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Apr 16 - 22, 2001

Textile Industry: Sales tax refunds

Mr. Abid Farooq, Chairman Aptma has urged the Central Board of Revenue to release pending Sales Tax Refunds to tax claimants immediately and save the Textile Industry from severe liquidity crisis. He referred to the recent meeting held with CBR wherein it was assured that refunds would be released to Tax Claimants in the first week of April 2001. So far cheques are not being issued. Apparently no reasons have been assigned to this inordinate delay. Major sufferers are the Manufacturers-Cum-Exporters who have borrowed funds from Banks at high rate of markup. The present situation is that the mills are not in a position to pay further tax due on 10th of April. If refunds are not released immediately possibility exists that the concerned mills would not be able to service their installments to the Banks.

He further added that the CBR has issued clarification C. No. 3(36)STP/99(Pt.1) on 28.02.2001 regarding requirement of payment proof within the tax period. The issue has further complicated the refunds process to tax claimants. As a result, Collectorates have stopped further processing these refunds since January 2001. Implications of the said clarifications are wide ranged. Aptma has urged the Government to withdraw the clarification and process refund applications in the light of the Refund Rules under SRO 417(1)/2000.

Actions required to get best desired results from forthcoming "Shipping Policy"

As you are well aware that shipping industry has been remain neglected by the previous governments and no concrete and meaningful steps were taken for the promotion or even for revival of this industry. Different committees and task forces were formed, but no response was given to their recommendations and no progress was made for promotion of this industry.

Pakistan has captive cargo market of millions of tons being shipping/transported to or from Pakistan every year which includes Iron Ore & Coal, Wheat, Fertilizers, Steel products, Iron scrap, sugar, oil seeds, cotton, rice, textile made-up, crude oil, petroleum & edible oil, & lot of other general cargo movement in containers. In addition, if right shipping policies are adopted, we have the markets of Afghanistan and other neighbouring states of Central Asia.

In the past, the decisions made on 24th April, 1993 for promotion of shipping industry on the highest economic forum in Pakistan i.e. E.C.C. were not implemented. This has lost the confidence of prospective investors. The credibility of the government was compromised and with the result presently no shipping company in private sector is in operation. All the companies of this sector had to close down their operations due to non friendly fiscal policies of Central Board of Revenue imposed on shipping companies.

Pak-Gulf Leasing Company Limited extra ordinary general meeting

An Extra Ordinary General Meeting of the company was convened on April 07, 2001 at 11:30 a.m. at the Registered Office of the Company situated at 114, Unibro House, 9th East Street, Phase-I, Defence Housing Authority, Karachi.

Pak-Gulf Leasing Company Ltd. commenced operation on September 15, 1996. The foreign shareholding comprises of 26% of the share capital and 74% comprises of local sponsors and general public.

As the present tenure of the Directors of the Company is due to expire on April 08, 2001, new Directors were inducted for a term of three years commencing from April 09, 2001.

The following are the newly appointed Directors:-

1. Mr. Azfar Bin Shahid
2. Mr. Fawad S. Malik
3. Mr. Habib Inam
4. Mr. Inam Ellahi Shaikh
5. Mr. Shaheed H. Gaylani
6. Sheikh Muhammad Jawed
7. Mr. Sohail Inam Ellahi
8. Mr. Yousuf Jan Mohmmad

The new Directors have a rich experience in the business sector and as such are seasoned businessmen, who are well known in the Business Community.

While speaking on the occasion the Chairman, Mr. Sohail Inam Ellahi congratulated all the individual for being Elected as Directors of Pak-Gulf Leasing Company Ltd. for a tenure of 3 years. He thanked the out-going Directors Messrs. Farouq H. Rahimtoola and Shoaib S. Malik for their invaluable support in keeping the tradition of PGL alive and contributing their level best in maintenance of good leasing portfolio.

He welcomed the new Directors Messrs. Azfar Bin Shahid who was the founder Director of PGL and Shaheed H. Gaylani, both these gentlemen have tremendous experience in Banking and Finance and would prove to be a valuable asset to PGL.

The Chairman Mr. Sohail Inam Ellahi also said that the future outlook of PGL is good and would continue to improve in the years to come.

Home improvement scheme

In order to provide comfortable living environment for which a woman aspires First Women Bank Ltd. has taken an initiative and has come up with a House improvement financing scheme with major focus on women from low and middle income group who usually have limited budgets having no provision for this vital family need that is for renovating and making additions to their existing accommodations.

Women who are having their own businesses or employed are eligible to avail loan against mortgage of their properties. All 38 branches of the Bank throughout the country may be contacted for finding out details of the scheme.

Arena Multimedia - Golden Web Award

Arena Multimedia - Pakistan, has recently launched its web site and has the URL http://www.arena-pakistan.com. This site has been reviewed and chosen to bear the 2001-2002 Golden Web Award by International Association of Webmasters and Designers. This site is simple and user-friendly. All the details regarding Arena's Mission, International Recognition and International Alliances can be retrieved from its "About Us" link. This link on "Courses" provides the reader with in-depth information on the various courses offered at Arena Multimedia. The interested can also acquire information online by filling up the application form. "Careers" section is sort of an online Career Counseling, which tells the interested Netter about the available career options, Arena Placements and Future Technologies. In addition to this, different Arena contact addresses can be accessed from the "Locations" link. The surfer can find info on Arena Multimedia's "Facilities" too. Moreover, there is a section dedicated to "Students". You can find a Students' Gallery, their vision about Arena and Students Club details from this section.

Debt reduction through exports-UBL President

"Pakistan can reduce its international debt by exporting to the world," this was stated by Amar Zafar Khan, President United Bank Limited, at a Seminar entitled, "Converting Global Companies from Net Importers to Exporters" organized by Institute of Business Administration (IBA) recently. The Chief Guest on the occasion was Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Finance Minister, Government of Sindh.

"Pakistan has all the potential to become a leading exporting country of the world. By exporting value added products we would be able to reduce our foreign exchange debt and in turn provide an avenue for creating employment in the country. It is mandatory today that we create and develop the capacity of our economy so that our youth which would be entering the job market in the days to come would not be beholden to any contact to avail employment opportunities. Our youngsters have all the talent in the world. This is very evident by the fact that in all major international examinations Pakistani boys and girls have been gaining top marks. What we need to do is enable an environment that can best utilize this talent and that means developing our economy to a point that it provides opportunity to everyone on merit alone", said Amar Zafar Khan.

He further elaborated, "Pakistan has to allocate a sizable portion of foreign exchange earnings towards servicing its debt. One approach of meeting this obligation would be to convince the creditor nations that Pakistan can more effectively service its debt if it is given the opportunity to export its product and services to them and pay back what it owes from the increasing foreign exchange earnings."

The seminar, sponsored by United Bank Limited entailed presentations from prominent corporate sector leaders Hassan Ali Khan (Continental Biscuits Pakistan), Naeem Khokhar (Lever Brothers Pakistan), Sohail W. Siddiqui (Siemens); Masood Jaffery (Glaxo Smith Kline Pakistan) Mazhar Valji (Thal Jute) and Sabir Imtiaz (Lakson Group of Companies).

A jury panel, presided by Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, comprised prominent personalities like Javed Jabbar, Former Federal Minister; Amar Zafar Khan, UBL President; Dr. Mahnaz Fatima, Economist, Iqbal Ismail, Chairman Ace Securities and Irfan Hussein, Columnist & Head of Textile Institute of Pakistan, cross examined the speakers during the presentations.

In his closing remarks Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said, "It is indeed heartening to see UBL supporting the activities of educational institutions like IBA, as the success of present economically advanced nations is primarily based upon the fact that they developed the capacity of their human resources. You cannot have developed countries comprising underdeveloped people."

MCB pyara ghar money for your home

Muslim Commercial Bank, the largest privatized commercial bank of Pakistan launched its House Financing Product under the brand MCB Pyara Ghar. The product aims at catering to three different needs namely Home Purchase, Home Renovation and Home Construction. The differentiation features of MCB Pyara Ghar from competition is much better pricing and the large MCB network making it very convenient for customers to approach. Initially, the product is available only in Karachi but would be extended to other cities in phases.

Plans are in the pipeline to further extend the bank's umbrella of financing products, in order to provide a diverse product menu to existing and prospective customers.

MCB with a network of over 1,000 branches nationwide, a market leader in Rupee Traveller Cheques business and ATM services is striving to provide innovative and value based propositions to its customers.

