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July 05 - 11,1999

Pakistan included in ARY Bullionaire contest

Renowned bullion dealers and jewellery manufacturers, ARY Jewellers has announced the inclusion of Pakistan in the Dubai - based 'ARY Bullionaire Contest' commencing from the August 1 to December 2, 1999. 28 kilos of gold in prizes will be given out on a worldwide basis including a bumper prize of 20 kilos of gold, respectively.

Some 150 "ARY Privileged Outlets' (Jewellery Shops) all over the country will be participating in the event, being organized for the first time in Pakistan.

On a purchase of any ARY "Rainbow" product or ARY gold bars or in Pakistan on a purchase of Rs. 5000/- worth of gold jewelry from any participating "Privileged Outlets", the customer will be entitled to a coupon. A lucky draw on a worldwide basis will be held in Dubai every month and 20 prizes of 100 grams of gold each will be given as prizes. The ARY Bullionaire Grand Draw will be held at the end of the contest and the lucky winner will be entitled to a Bumper Prize of 20 kilos of gold.

The top ten jewelers of the ARY Bullionaire Contest in Pakistan with the highest number of sales will also be awarded attractive prizes. The first prize of a kilo of gold will go to the jeweler with the highest number of sales, the second prize will be of l/2 kilo of gold and third to the tenth will be given 250 grams of gold, respectively.

"The ARY Bullionaire contest has previously been held in the Middle East and other parts of the sub-continent. Keeping in view the growing demand for gold here, we decided to include Pakistan also in the Bullionaire Contest," said Mohammed Iqbal, Executive Director, ARY Jewellers, Dubai.

ARY Jewellers is a Dubai-based jewellery organization and has launched a number of gold products, the most popular being the ARY "Rainbow Hearts" and "Rainbow Millennium."

Punjab Bank announces 10 percent bonus

The 9th Annual General Meeting of the Bank of Punjab was held at a local Hotel here which was presided by the Acting Chairman Dr. ASIF HAFEEZ SHAIKH and was attended by a large number of share holders. The meeting approved the annual accounts of the Bank of Punjab for the year ended December 31, 1998.

While reviewing of the Bank's performance for the year 1998, the Acting Chairman informed the share holders that by the grace of Allah, the capital and reserves of the Bank have increased from Rs. 1.672 billion (1997) to Rs. 1.795 billion as of close of business in 1998. Similarly deposits, investments, advances and total assets show improvements culminating in a pre-tax profit of Rs. 135.615 million. The Bank's Capital Adequacy ratio at 18.60% is also comfortable.

He said, the operational peformance of the Bank in totality during 1998 remained acceptable. In line with our commitment to provide financial assistance to the priority sectors, particularly "Kissan Dost Agriculture Scheme and Green Tractor Scheme" the Bank has made available increased funding of Rs. 547.003 million during the year under review. The credit portfolio shows an overall growth from Rs. 5,064.524 million to Rs. 5,611.527 million. The pace of recovery of non-performing loans continues to remain vigorous.

He further said that the Bank's emphasis on improving its foreign trade activity bore fruit in the shape of import business increasing to Rs. 915.300 million an improvement of 64% and export business to Rs. 1.21 billion an improvement of 57%. In order to make the deposit base sound and more profitable, focus is being placed on consolidation of existing facilities. We attained a deposit level of Rs. 17.101 billion during the year a rise of Rs. 1.304 billion i.e. 8.25% over previous year's deposit level of Rs. 15.797 billion. The ratio of public sector deposits to private sector deposits improved from 30:70 as on 31.12.1997 to 29:71 as on 31.12.1998 which signifies an enhanced confidence of the private sector in us.

The Bank's range of utility services he added, which earlier included billing facilites for WAPDA, Sui Gas, WASA (in Public Sector) and Paktel, Instaphone (in Private Sector) were further expanded during 1998 when we were commissioned by PTCL to collect their bills.

The Acting Chairman further said the Bank is in the process of implementing a fully integrated and comprehensive management information system. This process of automation should augment controls. The Bank has continued to attach great importance to its human resources. The Officers' Training Institute of the Bank regularly conducts training courses in various aspects of banking. The Acting Chairman said that he and the Board of Directors would like to avail this opportunity to express their gratitude to the Government of Punjab, the Bank's shareholders and above all our clients for their support and confidence. He thanked the State Bank of Pakistan for their continued guidance. He also appreciated the dedication and hard work of the management and staff of the Bank and thanked colleagues on the Board without whose wise counsel and support his task would have been considerably more difficult. We now look forward to the year 1999 and new millennium with confidence, he added.

