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Dec 03 - 09, 2001

PBBF emerging challenges

The Pakistan - Belgium Business Forum (PBBF) in association with Pakistan Italy Business Forum (PIBF) and Pakistan German Business Forum (PGBF) recently organized a talk on PAKISTAN - EMERGING CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES at Karachi Marriott Hotel.

The speakers were Mr. Aziz Memon, Chairman, Kings Group of Companies, Mr. Sultan Ahmed, Contributing Editor, DAWN and Mr. Mahdi Masud, Ambassador (Retired). The aim of the talk was to derive a clearer understanding of Pakistan's prospects in the post September 11th world by bringing together the expertise of three different speakers, each with a unique forte viz commerce, economics and diplomacy.

Mr. Aziz Memon informed the audience of the recent negotiations with the United States and European Union for greater market access and clarified that it was not restricted to textile products only but also to Information Technology, Leather Goods, etc. He opined that the prospects for Pakistan's exports to Western markets were bright but cautioned that Pakistani manufacturers would have to invest a lot and play by WTO rules to avail there benefits.

Mr. Sultan Ahmed explained that the substantial pledges of aid and assistance would still need structural reforms of our economy and some Western Governments would even expect matching investment by the Pakistani Government. He stated that the advantages for Pakistan would be of a medium term nature and the fiscal space gained would have to be utilised judiciously in order to have any impact. He also cautioned that continuation of the current favourable Western dispensation towards Pakistan would depend upon our future handing of the Kashmir issue.

Mr. Mahdi Masud opined that the decision by the Pakistan government to join the international coalition against terrorism was justified both on grounds of principles and national interests. The wheel of global events presented Pakistan with an unexpected opportunity of ending its near isolation in the international community and of significantly improving its economic prospects through lifting of sanctions and new aid commitments.

He went on to say it is unlikely that the Western powers would turn their backs on the economic pledges made which Pakistan must avail to embark on the path of economic and social development and good governance.

The event was well attended by local and foreign businessmen and diplomats including Mr. Razak H.M. Bengali, President, Pakistan German Business Forum, Mr. Saeed Ahmad, President, Pakistan Italy Business Forum, Mr. Giorgio Biscari, Deputy Chief of Mission of Consulate General of Italy along with its Trade Commissioner Dr.Emilio De Matteis and Commercial Attache Mr.Ugo Falciola.

In keeping with the occasion of Belgian's King's Day a commemorative cake was cut jointly by Mr. Mahdi Masud, Former Pakistani Ambassador to Belgium, Mr. Mohammed A Rajpar, President, Pakistan - Belgium Business Forum and Mr. Takreem ul Haque, Hon. Vice Consul of Belgium in Karachi.

Xenith PR goes online

Xenith Public Relations (Pvt.) Ltd., announces the launch of its official website www.xenithpr.com.

The comprehensive website contains various categories that include what Public Relations is all about; Communications Counseling, Government Relations, Technology Promotions, Online Application Center, etc.

The website also provides details of the unrivaled Media Training Service offered by Xenith PR which includes training of CEOs and top tier management on how to be an effective spokespersons for their organizations.

Karachi Sheraton Appoints New Director Of Food & Beverage

Mr. Vincent Rodrigues has recently been appointed as the new Director of Food & Beverage at the Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers and will now be directly responsible for maintaining the efficient service of Food & Beverages in Karachi Sheraton's upscale Gourmet Shop and its popular restaurants, namely Spices, La Mamma, Al-Bustan, The Pakistani and Fanoos. In his capacity as the Director of Food & Beverage, Mr. Rodrigues will be overseeing all the hotel's sought after catering services and be responsible for the smooth operations and communications between the restaurants, banquet operations and outside catering.

Zia Ul Qadir, Country Sales Manager-Gerry's Softlogic (Pvt) Ltd., Distributor of Dell Computers in Pakistan.

After acquiring basic academic education from St. Patrick's School, Karachi Zia Ul Qadir graduated in Electrical Engineering in 1965. He joined IBM Pakistan in 1966 in the Service Bureau Operations. He lead a team of Systems Analyst / Programmer on 1401 Computer System, providing computerized data processing services to customers.

During his tenure of 33l/2 years with IBM initially Zia Ul Qadir worked as Marketing Executive. For achieving the yearly sales quota he was awarded by IBM 14 x 100% Clubs and a Golden Circle. Besides, he held Management positions as Personal & Communications Manager, Programs Manager & Business Partner Manager and Direct Marketing Manager.

In 1998 Zia opted for Golden Handshake offer from IBM and retired on June 30, 1999. On July 01, 1999 he joined Gerry's Softlogic - The Dell Distributor for Asia Pacific in Pakistan.

Zia Ul Qadir organized, inducted and trained the Sales teams in Gerry's Softlogic with Sales & Support offices in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. Today Gerry's Softlogic is the leading Dell Distributor in Asia Pacific region and has won the Dell's Sales Trophy for the year ending June 2001.

PFBA SEMINAR

Pakistan France Business Alliance (PFBA), sole representative forum of eminent Pakistani businessmen engaged in promoting bilateral economic relations between France and Pakistan, organized a seminar on "Post September 11 Scenario Repercussions On Pakistan's Economy" with Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Finance, Planning and Development, Government of Sindh, as the chief guest and keynote speaker and Mr. Gilles Bonnaud, Consul General of France in Karachi as the guest of honour.

