LAHORE BUSINESS SCENE

LCCI team to woo European investors

AMANULLAH BASHAR
Aug 28 - Sep 03, 2006

A seven-member delegation of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) left for Sweden, Germany and France on a 14-day trip under the leadership of the former LCCI President Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman.

The delegation would hold meetings at Swedish Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Foreign Trade Section Berlin and Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The delegation would also hold meetings with Ambassador of Pakistan in Sweden Mr. Shaheen A. Gilani, Commercial Counselor, Embassy of Pakistan in Stockholm Mr Javed Akber, Ambassador of Pakistan in Germany Mr. Asif Ezdi and their counterparts in the three countries. The main objective of the visit is not only to attract foreign investment and to initiate joint ventures with their Swedish, German and French counterparts but also to highlight the soft image of the country.

BANK OF PUNJAB

The Bank of Punjab's earnings during the Jan June 2006 period depicted a sanguine growth at Rs2, 231million i.e. 46% higher from Rs1, 531million during the same period last year.

This translates into an EPS at Rs7.78 compared to Rs5.34 previously. Earnings are expected to solidify on the dual growth in net interest income and dividend receipts of NIT.

Net mark-up income is expected to depict 25% surge to Rs1, 962 million compared to Rs1, 571million during first half of financial year 2005-06. Non mark-up income of the bank is to swell by 91% to Rs1, 805million as against Rs948m previously on the back of exceptional dividend payout by NIT. The after tax per share impact of NIT's dividend is Rs2.90 in the 1H/FY06 earnings.

The Bank of Punjab's earnings during the quarter ended March 2006 portrayed 61% growth to Rs585m as against Rs364million during the corresponding period of last year. This translates into an EPS at Rs2.04 as against Rs1.27 previously. BoP's total revenues were up 56% with net mark-up income and non mark-up income soaring by 35% and 145%, respectively. Interest expense was 317% higher, outpacing the 129% growth in interest earned - attributable to narrowing spreads. Provisioning under various heads marked 10 times surge to Rs100m as against Rs8million previously. Administrative expenses increased by 45% to Rs383m compared to Rs265million last year.

TRAINING OF SPECIAL PERSONS

The government should frame new laws for the training and rehabilitation of special persons so that they could become useful members of society and could play their role as active members.

These observations were made by Provincial Secretary Investment Saeed Alvi, LCCI President Mian Shafqat Ali, Shahida Hennesen, President Roshni Association (Society for Welfare of Special Persons) and its General Secretary Hamid Hellmut-Hennesen at a two-day exhibition arranged by the association in collaboration with Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry last week.

Speaking on the occasion, the Provincial Secretary Investment Saeed Alvi paid his tributes to the management of Roshni Association for taking care of such a large number of special persons and imparting them with different skills. He said that it is moral obligation of every citizen to extend help to this segment of society so that a healthy society could take roots in this country. LCCI President Mian Shafqat Ali said that about 2.5% of the total population of Pakistan consists of special persons but the irony is that a big majority was unaware of its obligations towards special persons. He said that special persons are often ignored and are left on their own mercy although majority of them can be made a useful part of society with some effort. They are also deprived of their rights in the property, he added.

The LCCI President said that though looking after the destitute and disabled is the responsibly of the government but it is a happy sign that some of the NGOs in the private sector such as Roshni Association Society for Welfare of Special Persons are doing commendable work for the special persons. He said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry is conscious of its corporate social responsibility. It is running a project for the disabled persons under the name of Lahore Businesses Association for Rehabilitation of the Disabled (LABARD).

The LABARD acts not only as a placement body for the disabled sections of society, but also provides possible relevant skill training in various fields to the physically handicapped persons with a view to rehabilitate them. The organization has been able to impart training to the disabled in computer studies in collaboration with renowned software houses like Microsoft during the recent years. It has so far registered about 3,600 disabled persons and has successfully secured placement for about 1,200 persons in different organizations.

President Roshni Association Ms Shahida Hennesen and General Secretary Hamid Hellmut-Hennesen threw light on the working of the association. Earlier, the special children attached with Roshni presented play puran Bugat which was appreciated by the participants.