The shareholders approved the issue of Bonus shares in proportion to 10 shares for every hundred shares.

The shareholders acknowledged and appreciated the overall performance of the Bank. They expressed the hope that is the light of rich experience of the management and staff, the Bank would continue to endeavour for its further progress and glory of the Nation.

Eli-Lilly Sponsors "Tobacco Use is a Curse" Essay Competition

Eli-Lilly Pakistan Limited was the sponsor of the Essay Competition "Tobacco Use is a Curse" organized by the Pakistan Chest Society (Sindh Chapter) for the school and college students, recently.

Mr. Keith Watson, Managing Director of Eli-Lilly Pakistan Limited presented the first prize of Rs. 10,000/- to Ms. Shafq Bin Tariq of St. Lawrence's Girl's School; Prof. Naeem Jafri, Chairman, Ziauddin University gave away the second prize to Ms. Sohni Dean of Convent of Jesus and Mary School and third prize to Ms. Samreen Razi of Gulistan Shah Abdul Bhittai School. A special prize was also awarded to Mr. Ala Zia of City School by Dr. Ghazala Ansari, President of Pakistan Chest Society (PCS), Sindh.

The prize distribution ceremony was held in the committee hall of the Jinnah Post-Graduate Medical College (JPMC) during which Dr. Nadeem Rizvi, General Secretary PCS said, "It is essential to create an awareness amongst school and college children about the hazards of tobacco use and there is an urgent need to form an association in such institutions to communicate its implications".

Caption

(L/R) The Chief Minister of the Punjab Mr. Shabaz Sharif, General Manager of the PC Lahore Mr. Irshad B. Anjum and the District Magistrate escorting the Chief Minister to the Amercian Business Council's convention.

UOG and Mobil agree on first gas for Dolphin

London, July 1, 1999: The UAE Offsets Group (UOG) has announced an agreement on the initial step towards first gas for its Dolphin initiative with Mobil Oil Qatar Inc. an affiliate of Mobil Corporation, one of the worldls largest energy companies. The Dolphin initiative is the worldls largest energy-related program, aimed at stimulating economic development in the Gulf region and beyond.

Separately, UOG has signed memorandum of understandings (MoUs) concerning the downstream purchase of gas with authorities representing the governments of Dubai and Oman as well as the government of Pakistan. Under the terms of an MoU signed with the UOG in Abu Dhabi today, Mobil Oil Qatar Inc. will begin negotiations to develop a long term Supply and Purchase Agreement for initial gas to Dolphin. The parties estimate that volumes will be in the range of 300 to 500 million cubic feet of gas per day (mscf/day).

Mohammed Al Mazroui, Deputy Chairman of UOG, who signed the MoU on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government- sponsored organization, said : 3This MoU starts the process of securing a contract in which Dolphin receives early first gas, from existing upstream sources, for the UAE and Oman markets.2

Todayls MoU also gives~UOG the option to participate in Mobills Enhanced Gas Utilisation project to produce gas from Qatarls North Field. The signatories expect to have a binding agreement in place by the end of

Dr. Amin Badr-El-Din, Chairman of UOG, said: 3This is a significant milestone in the development of the Dolphin initiative. The Mobil MoU is the first agreement with a global energy major and supports the transformation of Dolphin's business strategy to business implementations

Ken Hull, General Manager, Mobil Oil Qatar Inc., noted, 3Mobil is pleased at the prospect of working with UOG towards the first step in a potential Gulf gas grid. Because of Mobills long-standing and strategic partnership with the Qatar General Petroleum Corporation (QGPC), we are uniquely positioned in Qatarls North Field to produce gas economically for export. We believe Mobil and UOG together can achieve the common goal of producing Qatar North field gas to benefit economic development of the entire region. When Dolphin becomes operational, it will create considerable benefits for all participants, public and private sector, and for the people of the region.2

The Dolphin program includes construction of a pipeline from Qatar to a landfall on the Abu Dhabi coast and distribution of gas through the existing network, supplemented by new construction as necessary. The pipeline will then continue to Oman and beyond. The UOGIs plans for Dophin also envisage the creation of markets for energy inlcuding Sinalat, a UOG-sponsored development of basic industries and petrochemical facilities within the UAE, and expansion of Tabreed, a Dubai-Abu Dhabi joint venture created under UOG auspices to develop new cooling systems. Other customers would include iron and steel plants, aluminium smelters, and independent power producers as well as gas trading corporations.

