Mr. Mohammad Aftab Manzoor underlined MCB's
determination to be the market leader in technology-based platforms
and solutions in the banking industry in Pakistan. He said, "Over
the past few years, we have made major investments in building up our
ATM network and other technology-based systems and platforms. Now we
are seeing the results of these efforts." Mr. Ali Munir, Group
Head of Information Technology and Cash Management at MCB added that
MCB has been working towards providing the utility consumers a full
spectrum of innovative and easy-to-use payment mechanisms and SSGC is
a valued partner in realizing this goal.
Setting an example for other utility companies SSGC
has already launched several new initiatives for ease of payment for
customers, as well as efficient bill/payment processing through
application of multiple technologies and customer facilitation
initiatives, and this occasion marks yet another milestone achieved by
SSGC in that direction.
SSGC has assumed the lead in revising the utility
bill collection and processing system with of focus on customer
facilitation. The banks were given autonomy by the State Bank of
Pakistan and allowed to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the
utility companies for the revision of bill collection charges. It is
the vision of SSGC to provide efficient and cost-effective bill
payment mechanisms to its customers, preferably, implement services
facilities where no new/additional cost is included in the customer
bill and SSGC continues to absorb the current bill collection and
processing charge by the banks.
Under specific directives of SSGC's MD, MCB and
SSGC have extensively discussed the matter and formalized an action
plan based on new innovative approaches including franchised
arrangement for Kiosks, ATMs POS, Internet, Call Centres, Co-branded
cards etc. It has been agreed with MCB that they will use latest and
state-of-the-art technology to facilitate collection of utility bills
from SSGC's customers in economical and affordable rates thus reducing
burden/pressure on SSGC and its customers using IT based alternative
EBM INVESTS RS. 200M IN PLANT EXPANSION
English Biscuit Manufacturers (EBM), makers of the
popuIar Peek Freans brand, has undertaken a major investment of Rs.
200 million to acquire the latest biscuit manufacturing plant from
lmaforni, Italy for the expansion of their current facility.
The plant officially started production recently
after formal inauguration by Khawar M. Butt, Managing Director, EBM.
The plant offers the capability to produce a wide range of innovative
and value added products with uniform baking facility. Through
operations of the newly installed plant, the production capacity has
increased by 40 per cent to 21,600 MT per month.
Speaking at the occasion, Managing Director Khawar
Butt said, "The establishment of the fifth manufacturing line has
marked a very significant beginning for EBM as it is now fully geared
up with state-of-the-art technology to not only sustain market
leadership, but also compete successfully in the upcoming WTO regime.
We now possess the cutting edge to compete with any international
brand on quality and variety fronts."
ITIF ASIA 2004 PROVES MILESTONE FOR ENGINEERING
The International Trade and Industry Fair — ITIF
Asia 2004, exhibition and conference organized by Ministry of
Investment and Privatization in collaboration with Board of
Investment, Government of Pakistan and E-commerce Gateway Pte Ltd
Singapore on January 26-28, 2004, at the Karachi Expo Centre proved to
be a milestone for the engineering sector of Pakistan.
The Conference was aimed at providing an
opportunity of interaction between foreign investors, local vendors
and consumers to concentrate efforts to fully utilize the existing
growth opportunities in the engineering sector of Pakistan.
"Bold initiatives need to be taken and
reliance on yesterday's technology needs to end, to bring Pakistan on
the engineering map of the world" stated Mr. Imtiaz Rastgar,
Managing Director, Rastgar & Co. (Pvt.) Limited, while presenting
a paper on the "Challenges of the Engineering Industry of
Mr. Imtiaz Rastgar also highlighted areas of growth
and development for the engineering industry and the threats faced by
it, with regards to foreign competition. He further emphasized on the
importance of well defined strategies to enable the local industry to
enter the world market.
Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Federal Minister for
Investment and Privatization, was Chief Guest on the occasion. Other
prominent speakers at the Conference included H. E. Mr. Aqeel A. Al-Jassem,
Secretary General, Islamic Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dr.
