May 31 - June 06, 2004

 

ISLAMABAD FLOUR MILLS CRITICAL OF WHEAT POLICY

A delegation of Islamabad Flour Mills Association called on Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and complained about the Punjab Government's wheat policy whereby the Government has banned inter-district movement of wheat stock. This has caused a serious shortage of Atta supply to the consumers in Islamabad - Rawalpindi areas.
The representatives of the Flour Mills have pointed out that both Islamabad and Rawalpindi cities are deficit areas and have been depending on the Food Department of Punjab to issue wheat permits to the Flour Mills. These permits have been discontinued. Also, the Flour Mills have been trying to purchase wheat directly from the farmers at prices higher than the prices offered by the Government, but these stocks are being held up by the Punjab Government during transit to their destinations.

 

 

It has also been brought to the notice of ICCI that the State Bank of Pakistan has issued instructions to the commercial banks to require the Flour Mills to provide 50 per cent cash margin before any loan is sanctioned. This is a reversal of the previous policy whereby the banks were providing loans against collateral or wheat stock held by the Millowners. The new directive of the State Bank has created a serious cash flow problem for the Millowners, several of whom are facing closure of their mills.

SCHEME FOR LONG-TERM FINANCING FOR THE EXPORT ORIENTED PROJECTS

Mr. M. Waqar Monnoo, Chairman APTMA has shown reservation on the success of new scheme of State Bank of Pakistan for Long Term Financing for the Export Oriented Projects (LTF-EOP), which has been aimed at SMEs to compete in the international market in WTO environment and in particular after removal of quota regime in 2005. Chairman APTMA stated that he does not deny the role of SMEs but it would have been more appropriate if export oriented Spinning and Weaving Units manufacturing value-added yarn and fabrics had also been encouraged to upgrade their capacities and facilities under the said scheme. He pointed out that spinning and weaving sector fetched a large chunk of export earnings valuing US $ 2.381 billions i.e. 32% of total textile exports of US $ 7.458 billions in 2002-2003. Mr. Monnoo held the view that export of yarn and fabrics are well poised to exceed the export target of current year, after meeting the domestic requirements.

On a clarification of Governor, State Bank of Pakistan that there is no upper limit in LTF-EOP scheme but spinning and weaving sector are barred from the scheme, Mr. Waqar Monnoo urged State Bank of Pakistan to leave this matter between the borrower and the bank and facilitate the spinning and weaving mills also to enable them to upgrade their machinery and manufacturing facilities under LTF-EOP scheme like SMEs.

BOP HONOURED

A Knowledge Week was recently held at Alhamra Arts Council organized by IBP to create awareness amongst the public at large about the activities of the institute and highlight the role of commercial banks. The stalls set up by the banks served to disseminate information about their products and services through banners, brochures, booklets and computer displays. These stalls were rated, interalia on the basis of thematic relevance, visual attraction and decorative finesse of the adornments as well as content of presentations. BOP's stall was adjudged the best. The warmth, courtesy ready and willing cooperation of the young, energetic and committed officers was acknowledged and lauded by all and sundry.

To recognize and appreciate the meritorious services rendered notably by Relationship Managers Mr. Muhammad Akbar & Muhammad Faizan Saeed Malik and officer Mr. Faisal Malik a simple ceremony was held at BOP Head office and the Managing Director commended their valuable contribution and awarded certificates.

BOP Best IBP Knowledge Week Stall winning team with MD BOP Mr. Hamesh Khan, GM Mr. Mehmood Sadiq Khan and Principal Staff Officer Mr. Naveed Baz Khan.

Mr. Khuram Rahat, Sales Manager for NCR Pakistan and Bangladesh, giving a presentation on "Customer Relationship Management" at the seminar held in QAU, Islamabad

IGATEX 2004

In it's thirty five (35) year history of Almurtaza Machinery Co. Ltd. (AMCL) has grown beyond stitching machines to knitting machines, dyeing machines, design systems, multi-head embroidery, sequin embroidery & quilting embroidery machines, laser engraving and laser cutting, machines, finishing machines, sand blasting machines, label weavers, spreaders, automatic and manual cutters, washing machines, needle detectors, to name a few.

AMCL has a passion for excellence and over the last three decades has worked hard at developing, and maintaining the image of a company that provides consistent quality in not only its products but its service as well. The long-standing personal relationships that AMCL has with the people in the industry, repeat business and the trust of the top brands in the textile world are proof enough of our commitment.

Aware of the imminent global challenges, the efforts of Almurtaza are concentrated towards doing business and serving customers with an international perspective. By participating in national and international exhibitions, AMCL is working hard at keeping up with technological innovations, enabling us to make a positive difference in the apparel and textile industry.

IGATEX Pakistan is the largest exhibition of its kind in this region and is growing every year. The 3rd IGATEX was held at the Karachi Expo Center from the 21st to 24th April. With 9 separate brands including Tajima, MECA, Investronica, Nagai Shing, Pegasus, Proel, Swegea, Singapore machinery, etc. on display and display booths in two separate halls covering over 2.20 sq meters, AMCL had arguably the largest presence at IGATEX 2004.

Apart from the immense interest in our company and all our brands, AMCL displayed for the first time in Pakistan Tajima 3-mm sequin embroidery machine (which was also the global launch for the machine). This twenty head embroidery machine is capable of attaching a 3mm sequin, created a well-deserved buzz when it was unveiled at IGATEX 2004.

 

 

The second display was of NECA multi-needle Quilting Ecording Machine. This 6-ton mega machine capable of quilting, cording, and attaching sequins in a single continuous operation, certainly overshadowed all other displays at the exhibition and generated a high level of intrigue amongst all visitors. This particular model was the first of its kind to be sold in Asia.