0X22~ ICI Pakistan Ltd and E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Company signed a l 5 year Technical Services Agreement which enables access to technical resource and "know how" on an as need basis. The arrangements also allow for participation in Technical Exchanges with other DuPont Sites and I,icensees.

This Agreement wall strengthen ICI Pakistan's operational support arrangements and ensures il benefits from future developments and improvements in other PTA operations with similar technology hence improve performance and add value to its lousiness.

I('l Pakistan's PTA plant is based on technology purchased from ICI by DuPont in 1997 consequent to the purchase of ICrs glc bal PTA Business, except in Pakistan, by DuPont. Various agreements were plot in place to ensure ongoing support fronl DuPont during the final stages o ' Project completion and commissioning. Since start up there has been regular access to technical and operational expertise within DuPont and ICI Plc in particular during the early period whe the Pakistan ManaFement team was being trained and developed. Currently there are five DuPon': employees on secondment to ICI Pakistan who are working in key operational roles with a brief to ensure the efficient transfer of technology to Pakistan Managers.

FWBL - MICRO business skill courses for women

First Women Bank Limited has started Certificate Courses in technical skills for various lines of micro businesses for women at FWBL Business Centre, Karachi. These courses are very helpful for those women who intend to start their business at small scale. Computer, Fabric Painting, Glass painting, Pot Painting and Self Grooming courses are very popular among women.

FWBL is going to start courses for women entrepreneurs in the field of Marketing and research, Accounting, Auditing, Planning and Management and legal and Income Tax to deal with their business problems and requirements.

Advisory service, credit facilities and all in house facilities such as internet, E-mill and fax are also available all the time in FWBL Business Centres Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Burson-Marsteller strengthens Position in Switzerland

Burson-Marsteller (B-M), which is the world's largest public relations and perception management consultancy, has announced that it is strengthening its position in Switzerland with the acquisition of the remaining shares in its Swiss partner Jaggi/Burson-Marsteller, the full-service communications agency. The company will be known as Burson-Marsteller, AG.

B-M is represented in Pakistan by Mediators (Pvt) Limited, a public relation and communications consulting company.

Commenting on the announcement, Christopher P. A. Komisarjevsky, Burson-Marsteller World-wide CEO, said: "As a financial and diplomatic centre of Europe, Switzerland is of strategic importance to Burson-Marsteller. The partnership between the two companies has been very successful with strong growth among national and multinational clients".

It is anticipated that in future returns to NIT Unit holders will be mainly in the form of appreciation in unit price and to a lesser degree in the form of cash dividends, Mr. Nasim Beg acting Chief Executive of the Trust said here Friday while expressing a resolve that NIT unit holders get high returns on their investments.

He was addressing a press conference to brief the media about the financial results of NIT during the fiscal year 1998-99.

He said that NIT is trying to make its dividend policy to be in line with international practice, whereby mutual funds generally distribute their dividend income but retain most of the capital gains within the fund.

He assured that change in dividend policy will have no adverse effect on the returns to unit holders. Explaining the anticipated change in the policy he said that cash dividend resulted in the NIT unit price being adjusted downward by the exact amount of the dividend. If there was no divined payout, the unit price would be correspondingly higher. "From the point of view of the investor the total return on their investment over a given time period, will not be effected" he added.

NIT chief further informed that during the year 1998-99 there was net inflow of funds of more than Rs. 500m therefore there had been no pressure to sell. This had resulted in Capital Gains being lower at Rs. 84 million as compared Rs. 1,929 million last year.

He explained that during the previous year (1997-98) the fund faced redemption pressure, which meant that a certain amount of stocks in the fund's portfolio has to be sold which in turn resulted in capital gains to be booked. But in the last fiscal year management took a decision not to sell shares except for research driven reasons altogether by selling shares larger capital gains could have been accounted but that would not have been in the long term interest of the Unit holders. This, he said, was especially true of the "privatisation plays" in the portfolio, as NIT held a very large number shares of state-owned companies which were candidates for privatisation (PSO, SSGC, SNGPL etc). "It was likely that when these are privatised, they will fetch prices which are several times the current market prices. In the long term interest of Unit holders it was considered better to retain these and other good quality stocks in the portfolio".

