July 12 - 18, 2004

 

NIT DECLARES HIGHEST EVER DIVIDEND

National Investment Trust, the largest open end mutual fund of the country, has declared a dividend of Rs. 2.55 per unit for the year ended June 30, 2004 which is highest ever dividend in the 42 year history of the Trust. This dividend will involve a huge total payout of over Rs. 4,000 million among its unit holders. The Board of Directors approved this dividend after reviewing the financial results of the Trust for the year 2003-04. Total return on NIT units for the year 2003-04 comes to about 60.6% that comprises 12.4% of dividend yield (on NAV at the beginning of the year) and 48.2% of appreciation in NAV per unit.
National Investment Trust has once again outperformed its benchmark of KSE-100 by a healthy margin of 5.44% during the year where its NAV increased by 60.6% against 55.2% increase in

 

 

KSE-100 index. This shows the professional commitment of its management due to which NIT was in position to provide superior returns to its unit holders for the last three years in a row.

As a result of its concerted marketing efforts NIT recorded a life time high sale of its units at Rs. 11,757 million for the year 2003-04 that resulted into a positive sales of Rs.2,100 million as compared to a negative sales of Rs. 901 million during the last year that depicts the increasingly growing confidence of its investors. A record amount of NIT units worth Rs 9,657 million were redeemed during the year but the system and procedures that had been strengthened at NIT during the last few years, enabled it to meet all such redemption to the utmost satisfaction of its investors that went a long way in further enhancing the confidence of its unit holders/investors.

The net income of the fund (excluding unrealized gains) increased significantly by 42% to Rs. 4,233 million against Rs. 2,981 million earned during the last financial year of 2002-03. NIT has also increased its stock market operations to a great extent during the previous three years. NIT traded a record high shares of worth Rs. 12,296 million during the year under review. This enhanced activity also provided needed support to stock market. As a result of its increased trading activities and active participation in the stock market, capital gains realized during this period amounted to Rs. 1,939 million that are highest during the last 8 years and are remarkably higher by higher by 99.5% compared to Rs. 972 million of last year.

QARSHI TO PROMOTE NATURAL MEDICINE

Qarshi Industries (Pvt) Limited reiterated its commitment to promote the usage of natural medicine in Pakistan through Tibb and Tabeeb, at the First Hakeems' Convention 2004 held in Karachi.

The theme of the convention was "Bringing Back the Glory of Tibb and Tabeeb with Qarshi" and was attended by more than 250 prominent hakeems from all over the city. This was the first time that such an occasion had been held in Karachi.

Natural medicine is made from plants and herbs, is an age-old practice and has proven beyond any doubt, that its proper and sustained application can cure any illness or disease. Before the introduction of allopathic medicines, natural or herb based medicines had always been the cure-of-choice, without any side effects and with a very high chance of removing aliments from their roots.

Mr. Nouman Ahmed Usmani, National Sales Manager, Consumer Products Division, while inaugurating the convention said, "Qarshi Industries is committed to the promotion of natural medicine, and to this effect we invite practitioners of natural medicine to interact with our highly qualified research and development team for the growth of this widely accepted method of medical practice for the benefit of the people of Pakistan."

ROLE OF FAMILY PHYSICIANS IN HEALTH CARE

Throughout the world, governments have an interest in the health of their people. At the same time, whatever their level of resources and development, all governments recognize that healthcare costs must be constrained and they have to seek ways of ensuring best possible health gain for each unit of health expenditure. This becomes all the more important in countries like Pakistan where resources are scarce and hence service priorities must be narrowly focused.

 

 

Globally over-specialization of physicians has fragmented and created barriers to the provision of essential care to individuals. Health systems need physicians trained to meet a broad range of community health needs. This makes the role of physician integral to an efficient health care delivery system. Many developing countries have curtailed their high mortality rates just by focusing on the component of health care delivery.

Family physicians doctors able to take care of whole families. These individuals trained in the area of family medicine, adult, pediatric medicine and women's healthcare treat 90 percent of a family's medical needs. Family physicians ensure delivery of comprehensive, continuous, coordinated and personalized healthcare.

Statistics indicate that in Pakistan, the demand for family practitioners is maximal for treatment of illnesses of short duration i.e. 3 days whereas in case of illnesses with duration longer than 3 days, specialists are mainly consulted. Keeping in view the fact that diseases such as diarrhea/dysentery, respiratory tract infections, tuberculosis, typhoid, malaria etc. (which can effectively be treated by family physicians) are amongst the most common causes of deaths in Pakistan, the role of these practitioners becomes all the more profound.

Specialist services, both diagnostic and therapeutic in comparison with those of primary care physicians are more expensive. They are more effective only when the specialist's expertise is appropriate to the patient's needs and when the patient presents at the right point in the natural history of his or her disease.

Self-referral by patients, unaided by a primary care provider (Family practitioners) is thus often ineffective for it may occur too early in the course of the illness or the initial choice of specialist may be inappropriate requiring further referral. Access to specialists should in general be through referral by primary care providers only. Since the referral decision is fairly technical, the better trained the primary care provider, the better the initial care provided and the more efficient the referral undertaken.

However, until and unless health systems invest in maximally trained primary care providers, who can efficiently and comprehensively deal with the patients' needs, patients shall continue to self refer, thus overloading secondary and tertiary care facilities with problems that can easily be handled cost efficiently at the primary care level. At present in Pakistan very few family practitioners have the requisite training and postgraduate diploma in family medicine. Lack of postgraduate training facilities in family medicine being the most probable cause. Educational bodies in Pakistan should take upon themselves the responsibility of creating better opportunities for postgraduate training in family medicine, thereby ensuring access to better quality, cost-efficient healthcare. Allianz EFU Health Insurance is the only health insurer in Pakistan that offers a network of nearly 100 carefully selected postgraduate family practitioners to its insured members.

