihoods for the dairy farmers through monetary support and knowledge transfers.

Through this partnership, JS Bank will providing financing solutions for dairy farmers associated with Engro Foods enabling them to upgrade their farms as well as procure machinery or livestock for socio- economic growth. Dairy farmers participating in this program will be able to access up to PKR 2 Million in ready funds for up to 8 years, at a minimum mark-up rate of just 6% per annum, which is far less than other market offerings.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Kamran Jafar, Group Head – Corporate & Retail Banking Group at JS Bank said “This agreement will serve as a development catalyst and increase financial inclusion nationwide. Through the Prime Minister Youth Business Loan (PMYBL) program, JS Bank is providing easy and accessible avenues for financial independence and growth to deserving farmers.”

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Ali Ahmed Khan, Managing Director Engro Foods Limited said, “Engro Foods remains committed to empower the dairy farmers at grass root level. PMYBL Scheme is a great effort to increase sustainability of the dairy farmers who have zero access to financing solutions. Through this partnership with JS Bank, we look forward to increase the livelihoods and build the capacity of dairy farmers. At Engro Foods we believe that it is our responsibility and we remain committed to enable the evolution of the dairy industry in Pakistan”

Through this alliance, JS Bank and Engro Foods will provide an ecosystem of mutually supporting values and growth to farmers. This supportive structure will help enhance milk production at a national level through fiscal support by JS Bank while best industry practices and industry related information is provided to key stakeholders by Engro Foods.

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