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Feb 04 - 10, 2002

28th Convocation of Preston University

The President of the Small and Medium Enterprise Bank (SMEB), Mr. Qaiser H. Naseem, said that the present government is encouraging private sector investment in social infrastructure, such as education. He said this while addressing the graduating students at the 28th convocation of Preston University held at a local hotel in Islamabad.

The President SME Bank eulogized the role played by Preston in promoting the cause of higher education in the country. He said Preston's contribution towards higher education in Pakistan is indeed laudable and must be acknowledged by every segment of the society. He said Preston's nineteen years of dedicated service to this nation is commendable. Very few private institutions of higher learning in the country has been able to attain the position that Preston has attained in the comity of private institutions of higher learning, mainly due to its sustained and untiring efforts to provide quality education to the future leaders of this country, he said. He expressed the hope that Preston University will continue to serve the nation, with the same zeal and dedication as it has been all these years, to meet the manpower requirements specially in newly emerging fields such as information technology.

He heartily congratulated the graduating students, particularly the gold medal winners, on accomplishing a glorious achievement in their educational career. Addressing them, he said "the credit goes to you for your hard work and your efforts that you must have put in to see this momentous day in your life". He also lauded the efforts of the professors and instructors of Preston University who, he said, have unquestionably played a pivotal role in this regard.

Earlier, in his welcome address Dr. Abdul Basit, President Preston University extended the gratitude of the management, faculty and staff of the university to Mr. Qaiser H. Naseem, President of the SME Bank for gracing the 28th Convocation Preston as the chief guest, in spite of his heavy official preoccupations.

Dr. Basit also briefly talked about the achievements of Preston and unfolded the institution's future development plans. He informed the distinguished gathering about the charter that was conferred on the Preston Institute of Management, Science and Technology (PIMSAT), by the Government of Sindh in August 2001. In view of this charter, the University Grants Commission has granted recognition to PIMSAT and listed it in UGC's consolidated list of chartered and recognized degree awarding universities and institutes of Pakistan.

Charity Bake Sales at IBA

Charity Bake Sales at Institute of Business Administration (City Campus) was conducted by "Community Works Society" (CWS) of Executive Student Forum. The income from this event is donated to two charity organizations (One of them is "Eye Care Clinic"). This event was proved to be a very successful when the whole campus was turned to purchase the items of charity, to support this noble cause. Saneeah Farid (Secretary CWS) and Rasha Tariq (Asst. Secretary) were the organizers of this event.

This proved that students of IBA are not only good in their academics but also in the "Extra Curricular Activities", which are the permanent part of life of the students of IBA. This event of charity bake sales is conducted regularly in each semester.

Sui Southern Gas Company Limited

The Managing Director, Sui Southern Gas Company Limited (SSGC) Mukhtar Ahmed has assured industrialists that gas bills will be issued on a Heating Value Basis from February 2002, for the gas consumed in the month of January 2002. He was addressing members of the Executive Committee of SITE Association of Industry on the invitation of its Chairman, Dr. Arshad Vohra. he stated that billing on the basis of heating value was an equitable arrangement announced by the Government of Pakistan, due to the variations in the heating values of gases now becoming available from the various gas fields.

Mukhtar Ahmed said that SSGC is operating in a transparent and fair manner and had nothing to hide. He explained that the BTU content of gas keeps on varying due to the depletion of old fields and connection of fields to the gas transmission network. Recently, in March 2001, the induction of gas from the Zamzama gas field had reduced the BTU content at certain points on the left bank system, while on the right bank system the new fields inducted had a higher BTU content. Revision of gas prices on BTU basis retroactively was, however, not a practical proposition since it would require back-dated increases in gas prices in certain areas and reduction in certain other areas. Further, there was no legal basis for such price adjustments. He informed the members of SITE Association that SSGC had installed heating value measuring instruments at various points on its distribution network. The members were invited to witness the implementation of the new system of BTU measurement and gas billing.

Mukhtar Ahmed said that the increase in the pretax profit of the Company during the financial year ended 30th June 2001 was not due gains from the supply of low quality gas from the Zamzama field. He clarified that financial charges had reduced substantially which is the main factor of increase in profit.

Peek Freans new Tiffin's re-launch

The House of Excellence for the past 33 years in manufacturing and marketing of quality biscuits has once again fulfilled its commitment of offering quality biscuits by re-launching Peek Freans Tiffin.

Peek Freans New Tiffin is very sweet and crunchy biscuit for any and every time. New Tiffin can be eaten alone and also used as a crunchy ingredient for cakes and ice creams.

Madraswala elected Chairman KBC

Mushtaq Ahmed Madraswala elected Chairman Karachi Branch Council (KBC) 2002, of the Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP) at a meeting held today.

Sayyid Mansoob Hasan and Muhammad Iqbal Lalani elected Vice Chairman and Secretary of KBC, respectively.

Euromoney: "Best Bank in Pakistan" award to Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd.

Euromoney Magazine award presentation Ceremony was held at a local hotel. Euromoney has awarded The "Euromoney Excellence Award to Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd., for being the Best Bank in Pakistan. The award was presented by Mr. Shaukat Aziz, Finance Minister of Pakistan to Mian Mohammad Mansha, Chairman, Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd.

'Challenges to Building Pakistan's Economy'

The regional conflicts have affected Pakistan's economy but gains are more than the losses. While many positive moves offers enormous potential, it is up to the nation to capitalize the opportunities. Unless the local entrepreneurs take the initiative, they should not expect any significant inflow of foreign direct investment.

