HUBCO — A SHINING EXAMPLE OF GOOD CORPORATE CITIZENRY
Dr. S.M. Alam
Feb 24 - Mar 02, 2003
Over the past few decades, there has been a fundamental change in the relationship between corporate entities and their customers. Whether the entity is a producer of goods or a supplier of services, its' role in the marketplace has expanded to well beyond merely manufacturing a good quality product or delivering a high standard of service. This is partly due to the increased competition between the commercial companies themselves that requires each to outdo the other in terms of building a positive image in the eyes of the customer.
Another perhaps more important reason has been the immense growth in the flow of information globally. The consumer today is highly well-informed. He/she is not easily swayed anymore by alluring advertising or sales promotion gimmicks that are now viewed with skepticism and indeed with suspicion. Therefore at the end of the day it is the perceived image of the company that determines how successful it is in the marketplace or at the simplest level, what people think about it. To this end companies get involved in a diverse range of activities to improve their public image. However, more often than not, the activities undertaken have a clear marketing or commercial angle that the target audience does not fail to see. Thus while some image building may be achieved, it is obvious that the motives are not entirely altruistic.
HUBCO's Social Action Programme (SAP) on the other hand, is a singular example of a company caring for the local community without any consideration of a possible commercial gain. HUBCO's only product — electricity — has one single buyer in the whole country. That is WAPDA. As such its SAP is not aimed at influencing the general public to buy its product. In this light the SAP must be seen as a selfless endeavour to benefit the local community and as such it is a shining example for others to emulate.
The HUBCO's SAP has been in place for several years now on a continuous basis. It concentrates on health, education and the environment. The beneficiaries are the villages in Hub, Gadani, Lasbela and the nearby Goths. The SAP is designed and executed to ensure that it is the proverbial common man that actually benefits. People who do not have resources of their own to meet even their basic health and education needs.
During the last year the health side of the SAP has seen various different activities taking place. A major activity was the holding of a three-day free eye camp at Gadani, in which International Power also participated. This Eye Camp turned out to be a real blessing for a large number of local people suffering from various eye ailments. During the three days camp, a record 1,318 OPD cases were handled and 123 operations for cataract removal and implant of Intra Ocular Lenses (IOL) were performed. HUBCO's Operations Director at that time, Paul Chapman, along with Union Council Nazim, Gadani, Abdul Hameed Baloch inaugurated the free eye camp. HUBCO and IPR also arranged free transport in the Gadani area to bring people to the eye camp, as it was felt that many people suffering from eye ailments would not be able to visit the camp on their own.
On the occasion, Mr. Abdul Hameed Baloch expressed his gratitude to HUBCO and IPR for undertaking the free social welfare service. He appreciated HUBCO's concern for the deprived people of the area who have no access to such medical facilities and hoped that HUBCO will continue to carry out such services in the future also.
Another health related activity under the SAP was the donation by HUBCO recently of a large quantity of medicines for the hospitals and dispensaries of Gadani and surrounding areas. Apart from this, Mobile Medical Units of IPR are working in 25 villages and offering free medical facilities to more than 3,000 people.
HUBCO also provided Hepatitis B vaccine to the local people. Arrangement of vaccination for Hepatitis B was also made through the Mobile Medical Units and through the local hospitals and dispensaries.
A very major contribution in the health sector was the donation by HUBCO of Laser Photo Coagulator to the Layton Rehmatula Benevolent Trust (LRBT) Eye Hospital in Quetta. The then Minister of Health of Balochistan, Agha Abdul Zahir Baloch and the Chief Executive of HUBCO, Mr. Vince Harris jointly inaugurated the Laser Photo Coagulator Machine. Also present on the occasion were the Chairman LRBT, Khawaja Zafar Hasan, the Managing Trustee LRBT, Zain A. Alavi and Sardar Yusuf Khan, Advisor to HUBCO on Corporate Affairs.
This high-tech machine costing around Rs.2.3 million is an incomparable gift for the people of Balochistan who till now had to travel to Karachi or Lahore for treatment. Such treatment in a private hospital using laser technology costs the patient up to Rs. 40,000 in addition to the money and effort spent in traveling to Karachi or Lahore.
In the field of education the services rendered by HUBCO include the construction of new school buildings, construction of additional rooms in the old school buildings, installation of water coolers for drinking water, providing of textbooks and uniforms and arranging free transport facility to the students of nearby villages.
HUBCO also constructed a new school building in Goth Ibrahim Zore. This 3-room school building was to replace the old one, which had become unsafe for the students. Sub-Divisional Education Officer, Gul Muhammad Lasi had requested for the construction of the new school building under the HUBCO Social Action Programme, as the Provincial Education Department could not undertake the construction itself owing to lack of funds.
Now the education initiative under the SAP has been given a major boost with an agreement between HUBCO, IPGD (International Power Global Development) and The Citizens Foundation (TCF) to set up a full fledged school in Tehsil Hub, Lasbela Balochistan to meet the basic educational needs of the children. This school is to be called "The TCF School, HUBCO/IPGD Campus".
Speaking on the occasion of the recent signing ceremony Mr. Vince Harris, CEO HUBCO, said, "This project is another step forward in the company's commitment to its social welfare and support program. As a caring and committed corporate citizen, the Hub Power Company believes that education is the single most important solution to many problems in the country and thus takes a proactive part in providing opportunities wherever possible. IPGD too has in place a Social Action Programme with particular emphasis on education".
Under the agreement, this primary & secondary school on four acres of land will be built with funds provided by IPGD. Thereafter the running costs will be borne by HUBCO. The school shall have a capacity for 500 students and shall consist of a pre-primary section, a primary section from Kindergarten to Class Five and two Secondary Sections (one each for boys and for girls) from Class Six to Ten. The first session of the Primary Section will start from April 2004 and the session for the secondary section will commence from April 2005. The school will be registered with and follow the guidelines of the Balochistan Textbook Board.
Speaking of this new undertaking, HUBCO's Corporate Affairs Advisor, Sardar Yusuf said, "The school is part of our Social Action Programme under which HUBCO and IPGD support the education and health needs in the Hub area. It was our desire for a long time to build a school in Hub and this is now becoming a reality. HUBCO and IPGD especially would like to thank the local administration, the notables and the people of Lasbela for all their support for this project".
In the field of environment also HUBCO performs exemplary efficiency. Building on the success of previous years, the IPR-HUB Power Station received RoSPA commendation in the Electricity Awards 2002 for occupational safety. The Institute of Engineers Pakistan had arranged a 2nd National Seminar on Occupational Health, Safety, Environment and Fire Control. IPR nominated staff Mr. Al Fateen read a paper. For the purpose of promoting and enhancing the awareness on Health and Safety amongst the employees and contractors, a safety poster competition 2002 was held and prizes were distributed to the winners and the runners-up. A total of 306 entries were received from 260 participants in two different categories, Health and Safety at Work.
HUBCO is very popular amongst the local people of the surrounding villages due to its aforementioned activities in health, education and environment fields. The people also appreciate HUBCO for electrifying the nearby villages of Hub and Lasbela and for providing support in various ways to sporting events for the youth of the area.