Akram Sheikh, Chairman, Engineering Development Board, Dr. Agha
Ghazanfar Esq., Secretary, Board of Investment, Government of
Pakistan, and Mr. Liaquat Ali Jatoi, Federal Minister for Industries
and Petroleum, Government of Pakistan, who spoke on various topics on
the engineering industry.
"PAKISTAN WELL PREPARED FOR WTO"
The Government of Pakistan and UNDP have jointly
arranged a National Workshop on "WTO Agreements and Implications
for Pakistan". The workshop explored the issues faced by
developing countries as the world moves towards further trade
liberalization. Free international trade should benefit all involved
and poor countries need to ensure that their economies and populations
gain from the freer flow of goods and services envisaged by the WTO.
Minister of Commerce, Mr. Humayun Akthar said on
the occasion "there is a need for greater awareness in the
business community of Pakistan about the challenges and opportunities
of the WTO agreements". Pakistan is a founder member of WTO and
has been participating actively in all negotiations since the
beginning of WTO, nine years ago. The Minister said that Pakistan was
well prepared for the WTO and added that there needs to be consensus
on the agenda of the next round of negotiations which must not be
allowed to fail.
USA-PAKISTAN AGREE TO WORK TOGETHER FOR SUCCESS OF
THE DOHA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
The United States Trade Representative Mr. Robert
B. Zoellick arrived for a flying visit to Pakistan on 15th February to
meet the Commerce Minister, Mr. Humayun Akhter Khan. His visit to
Pakistan is part of a tour of ten important World Capitals that Mr.
Zoellick will cover in eight days. Prior to arriving in Islamabad he
met with Ministers in Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore. From Islamabad he
left for New Delhi for the next leg of his current tour.
Mr. Zoellick has the rank of a Cabinet Minister in
the US Government and is also the Chief Foreign Trade negotiator of
the USA. The US high powered delegation included Ambassador Linnet
Deily, Deputy USTR and Ambassador to the WTO, Ambassador Ashley Wills,
Assistant USTR for South Asia, Daniel Sullivan, Director for
International Trade, National Security Council, Dorothy Dwoskin,
Assistant USTR for WTO and multilateral Affairs, Richard Mills,
Assistant USTR for Public Affairs and Christine Davies, Special
Assistant to the USTR. The delegation in its meeting with the Commerce
Ministry was also assisted by the US; Charge d'Affairs William T.
Monroe and Economic Councillor Joel Reifman.
This is the first visit of a United States Trade
Representative to Pakistan since 1988. Mr. Zoellick's multi country
visit is a part of the efforts of the United States of America to get
the WTO, multilateral trade negotiations moving which had been stalled
since the fifth Ministerial Conference held in Cancun Mexico.
MOBILINK LAUNCHES ONE-STOP CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER
The Executive Vice President of Mobilink, Mr. Hamid
Farooq recently inaugurated a new Customer Service Center at Multan
arcade, Kacheri Road in Multan.
This is the first company-owned Customer Service
Center in the 'city of saints' in addition to the 4 franchise outlets
already operating and providing a wide range of customer-care services
to Mobilink's growing number of users.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Center, Mr.
Farooq said; "Mobilink is committed to improving its convenience
of services to customers at contact points throughout the country. All
counters at our Customer Service Centers will be giving One-Stop
service to our valued customers, i.e. a Mobilink customer will not
have to go to different counters for services."
Mobilink's new approach to better Customer Service
is being initiated through the opening of additional Customer Services
centers across Pakistan. There are 9 more centers planned during the
current year in Sialkot, Gujranwala, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Karachi and
Quetta, respectively. Besides the Multan center, Mobilink's new
Customer Service Center has already opened in Lahore.
There are currently eleven centers operational in
the country, which by the end of the second half of 2004 will increase
FIRST GRINDLAYS MODARABA
First Grindlays Modaraba has revised the rate on
its Certificates of Musharika with effect from 18th February 2004. The
revised rates applicable on varioius tenors are as follows: