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June 25 - July 01, 2001

Redemption of TFCs by Sigma Leasing

Please be informed that Sigma Leasing Corporation Limited is paying third redemption on Term Finance Certificates (TFCs) to those TFC holders whose names will appear in the Register of Members on 18th July 2001.

TFCs Transfer Books of the company will be closed from 4th July, 2001 to 17th July, 2001 (both days inclusive). Transfer received at the office of our TFC Registrar, Noble Computer Services (Pvt.) Ltd., 14 - Banglore Town Housing Society, Main Shahrah-e-Faisal, Karachi- 75350 at the close of business on 3rd July, 2001 will be treated in time for the purpose of payment of redemption to the transferees.

'Gold Leaf' prepares for new World Adventure

Having successfully chartered three of the world's largest oceans last year, the 'John Player Gold Leaf' yacht is being made ready for another exciting adventure which will take her to some of the most scenic and historic destinations of the Mediterranean.

Since 'wintering' in Dubai, UAE, the 'Gold Leaf' is now back in Palma, Spain her port of origin where she is undergoing a complete overhaul in preparation for the months that lie ahead.

The 'Gold Leaf' will be launched in Barcelona on 7 July 2001 to coincide with the delivery of their first assignment. The other Mediterranean destinations will be revealed following the presentation of each separate assignment.

Acer Computer to play vital role at SAF Games

Acer Computer, one of the world's largest PC manufacturers, has been appointed as the official provider of various computer hardware equipment, at the upcoming South Asian Federation (SAF) Games, to be held in Islamabad, in October 2001.

Besides Pakistan, other nations taking part are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka. The sports gala will be the largest ever sporting event to be hosted by Pakistan, thus far, and Acer Computer was the natural choice of organisers once again to provide its state-of-the-art facilities at the games, as it did during the 13th Asian Games held in Bangkok, in 1998.

At the SAF Games, Acer will provide over one hundred personal computers, thirty servers and twenty hubs, for networking throughout the arena, which will greatly facilitate in providing on the spot details of the games. Furthermore, a pressroom setup exclusively for journalists and equipped with Acer hardware, will also enable media men from around the world to cover the event 'live' from the sports complex.

The President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, was the Chief Guest at the inauguration ceremony for the preparations of the Games, where he presented a shield to Mr. Ijaz Anwer, Country Manager, Acer Computer Pakistan.

At the occasion, Mr. Anwer said, Acer Computer feels honoured to provide hardware including advanced Acer PCs, server units and networking equipment at the SAF Games, facilitating up-to-the-minute, score-reporting and 'live' updates to officials, commentators, newsmen and the public. This provision exemplifies Pakistan as being an information technology driven country and one that possesses facilities for hosting a myriad of world class events".

Commenting at the occasion Colonel Hammad Khalid, Director IT for SAF Games said, the decision to choose Acer was entirely because of its vast experience in providing precision computing technology at the Games which are so important to the success of the event."

Being an Asian computer manufacturing giant and also the official provider of all the computer hardware at the SAF Games, it is another landmark achievement for Acer towards setting new international benchmarks of providing quality products and services to its consumers, regardless of locality.

About Acer

Established in 1976, Acer is a world leading PC manufacturer offering a broad range of PC products from industry-leading high-end PC servers and multimedia desktop computers, to notebooks, computer peripherals and components. Acer is also the leading Internet enabler offering Internet component technologies, devices and services. These include end-to-end solutions, mobile phones, plasma-displays, TFT screens, projectors, wireless communications, and e-corp solutions.

The Acer Group employs nearly 37,000 people in 232 enterprises spanning 41 countries world wide, supporting dealers and distributors in over 100 countries. The Acer Group's revenues for 1999 were US$8.4 billion. For more information about the Acer Group, please visit our web site at www.acer.co.ae or e-mail pakistan@acer.co.ae.

MCB ATM at State Bank of Pakistan's Building, Karachi

Dr. Ishrat Husain, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), has inaugurated the MCB ATM installed at the premises of State Bank of Pakistan Building, I.I. Chundrigar Road, Karachi. On the occasion, Mr. Mohammad Aftab Manzoor, President, MCB, was present alongwith his team members. Mr. R.A. Chughtai, Dy. Governor SBP, Mr. Ashraf Janjua, Economic Advisor & other officials of SBP were also present.

The ATM has been installed to provide 24 hours banking convenience to the employees of SBP on their door step and their customer holding MCB and its members bank's ATM cards. MCB is operating the largest ATM network in Pakistan which has been joined by six international as well as domestic banks in Pakistan.

By virtue of this network, customers of these banks will be able to perform transactions at each others ATMs. Currently there are over 80 MCB ATMs, which will be expanded to a network of 120 ATMs by the end of this year serving 200 On-line branches across 17 cities in Pakistan.

MCB ATM Cards are also globally acceptable at ATMs through Cirrus Membership and at Merchant outlets through Maestro Membership.

IT: the top priority

Chairman Kalia Group Mr. Hanif S. Kalia in a press release has hailed the announcement of inclusion of Information Technology in the four priority areas by the Federal Finance Minister, Shoukat Aziz in his Budget Speech and said the new millennium is the era of Information Technology (IT) and without adopting it on war-footings, no progress and prosperity is now possible. In fact, IT should be given priority No. 1 as it has considerable bearing on every walk of life including other three priority areas i.e. (i) Agriculture (ii) SMEs (iii) Oil and Gas. In the one way the present government has acknowledged this fact by giving the best incentive package to IT industry in the previous budget and afterwards from time to time.

Welcoming the government announcement Hanif Kalia appreciated the encouragement and incentives provided by the government to increase the present rate of depreciation of computer equipment from 10% to 30%, declaration of E-government project to generate significant opportunities for local software development and create new export capabilities in Pakistan. Establishment of COMSATS Institute of Information Technology as center of excellence, establishment of two incubators for Pakistani firms in Singapore and Sanfransisco to meet the challenges of new IT International environment. Moreover, providing Internet facilities to 700 cities next year as well as bulk availability of bandwidth 20 times by PTCL, are right steps in the right direction.

This is also a matter of great satisfaction that a sizable amount of Rs. 4.34 billion has been allocated for IT sector in this budget. Technological Park (TP) is of paramount importance for IT sector of any country. Sometimes back it was established in Islamabad and is running very successfully and recently it has been launched in Lahore, but the same is yet to be established in Karachi where 80% IT man power of Pakistan available. Hence, sooner the same is launched the better.

As regards Virtual University (E-Learning)-the need of the hour, Kalia Group offered a multi-million Virtual University software (KalEd) to the federal government as well as to Sindh government in last October as gift (free of cost) which is still under consideration by both the governments inspite of a period of almost 9 months has already elapsed. This is beyond one's comprehension that why such a longer period is required to accept / to adopt a gift for the nation. Since the government has now decided to go for a Virtual University, the positive response from both the governments is expected soon to encourage the domestic software house and to save the country from incurring unnecessary expenditure in precious foreign exchange.