DIVIDEND DECLARATION PAKISTAN INCOME FUND (PIF)

Pakistan Income Fund, managed by Arif Habib Investments, has declared bonus dividend at the rate of 9% (Rs 4.50 per unit on face value of Rs 50) for the year ended June 2004. PIF is the country's first and largest fixed income open-end fund. The company's equity fund, Pakistan Stock Market Fund has already announced 60% (Rs 30 per unit on face value of Rs 50) bonus dividend last Saturday.

At the close of financial year 2003-04, PSM and PIF stand as best performing funds on total return basis in their respective categories.

PIF earned a total distributable income of Rs. 284 million (Rs. 4.55 per unit). Out of this, the fund will be distributing Rs. 281 million, which amounts to Rs. 4.50 per unit. The fund has grown from Rs.1,501 million last year to Rs. 3,400 million by June 30, 2004. The Net Asset Value has increased by 7.47% (Rs. 3.80 per unit) to Rs 54.53 from Rs. 50.73 a year ago. An investor holding 100 units as of June 30, 2004 would get 8.99 additional units at the ex-bonus repurchase price of Rs. 50.03 per unit.

 

 

2003-4 has been a good year for fund managers in Pakistan. Riding on a robust stock market, equity and balanced funds have provided their investors incomparable returns. However, it was not the market alone; credit should be given to fund managers as equity funds have been able to out perform the market. In the new interest rate scenario fixed income funds have also provided an attractive alternative to investors who are more concerned with capital protection. These funds have managed to out perform bank deposits and National Saving Schemes on a net-of-tax basis. Most fixed income fund managers have performed well under the circumstances. Arif Habib Investments, however, has achieved the unique distinction of managing the best performing funds of the year in both fixed income and equity categories. The PSM and PIF have been the best performing funds in their respective categories.

DHL PAKISTAN LAUNCHES EXPRESS PALLET

DHL, the world's leading express and logistics company, officially announced the launch of a new innovative business solution in Pakistan. The Express Pallet a packaging and transport solution specifically designed to match the customer's real time distribution systems as well as packaging configuration that provides durability, convenience and flexibility, all in one box.

The Express Pallet box has been designed in accordance with world-class packaging standards, in consultation with various industries of their stringent requirements and diverse transport needs, having Pakistan's exporters in mind, such as the producers of Textile, Automotive, High Technology, Sports and Surgical equipments.

Fashion Knit Industries, one of Pakistan's leading textile exporters, was DHL's first customers in Pakistan that used the Express Pallet product. Present at the occasion of the lift of the initial Express Pallet shipment leaving Pakistan was Mr. Farhan Saya, Director at Fashion Knit Industries. Mr. Saya emphasized that DHL's new packaging and transport solution will benefit exporters in general and the Textile and Fashion industry in particular as it caters to heavy weight shipments and he expressed that the packaging of the same is highly durable. DHL Pakistan's senior marketing and sales representatives, also present at this event, pointed out that DHL envisions higher export volumes from Pakistan with the forthcoming entry into the fold of WTO countries. To support this, DHL saw the need for and the potential of this special palletized product to supplement the Pakistani exporters.

Made of sturdy reinforced cardboard material, the Express Pallet has perforated slides that can be folded to create compartments that fit shipment volumes weighing 50kg, 75kg, and 100kg. Each box is built to withstand 300kg. This weather-resistant box is also palletized to allow for easier handling by forklift. It presents customers with a tangible product that clearly shows DHL's resolve to meet customers' needs in the heavier weight bracket.

DHL Express is the first and currently the only air express provider in Pakistan that is giving customers the option of sending heavier and bulkier goods in the air express industry by offering this special palletized product. DHL Pakistan stressed that its all-inclusive door-to-door price for the Express Pallet covers packaging, pick up, documentation, carriage, customs clearance and delivery to the customer's door. The Express Pallet is price competitive with flat rates offered to all major international destinations.

With annual revenues of nearly 22 billion euro in 2003, DHL is the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry, specialising in providing innovative and customised solutions from a single source.

DHL offers expertise in express, air and ocean freight, overland transport and logistics solutions, combined with worldwide coverage and an in-depth understanding of local markets. DHL's international network links more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. Over 160,000 employees are dedicated to providing fast and reliable services that exceed customers' expectations.

DHL is 100% owned by Deutsche Post World Net.

PICIC SELECTS OPEN STANDARDS BASED CALL CENTER BY ZRG

With an aggressive strategy of penetrating into the new markets, PICIC is introducing new and exciting financial products and services. In order to entertain these inquiries through a proper call center, PICIC has selected ZRG for providing a full service and flexible call center solution. The solution can readily handle calls of customer calling on the advertised toll free 0800-55550 and can be scaled to support future products.

PICIC evaluated all the available solutions in a straight manner and after detailed assessment PICIC selected ZRG call center solution that meets all the criteria including proven performance, open standards, wide client base, flexibility and cost effectiveness.

ZRG International (Pvt) Ltd (www.zrg.com) is a leading call center solution provider in Pakistan that has been providing call center solutions since 1994. ZRG clients include 10 leading banks, 3 major cellular companies, the largest oil marketing company and largest gas company of Pakistan.