PAS elects new Council in the 4th AGM

The Pakistan Advertisers Society held its fourth Annual General Meeting on 6th April 2001. The meeting was well attended by leading luminaries of the marketing/communications industry. Chaired by Minister of State Mr. Tariq Ikram, Chairman Export Promotions Bureau, and the founder Chairman of the Pakistan Advertisers Society, the meeting lasted the better part of an hour. In addition to the formalities of approving the minutes of the last AGM, the audited accounts and the Council's report for the year 2000, the members also agreed to take major steps towards the common good of the marketing communications industry. The AGM undertook to play a more active role by conducting interactive seminars and training sessions on marketing research and other intriguing issues.

The members were also briefed on the progress on projects of Establishment/Media Habits/SEC survey of Rural Pakistan and the Television Audience Measurement Service. The evaluation to select the most appropriate bidder for rural survey is underway and the contract would be awarded in the next few days. This would be the second major research project initiated by PAS after the Establishment/Media Habits/SEC Survey of Urban Pakistan.

The Pakistan Advertisers Society also elected its new, 10 member Council, for the year 2001/2. In a brief Council Meeting, following the AGM, the new Council elected Mr. Haroon Basheer, the consumer bank head of Citibank as its new Chairman. Mr. Naeem Khokhar, who looks after the beverage business of Lever Brothers and Mr. Tariq Kirmani, Deputy Managing Director-PSO, were elected as the two Vice Chairmen of the Society. Mr. Ayaz Bokhari who has a regional responsibility of retail marketing and public relations for Shell would be the new Secretary, while Mr. Tahir Hussain, Marketing Director at English Biscuits would serve as the Treasurer. The PAS Council also includes Mr. Sabir Sami, Managing Director of Reckitt Benckiser, Mr. Mohd Amin CEO Gillette Pakistan, Mr. Ali Aamir, Senior Marketing Manager Tapal Tea, Mr. Hanspeter Heissen General Manager Procter & Gamble and Mr. Amer Pasha, Marketing Director Coca-Cola.

Earlier, Mr. Tariq Kirmani received an exquisite crystal globe awarded by Mr. Tariq Ikram, to commemorate PSO's membership as PAS' newest and first public sector member.

Askari MasterCard makes market impact

Askari Commercial Bank Ltd recently joined an elite group of leading banking institutions when it launched the prestigious Askari MasterCard.

The market response to the launch has been tremendous from day one and, according to industry insiders, has gone way beyond the bank's expectations. This, they say, is a very encouraging sign and creates a lot of confidence for the product's future.

While the Pakistan credit card market is described by industry-watchers as having achieved a good part of its potential, they say there is still room for products that offer added value. Askari MasterCard fits the bill and this is perhaps the key to the manner in which it has been welcomed.

It is obvious that Askari Bank did not jump into the fray in a hurry. It did its homework well, its confidence riding on the fact that there was still room for a new credit card to enter the market backed by a solid name and an equally strong facilities package.

Askari Bank has established for itself a solid reputation among the country's banks and is today one of the largest private sector banks in Pakistan. Combined with MasterCard, again a globally reputed credit card brand, the combination of Askari and MasterCard offered the sort of perfect recipe that is difficult to match.

As an Askari MasterCard holder, one has access to a whole host of benefits and conveniences. To start with, there is no joining fee so it is almost as if you get the card for free. Besides, the services charges on the card are also very low. This offers the card holder greater flexibility of use.

There are many other invaluable benefits and perks that the customer gets as an Askari MasterCard holder. The card is accepted globally at over 14 million establishments in 160 countries worldwide, including over 10,000 merchants across Pakistan, and provides one the opportunity to shop, travel or dine Internationally or locally as and when one wishes.

The success of Askari MasterCard is of course powered by its vision to be the best bank in Pakistan.

No wonder then, that despite the continuing downturn that the country's economic sector is taking, Askari Commercial Bank Ltd has managed to out-perform its competitors and maintain a forward growth momentum.

While the Askari MasterCard is one of the Bank's latest consumer-oriented products, it has already built a solid reputation for itself as a bank that is continuously adding value by offering innovative products and services to its customers.

Askari Bank has also been quick to introduce ATMs (Automated Teller machines) for its customers. Electronic cash dispensing facilities are now available in major cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi and will soon be introduced in other cities. All the Bank's ATMs are linked through a state-of-the-art satellite based communications system offering real-time 24-hours service.

The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (Pvt.) Ltd. (PACRA) and affiliate of FITCH IBCA Ltd., UK. has upgraded the Banks long term entity rating from A+ to AA-, while maintaining the short term rating at A1+, which is the highest possible in this category.