Mr. Nasim Beg said that Revenue income for NIT was lower at Rs. 1,133 million as compared to Rs. 1,595 million in the previous year. This, he explained, was largely due to a drop of Rs. 27m in dividend income. Dividends received from NIT's holdings in Mutual Funds were down sharply from Rs. 133m to Rs. 5.2m. Also Substantially lower dividends were also received from Cherat Cement, Prime Bank, PILCORP, Bank Al Habib etc. Dividend income from Nestle and Al-Ghazi Tractors was also lower as NIT sold the NIT chief also explained reasons for moving to a forward pricing system with effect from July 3rd 1999, which is the international standard.

He said that since November 1997, the Net Asset Value (NAV) of NIT's fund was calculated daily on the basis of the closing prices of the investment held by the fund. Unit prices, which are based on the NAV, were also set daily. Thus Sale and repurchase of units took place at prices which were calculated at the close of business on the previous day. If there was a very large market movement on any day, then new buyers or sellers could benefit at the expense of other Unit holders. While NIT has the right to re-set its prices in case of a major market movement, this was difficult in practice. With the introduction of forward pricing system Unit sale and repurchase requests received on any day would now be settled at prices calculated at the close of business on the same day. This would ensure equal and fair treatment to all Unit holders.

Commenting the budget 1999-2000 Mr. Nasim Beg said that there were two measures announced in the Budget on June 12th which have a direct impact on NIT, exemption of dividend income of all mutual funds from the deduction of 10% withholding tax and exemption for NIT for two years from the requirement to distribute 90% of its income to quality from income tax exemption.

NIT, he said along with the Mutual Fund Association of Pakistan, had lobbied for a change in the tax laws, which required mutual funds to distribute 90% of their income to quality for income tax exemption. This change would not have any effect on the earnings of mutual funds, but only on their cash flow. This change, by allowing mutual funds to build up their asset value over time, would greatly increase the long term benefit of investors, he added.

Air freight unit lahore customs collects record revenue Rs. 1702 billion during the financial year 1998-99

The Air Freight Unit of Lahore Customs has collected a record rvenue in terms of customs Duty and other leviable Government taxes during the financial year 1998-99. A total amount of Rs 1702 million has been collected. The Custom Duty collected during the year amounts to Rs. 1378 Million which shows an increase of Rs. 74 millions as compared to the amount of duty collected during the last financial year 1997-98. Not only the given revenue target has been achieved but it has been surpassed by 10%. in the month of June, 1999 a record amount of Custom Duty amounting to Rs. 142 million has been collected while during the corresponding month of last year only 118 million duty could be collected. The revenue achievement of this year is unprecedented in the history of AFU inspite the fact that economic activity remained sluggish during the year as the custom tariff were reduced and even the imports through air also showed decrease by 22.50% during the last year as compared to the financial year 1997-98. During the year 1998-99 the weight of the total consignments was 4464.98 M.Ton while during the same period of the corresponding year the weight of the total consignments was 5743 M.Ton showing a decease of 22.5% during this year. It clearly shows that the weight of import has been reduced during this year. During the year 1998-99 the total assessable value of the goods brought by air was Rs. 5016.50 million while during last year the total assessable value was 5016.50 million. Moreover this year the value of duty free imports also increased by 105.44%. the major revenue generating items brought by Air includes. pharmaceutical raw materials, medical equipments, machinery parts, garments, cosmetics. Telecommunication equipment. During the year the staff of AFU kept pressing hard on the defaults and started a vigorous campaign of tax recovery. As a result of this campaign more than Rs. 60.38 millions were recovered as outstanding arrears. This figure shows an increase as compared to the recovery made during the last year. During the last 2 financial years only an amount of Rs 39 million could be recovered.

Though economic activity remained sluggish, yet the all out efforts of AFU staff under the guidance of Collector Customs almost smashed the Khepia gang from the Lahore Airport. Resultantly the well known Khepias of Lahore were persuaded to become genuine importers and now most of then are genuinely importing various goods and thus causing an increase in the Government revenue. The genuine and bonafide passenger are bringing their bonafide goods and they are being provided with all type of necessary facilitation. during the year 1998-99, a total number 8235 passengers brought 3678.29 M Ton of house hold goods and paid an amount of Rs. 14.78 million as Customs duty and Rs. 14.77 Millions as other taxes. While during the year 1997-98 10751, passengers cleared their personal effects.

During this year 1998-99 as the khepia culture has been smashed, a total number of 68 seizure cases worth Rs. 7.3 million were instituted and after that all have been adjudicated and most of the confiscated goods have been auctioned. Notable seizure cases included electronic goods, cosmetics, garments, video CD's pigeon feathers and assorted goods.