Playing a leading role in the promotion of IT
culture in Pakistan
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Jan 22 - 28, 2001
Pak Libya Holding Company (Pvt.) Limited is among
the leading joint venture DFIs in Pakistan, which is playing a leading
role in the promotion of IT culture in Pakistan, in pursuance of its
overall objective of supplementing economic development of Pakistan.
Pak-Libya, a leading joint venture financial institution in Pakistan,
between the Governments of Libya and Pakistan, established on October
14, 1980 has an authorized capital of Rs.4.0 billion. The Company has
witnessed a remarkable growth in its operations in the recent past,
which has been demonstrated by expansion of its Balance Sheet,
profitability as well as diversity of its operations. The Company had
an original subscribed equity capital of Rs.1.0 billion, shared
equally between the two Governments, wherein the total employed
capital including reserves has more than doubled since inception and
currently stands at Rs.2.1 billion. In addition, the Company has paid
a cumulative dividend of Rs.1.9 billion since its inception. The
dividend payout since inception is thus nearly twice the subscribed
capital of the Company.
Pak-Libya's major areas of operations include
Project Financing, Investment Banking and Merchant Banking. The
Company's investment and financing operations encompass both
fund-based and non-fund based activities. Since its inception, the
major focus of Pak-Libya's activities has been financing of industrial
development in the private sector. Pak Libya has made tangible
contribution towards financing of industrial development in Pakistan.
Financial assistance has since been provided to a number of projects
pertaining to a cross section of important industrial sectors
including Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Fertilizers, Engineering Goods,
Oil & Gas, Energy, Financial Sector, Services, etc. The Company
has so far made gross cumulative sanctions of Rs. 9.4 billion
(including both local and foreign currency investments) to over 300
projects. Of the cumulative gross sanctions, a sum of Rs. 2.4 billion
has since been fully repaid. In line with present Government's policy
of financing export oriented industries, Pak-Libya is providing long
term project financing support to various viable projects particularly
in their Balancing, Modernization and Replacement BMR plans. The
Company is also playing an important role in the area of Capital
Market and resource mobilization though listed instruments of finance.
Pak Libya's present Management has, over the last
couple of years, taken a number of bold decisions, which have given
fundamental strength to Pak Libya's Corporate Goal, improvement in its
profitability, diversification of its operations and enhanced its
market image and has ensured that the Company is now working on a well
documented and computer aided environment. Some of the major steps
undertaken by the present Management included revision and improvement
of Pak Libya's Charter, diversification of operations, resource
mobilization, introduction of effective internal control system,
establishment/re-activation of subsidiary companies, promotion of
Information Technology, computerization, introduction of digital
archiving, Credit Rating, etc. With the accomplishment of these tasks,
Pak Libya not only enjoys today an "AA" Band Credit
Rating but has also engaged Moody's International for award
of ISO-9002 Certification.
Realizing the largely untapped IT potential
that lies in Pakistan and as part of its commitment to develop and
broaden the base of Pakistan's growing Information Technology sector,
Pak-Libya is playing a pioneering role in promotion of Information
Technology talent, industry and culture in the country. Pak Libya had
earlier sponsored an Information Technology Company, which has not
only expanded in promotion of IT education with very strong
international affiliations but has also entered into the area of
software development. Pak Libya has also taken the initiative of
promoting the first IT specific Venture Capital Fund in the
name of "PakVenCap.com Limited" (Website: www.PakVenCap.com).
This fund aims at creating an incubator for budding IT
professionals, students, amateurs and entrepreneurs who might have a
unique product/idea but because of lack of financial support, the idea
could not become a reality. By promoting the IT sector,
Pak-Libya wants it to eventually contribute handsomely to the
Pakistani exports, generate new employment opportunities and
eventually make Pakistan a force to reckon with on the global IT
scene. PakVencap.com is essentially envisaged to promote and
support IT professionalism and entrepreneurship through
identifying, incubating and eventually commercializing Software
Technology (SOFTECH) projects in Pakistan. Pak Libya had also
sponsored a 'Talent Hunt Scheme' to identify and assist I.T.
students, amateurs, professionals and budding I.T.
entrepreneurs to convert their nascent projects into real life
applications by providing venture capital financing to deserving
projects. The idea got a very encouraging response from the
participants. The technical and financial feasibilities of the
submitted projects are being evaluated to short list viable projects.
The size of the Venture Capital Fund is proposed to
be Rs. 250 million. The said fund would be the first of its kind in
Pakistan, which would promote venture capital enterprises in the I.T.
Sector. PakVencap.com is being floated in
association/sponsorship with various other financial institutions.
Other financial institutions are gradually expressing their interest
to join the promotion of the venture fund. Although PakVenCap.com
Limited is still in the process of incorporation pending
finalization of Venture Capital Rules by the SECP, it has already
initiated its soft opening by encouraging and promoting two IT
Venture projects i.e. PakBusinessPortal.com (a Business Portal)
and Ajrak.com (a Search Engine). Both these IT Venture
projects were launched on September 7, 2000 by the Sindh Governor, Mr.
Mohammadmian Soomro in an impressive ceremony held at a local hotel.
Both have already witnessed remarkable success.
Pak Libya's bold initiative to float its IT
Venture Capital Company was also appreciated by the Finance Minister,
Mr. Shaukat Aziz and the Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Dr. Ishrat
Hussain, during their meeting with Pak Libya management. The Finance
Minister and the Governor, State Bank of Pakistan fully encouraged
Pak-Libya on its planned Venture Capital Fund. While assuring the
government's support, the Finance Minister desired that the said
proposal be submitted by Pak-Libya to Securities and Exchange
Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for the early completion of the
necessary formalities. The said proposal has since been approved by
the SECP and PakVenCap.com Limited is under incorporation
pending finalization of Venture Capital Rules by the SECP.
PakVencap.com is also actively participating in
the ITCN ASIA 2001, an international IT Exhibition and
Conference being held in Pakistan from 24-26 March, 2001 and is also
putting-up a stall at the exhibition. ITCN ASIA 2001 would be
the biggest-ever International IT Exhibition and Conference to
be held in Pakistan and is designed to be one-stop meeting place for
trade matching of the global and the regional IT players with
decision makers from business and government sector.
Mr. Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, Managing Director, Pak
Libya is the Chairman of the Information Technology
Sub-Committee of Pakistan Banks Association. The
Sub-Committee is presently working on a number of areas pertaining to
promotion of Information Technology in the Banking Sector.