To highlight the prospects and difficulties, a seminar was organized by the Public Relations Management in collaboration with the Pakistan Economic Forum. While Altaf M. Saleem, Minister for Privatization was the key note speaker other presenters were: Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, Mohammad Rajpar, Mahmood Gaffar, Jawaid Bokhari and Dr. Ahsan Khan.

Altaf Saleem's key note was brief. He preferred to talk more about his preferred topic of privatization. He reiterated that efforts were being made to ensure swift but transparent privatization of state-owned enterprises. However, one must keep in mind that after September 11, 2001 much have changed and the GoP has to move accordingly.

Zaigham Rizvi was of the opinion that before this incident Pakistan faced a situation and there was no visible way out. However, once Pakistan attained the status of front-line state things changed altogether. He was of the view that in the emerging economic equation between the US, China, India and Pakistan is yet to be established. Commitments towards Afghanistan offers ample opportunities to Pakistan but concerted efforts have to be made to capitalize the potential.

Mohammad Rajpar, belonging to shipping sector and taking the advantage of presence of the minister, highlighted the weaknesses of the present shipping policy. He was of the view that Pakistan must expand its flag carriers. Since the state-owned shipping line faces severe financial constraints, the impediments affecting the private sector should be removed at the earliest.

Earlier in his welcome address, Masood Zaidi, Chairman, Pakistan Economic Forum highlighted the fact rescheduling of Pakistan's external debt was not enough to take care of the problems facing the country due to synchronized recession.

Work remained normal at Export Directorate despite strike

Despite strike observed by Customs staff, work at the Collectorate of Customs (Export) remained normal. According to the information available working of 'Export Wing' at Port Qasim, East and West wharves and rebate groups was not affected. Duty drawback claims amounting to Rs 50 million were disbursed besides routine functions. During the strike period about 900 shipping bills were filed and processed at various export stations and no cargo remained unattended. All the export consignments were processed on priority basis to ensure timely shipments, particularly textile products falling under quota regime. This processing of textile consignments not only saved the country from huge losses but also helped exporters to meet their commitments.

Engro announces full year 2001 results

The Board of Directors of Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited met on January 30, 2002 to review the full year 2001 business results of the company.

The salient features of the company's audited results are as follows:

Full Year
2001 2000
Production (Thousand tons)
Engro Urea 790 808
Engro NPK 31 -
Revenue (Rupees million) 8,220 8,394
Net Income (Rupees million) 1,064 1,126
Earning per share (Rupees) 7.65 8.10

The Company's sales revenue declined due to supply limitation and demand shrinkage on account of drought conditions prevailing in the country. The Company held its urea market share of 20% due to strong sales in the fourth quarter. The production of Engro urea was down 2% from the previous best level of 808,000 tons achieved last year. The shortfall is due to equipment malfunction issues which were significantly smoothened towards the end of the year. The Company launched into NPK and Seeds businesses which were well received in the market.

The profit after tax of the Company is down 5.5% compared to 2000. The profit numbers were impacted by a number of favourable and unfavourable events which cumulatively resulted in the profit decline. Gains were made through margin improvements and increase in joint venture dividend income, but these were more than offset by the cost of GST absorption, loss of production and sales volume, high maintenance costs, and startup loss on the new NPK fertilizer and seed businesses. The Board of Directors have proposed a final dividend of Rs. 3.5 per share. This brings the cumulative cash dividend for the year to Rs. 7.50 per share, vs Rs. 7.00 per share declared for 2000.

The Board elected not to recommend the issuance of bonus shares versus the 15% bonus share announcement of last year. The Board expressed their disappointment at the recent levy of a 10% withholding tax on bonus shares. The Directors expressed their confidence and optimism in the emerging macro economic situation of the country and stated that the Company will continue to pursue its twin strategy of growing its core fertilizer business and seeking opportunities to diversify in business areas that are aligned with the fundamental strengths of the country.

Hubco, Wapda meet to strengthen ties

Testament to their commitment to improve and develop a sustainable working relationship with its only customer WAPDA, the management of the Hub Power Company Limited (HUBCO) paid an official visit to WAPDA House Lahore recently and met with a team of WAPDA officials headed by its Chairman, Lt. Gen. Zulfiqar Ali Khan.

The HUBCO team was headed by Vince Harris, Chief Executive, and Ashraf Tumbi, Director. The two companies reviewed progress since their signing of the Settlement Agreement in December 2000, and then mutually resolved all pending irritants.

Shortly after the meeting, the HUBCO Chief and Chairman WAPDA opined, "WAPDA and HUBCO have developed an excellent working relationship which is built on trust and confidence, and we now look forward to a stronger and healthier long term relationship in the future."

Standard Chartered launches off-site ATM at Karachi Sheraton

Standard Chatered launched an offsite ATM at Karachi Sheraton Hotel & Towers recently, making it the first international bank to install an ATM in the only internationally managed 5-star hotel in the country. The bank now has a total network of 16 ATMs, the largest amongst international banks in Pakistan, of which 4 are off-site machines.

Speaking at the ceremony, Abid Sattar, Head of Consumer Banking stated, "This marks yet another first for us in Pakistan. Our focus in 2002 is on bringing our customers technologically enhanced products and convenient value-added services amidst a friendly and comfortable environment. By increasing customer access points across the country, we aim to take the bank to our customers rather than bring them to us."