Mr. Naveed A. Khan, President PFBA also the Honorary Consul General of Iceland in Karachi and Chairman Delta Shipping delivered the welcome address, introduced the distinguished speaker, and highlighted the aims, activities and performance of the PFBA during the last eleven years.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in his keynote address delved deeply into the negative impact of the September 11 attack on Pakistan's fragile economy. In this regard, he underlined the decline in exports, expected shortfall in revenue collection, sharp rise in the cost of doing business in Pakistan due to war risk insurance and the sagging confidence of foreign and domestic investors. He lauded the efforts of the international community and the international monetary institutions who were striving hard to offset the negative effects by granting substantial financial aid and rescheduling existing loans. However, he said, the daunting challenges our economy faced could only be met by putting our act together. Pakistan was one of the biggest recipient of foreign aid but due to mismanagement in the past we were unable to reinvigorate our economy. To jumpstart the economy, he recommended adequate investments in our huge reservoir of human resources, speedy privatization, ability to manufacture quality goods and marketing them effectively, fair treatment to investors who had already reposed trust in Pakistan. Above all, he emphasized the need of good governance of the economy. According to him all these confidence building measures would motivate foreign and local entrepreneurs to invest massively in Pakistan and rejuvenate our economy.

Suzuki Motorcycles

Suzuki Motorcycles Pakistan Limited has successfully launched new "SD110 Flash" 4-stroke 110cc Motorcycle. This 110cc motorcycle is the first of its kind designed after careful considerations of engine performance, sleek design and maximum fuel efficiency.

Suzuki SD110 Flash is a highly fuel-efficient motorcycle with maximum torque and power than any other 4-stroke motorcycle available in Pakistan. The distinct features of SD110 Flash are totally new and have given this motorcycle a sporty look. The accessories fitted onto the new SD110 Flash are Aluminum alloy wheels, Front disk brake, Front sporty telescopic shock absorbers and Head lamp cowling.

HBL INAUGURATES CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT

The management of Habib Bank Limited announced the setting up of a Central Processing Unit (CPU) at its Foreign Exchange Branch, Karachi. The Unit's objective is to enhance and improve service to our valued customers, create a center of excellence and benefit from economies of scale.

In the initial phase processing of "Foreign Trade Business" has been centralized at CPU and presently it is handling advising of Export Letter of Credit and processing of Import Business.

Export Letters of Credits are being advised to exporters within 48 hours, anywhere in Pakistan. This represents a marked improvement in this service to exporters and the Management of the Bank feels that this should have a beneficial impact on processing of export orders.

Similarly, applications for Import Letters of Credit on receipt at branches are transmitted electronically to the CPU on the same day. The CPU establishes the Letters of Credit and advises by SWIFT the same day to the Bank overseas.

Habib Bank's over 100 branches in Pakistan are licensed to deal in foreign exchange transaction i.e. Imports, Exports, Foreign Remittances and Guarantees etc.

The CPU has been equipped with the latest equipment and software with online connectivity to the designated branches throughout the country. The staff in the CPU is specialized in processing foreign trade business and is providing cost of effective and efficient service to client.

In the next phase we intend to centralize Guarantees and Global Test Keys at CPU and this process will continue as technology enables us to take on more services.

President Habib Bank Limited Zakir Mahmood inaugurating Central Processing Unit at Foreign Exchange Branch on November 26, 2001

PSO announces 4th consecutive huge reduction in fuel oil price

PSO has once again announced a huge reduction in the selling price of its products, High Sulphur Furnace Oil (HSFO) and Low Sulphur Furnace Oil (LSFO), being supplied ex-Zulfiqarabad Oil Terminal and Keamari Terminal with effect from December 1, 2001.

The selling price of HSFO will now be Rs. 9,057 per metric ton, which is Rs 712 per metric ton less than its previous selling price of Rs. 9,769 per metric ton. In terms of percentage, this is a decrease of 7.3%.

The selling price of LSFO is being reduced from Rs. 11,369 per metric ton to Rs. 10,703 per metric ton. This is a decrease of Rs. 666 per metric ton.

In terms of percentage, the selling price of LSFO has been reduced by 5.9 per cent. These reductions have been possible due to a decrease in the Fuel Oil prices in the Arabian Gulf from where this product is being procured and downward revision in the Rupee/Dollar parity. PSO has very diligently passed on the benefit to its customers. It may be recalled that this is the 4th consecutive huge reduction in the selling price of HSFO/LSFO. The total reduction in the price of HSFO since October 1, 2001, is Rs. 3,374 per metric ton, which is 27.1% and that in LSFO is Rs. 4,281 per metric ton, which is 28.6%.

MCB launches Islamic banking

Muslim Commercial Bank Limited Corporate & Islamic Banking Group, commenced its Islamic Banking Operations by signing a Morabaha Facility Agreement with M/s. Usman Enterprises who are engaged in Ship-breaking business. The Morabaha Facility was extended subsequent to opening of Sight Letter of Credit for import of a 57,376 Metric Tons Vessel, namely "AURIGA", beached at Gaddani.

The entire transaction which includes the opening of L/C is Sharia Compliant and duly approved by the Sharia Advisors. This transaction will serve as an initial step towards the bank's vision of serving those clientele, who intend to avail Islamic Banking facilities. MCB is focusing on development of Islamic Banking Products as an alternative option to be made available to its clients. This is on the pattern of Islamic Banking Model in Malaysia where Islamic Banking Facilities are available alongwith conventional banking facilities. MCB established its Islamic Banking Group in the year 2000. This group has been working on the development of various Islamic products and its efforts have now resulted in this substantial Islamic transaction.

The Morabaha Agreement was signed at MCB Corporate & Islamic Banking Group's office at Karachi, in the presence of Mr. Mohammad Aftab Manzoor, President MCB, by Mr. Muhammad Shoaib Qureshi, Head of Corporate & Islamic Banking Group MCB and Mr Muhammad Ikhlaq, Partner Usman Enterprises. Also present were Haji Mohammad Farooq, Mr. Masood Pervez of Usman Enterprises, Dr. Muhammad Zubair Usmani, Sharia Advisor and other senior team members of MCB.