Thirdly, the revolutionary multi-purpose laser cutting and engraving machines were also a first for Pakistan market. This versatile machine can fade, etch or cut different materials from denim to leather. Along with the laser cutter, the Proel display was truly at the cutting edge of technology.

At IGATEX 2004 AMCL also displayed stitching machines, sand blasting machines, design systems and spot cleaning machines as well as represented brands such as Juki, Pegasus, Fukuhara, Shima Seiki, MRT, etc.

The hard work and dedication of the 60-member team of both national and international exhibitors paid off and the exposition was a massive success. Undeniably, Almurtaza's booths had a positive impact on all attendees of the exhibition. Once more, AMCL kept its promise of providing the textile industry with the necessary tools for giving that necessary technological edge.

ISLAMABAD CHAMBER SEEKS TAX EXEMPTION

The Islamabad Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has proposed to the government to exempt all imported inputs used in export items from payment of local levies and taxes.

The ICCI budget proposals for 2004-5, a copy of which was released last Monday, has also suggested to the government to reduce the general sales tax (GST) 10 percent on all products at both local and import stage.

According to the ICCI the exemption on inputs would make local products more competitive in the international markets. It was pointed out that in one province there were as many as 25 local taxes which was causing a lot of delays and agony to the exporters.

Duty on heavy melting scrap (HMS) by steel industries should not be more than 10 percent, it said adding that presently higher duty rate has minimized import of steel for local industry.

It is suggested that a new income tax law, with simplified provisions should replace the present Income Tax Act. Withholding tax against supply and import be rationalized particularly for industries using imported raw material for their products. At present 3.5 percent tax is levied on supplies and five percent tax on import, both of which should be reduced to 2.5 percent, ICCI proposed.

There was an urged need to streamline Wapda and to rationalize its tariff rates, because under the existing scenario Pakistan's exports would considerably decline and a number of industrial units would face closure of operation. The industrial and agricultural sectors of Pakistan's economy were faced with a grime situation. Production costs were continuing to rise and Pakistan was fast losing its competitive edge in the world market. Electricity tariff in marble industry at present was to high, making this industry non-competitive. This tariff should be reviewed and brought down to enable the industry to survive and market its products effectively.

The ICCI recommended to the government to consider establishing warehouses in collaboration with the private sector in selected countries/regions, such as the USA, the UK, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. This measure would result in boosting Pakistan's foreign trade.

UBL LAUNCHES CAR FINANCING

United Bank Ltd has officially launched its car-financing product in a media briefing. Speaking at the occasion, the newly joined President, Mr. Atif R. Bokhari, said, "UBL has been doing well since privatization as we posted a massive profit of Rs. 4.5 billion and have declared a dividend of 22.5% after a decade in 2003. We have hired the best talent in the country and recently launched two major products: Business Partner Account and UBL Wallet our ATM/Debit card. The response that we received has been great". Furthermore he added, "Now we are launching consumer banking and today is the launch of our first consumer asset product, UBL Drive, which is a car financing scheme".

Addressing the press, Bokhari gave his view that UBL is focusing on bringing the next level of consumer banking in Pakistan, emphasizing on its You First vision. "UBL Drive is the first such consumer product which changes the industry norms by providing innovations, options and flexibility unmatched so far by any other bank. This has been possible due to the investment made in state-of-the-art systems at UBL. There is a huge potential for auto loans. So far banks have been focusing on a few major cities only and there is a huge market that remains untapped. UBL plans to expand the market by its vast distribution network" Bokhari said.

Elaborating on its features, the Deputy CEO of UBL, M.A. Mannan said, "UBL Drive has been developed keeping in view the increased level of consumer awareness due to increased accessibility of information, and hence the demand for better products and services with options. UBL Drive is a first of its kind finance facility for the consumer, which truly captures the "ab chalay gi aap ki marzi" essence and the 'Where You Come First' vision".

"The PAYS (Pay As You Select) feature is a powerful tool for the consumer whereby the customer can design his/her own payment plan. They can either pay higher initially with installments reducing in subsequent years, or state with lower installments and increase them subsequently. In addition to low installments, UBL Drive allows the consumer to drive away in his/her own car by making a down-payment of just 10% one of the lowest down-payment options in the market" Mannan further added.

NEW CHAIRMAN OF PICIC COMMERCIAL BANK LIMITED

 

 

In a recently held meeting, the reconstituted Board of PICIC Commercial Bank has elected Mr. Manzurul Haq as Chairman.

Manzurul Haq, a graduate from Government College, Lahore, is a qualified Chartered Accountant from UK. He is also a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, has an MBA from the Cranfield Institute of Technology, UK and has attended the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School, U.S.A.

Manzurul Haq's initial business experience was in the field of consultancy, accounting and business education. From 1981 to 2002 he worked with the German Engineering Group KSB in various senior management positions. He was the Managing Director of KSB Pakistan from 1981 to 1997. During this period the Company won awards for management excellence and export performance and was a top performer on the stock exchange. Concurrently, for many years, he was a Director of the Asia Pacific Region covering countries from Turkey to China. From 1997 to 2002 he was the President of the Americas operation of KSB including both North and South America.

Manzurul Haq has been a member of many governmental committees and a delegate to international conferences. He has also been a consultant to the International Trade Centre, Geneva.

He has published many articles in various newspapers and journals in Pakistan and has lectured and given talks extensively in Pakistan and abroad. He is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Lahore University of Management Sciences and a Governor of the National Management Foundation.

He is also director in companies in the engineering, banking and software sectors.