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By FARAZ SIDDIQUI
Jul 10 - 16, 2000

Ms H. Charmaine Hidayatullah, Senior Vice President of First Women Bank Ltd and Chief of legal publicity and security division at FWBL, by profession is a lawyer with a career of outstanding achievements and honours. She is also Honorary General Secretary of Pakistan Red Crescent Society, and Chairperson UN Affairs, APWA. During her career, she remained on different responsible positions and holds number of achievements in her professional career. She has attended many conferences at national and international level. And foremost she is a grand daughter of Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah and Sir Haji Abdullah Haroon. PAGE talked to her about FWBL and its contribution to the country and women, following are the excerpts of her interview.

Charmaine H. Hidayatullah, Senior Vice President of the First Women Bank Limited (FWBL) has said that FWBL is determined to excel its micro credit plans in semi- rural and urban areas of the country.

Talking to PAGE, Chairmaine Hidayatullah, who is also the Chief of Legal, Publicity and Security Division, pointed out that the micro credit scheme due to its significant nature demands for establishment of a separate and independent wing to deliver the services smoothly.

Being the most effective way, Miss Hidayatullah talked about FWBL's plans about micro credit, said, our G-9 Markaz has launched a programme with three credit mobile officers who will analyze and assess the semi rural areas and suburbs to provide the needy women with short-term credit to facilitate them. She also said that a scheme of shelter credit is also undertaken by the bank to provide credit for home improvement. The main purpose of micro credit is to assess and motivate the women at grassroots level for business and entrepreneurship, she added.

Opined about meeting with Ishrat Hussain, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Charmaine Hidayatullah said, this is for the first time to have a meeting with Governor SBP at FWBL with the staff. During the session the staff discussed grievances and other issues with the Governor who assured due weightage to them. The Governor also said that bank will not be privatized and it will be maintained at its present status. Issues of major reconstruction and micro credit bank were also discussed. Miss Hidayatullah praised the positive role of government for the development of bank but the role of shareholder banks were sometime negative in this regard.

FWBL born with a core objective to meet the credit needs of women in Pakistan and also provide a single platform with all banking facilities to the women. Miss Hidayatullah said that First Women Bank would continue to strive for the improvement of business run by the women. FWBL recently launched its web site where one can get needed information about FWBL's banking products and plans.

Talking about Business Center of FWBL, she said, The center is working for the development of new women entrepreneurs. Miss Hidayatullah further said, Business Center spells a new era of economics empowerment and development which aims at the development of new women enterpereneurs by offering them comprehensive training programmes. She said, this center is also working as an advisory council for women entrepreneurs which provides information and advises relating to business planning and management. It also links them with Export Promotion Bureau and other business houses which can help them to lead successful business, she added. To achieve our set target, business center also offers various courses, organizes workshops and arranges exhibition and display of products of women entrepreneurs, she added.

Regarding IT perspective, explaining the role of FWBL she said, our bank realizes the importance of IT for the progressive development of economy and country, the bank also offers different computer training programmes to enhance computer skills and make them competitive with e-commerce courses. These days different courses for beginners, entrepreneurs and advance courses to enhance computer skills are being undertaken for the same purpose, she added.

Miss Hidayatullah expressed a very optimistic outlook for the future progress of First Women Bank, its must expand overseas. During last few years bank has been facing many uncertain situations but our promising, skilled and creative work force has rendered valuable services for the bank in such unfavourable circumstances to face challenges. She also expressed her satisfaction that despite of having intense segregation in the society between male and female, FWBL has maintained its credibility with its women power. The bank has a committed and career oriented women workforce on full time basis.

Giving a message to the readers she said that men and women are two essential driver of the society and both are part of Pakistan, so both should play their role together for the well-being of Pakistan by putting their self benefit aside.