Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jubilee Life Insurance announces financial results for the first quarter

Jubilee Life Insurance Company, the largest insurance company from the private sector, announced an impressive batch of results for the financial quarter ending on 31 March 2014. The results were declared by the Board of Directors who met under the chairmanship of Mr. Kamal A. Chinoy to review the performance of the company.

The company reported a pre-tax profit of Rs295 million for the first quarter of 2014, up 45% from Rs 204 million for the same quarter in the preceding year. With after-tax profit of Rs 202 million, the earnings per share (EPS) stood atRs2.80.

Jubilee Life has further strengthened its position by registering 34% increase in net premium income over the same period of last year.

Mr. Javed Ahmed, Managing Director & CEO Jubilee Life, commented, “Our results reflect our strategy of robust business growth, together with sustainable profitability.” He also added that Jubilee Life has a strong focus on customer servicewhich is the lifeblood of our business.

Jubilee Insurance is a global brand of Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) that offers diverse insurance solutions (life, health and general) in the Asian and East African markets. Jubilee Life in Pakistan offers uniquely designed range of life and health insurance plans, catering to various customer segments and needs. These include retirement, child education, marriage, saving & protection, wealth accumulation, life insurance plans for women, rural insurance plans and life and health insurance solutions for the less privileged of our country.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pakistani Business Leaders Congratulate Iftikhar Ali Malik

Iftikhar Ali Malik
The Vice Presidents of FPCCI Mr. Gulzar Firoz, Mr. Shaheen Ilyas Sarwana and Mr. Naveed Jan Baloch, Mr. Abdul Khaliq Khan have Congratulated Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik on his re-nomination as Vice President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce for the term 2014-15. While expressing warm wishes they said the re-nomination of Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik is recognition of his services and devotion which he extended to  business community and promotion of economic activities in SAARC region.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Central Bank reduces policy rate by 50 basis points to nine percent

Yaseen Anwar, Governor SBP
By Mohammad Nazakat Ali
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has decided to reduce the policy rate by 50 basis points to bring it down to 9 percent with effect from June 24, 2013.
This was decided by the Central Board of Directors of the State Bank of Pakistan at its meeting held under the chairmanship of SBP Governor, Yaseen Anwar, in Karachi on June 21.
According to the Monetary Policy Decision, the SBP has decided to place a higher weight to declining inflation and low private sector credit relative to risks to the balance of payments position.
Following is the complete text of the Monetary Policy decision:
“There has been a discernible positive change in sentiments post May 2013 elections because of clarity on the political front. The change in the behavior of banks in auctions of government securities and reaction of stock market are two examples. Importantly, there has been a considerable improvement in SBP conducted surveys of consumer confidence, expected economic conditions, and inflation expectations. The absence of foreign financial inflows and high fiscal borrowings from the banking system, however, remain formidable economic challenges, especially for monetary policy. Similarly, power shortages and security conditions continue to be strong impediments to growth.”
“An almost continuous and broad based deceleration in inflation over the last year has had a favorable impact on inflation outlook – a key variable in monetary policy decisions.  In May 2013, the year-on-year CPI inflation was 5.1 percent while trimmed measure of core inflation was 6.7 percent; the lowest levels since October 2009. The average CPI inflation for FY13 is expected to be at least two percentage points below the target of 9.5 percent.”
“However, in the latest budget the government has announced an increase of 1 percentage point in the General Sales Tax (GST), from 16 percent to 17 percent, and changes in the tax structure for some goods and services. In addition, the government is considering a phase-wise upward adjustment in electricity tariff. The exact magnitude and timing of this adjustment is yet to be decided. Therefore, there is a risk that average inflation for FY14 could exceed the announced target of 8 percent for the year. However, aggregate demand in the economy is expected to remain moderate, which could have a dampening effect on inflation.”
“A reflection of the current declining trend in inflation can be seen in the muted real economic activity, especially private investment expenditures. Beset by energy shortages and law and order conditions, the GDP growth has struggled to ameliorate in the last few years and this year was no exception. The provisional estimate of GDP growth for FY13 is 3.6 percent, which is lower than the 4.3 percent target for the year. Similarly, private fixed capital formation has decreased by 1.8 percent – the fifth consecutive year of a declining trend. Although there has been an encouraging uptick in the growth of Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) sector, 4.8 percent in April 2013, it is too early to term it as an emerging trend.”
“A declining inflation trend and below potential GDP growth make a case for further reduction in the policy rate. The argument is twofold. First, the SBP has been giving a relatively high priority to inflation in its monetary policy decisions over the last few years. Thus, continuing to do so would indicate consistency in the monetary policy stance. Second, without further reduction in the policy rate, the real interest rate – policy rate minus expected inflation – would increase due to declining inflation. High real interest rates are not helpful for supporting private investment in the economy.”
“However, as indicated in the last monetary policy decision, the current balance of payments position and a structural imbalance in fiscal accounts suggest vigilance. The stress in the balance of payments position was a prime consideration in maintaining the policy rate at 9.5 percent in the last two monetary policy decisions. The basic argument has been that the return on rupee denominated assets needs to be sufficiently attractive to discourage speculative demand for dollars.”
“There is no significant revision in the assessment of the balance of payments position since the last monetary policy decision. The external current account deficit is expected to remain manageable, around 1 percent of GDP for FY13, signifying very low risk from this source for the external accounts. The real challenge continues to emanate from the lack of financial inflows. Let alone finance the small current account deficit, there has been a cumulative net capital and financial outflow of $143 million during the first eleven months of the current fiscal year. Add to this the on-going payments of IMF loans and it becomes clear that the pressure on foreign exchange reserves has not abated. As of 14th June 2013, SBP’s foreign exchange reserves stand at $6.2 billion.”
“There are two developments, however, that are worth highlighting. First, there has been a noticeable change in sentiments, as highlighted above, that can potentially have a favorable influence on private financial inflows. Other than the overall economic outlook, investment decisions do take into account the relative political certainty that determines the continuation of economic policies for some time in the future. Second, declining inflation has increased the relative real return on rupee denominated assets. This could provide some room for downward adjustment in nominal returns to cater to broad macroeconomic considerations despite external account concerns.”
“In this context, a lot depends on the fiscal outlook. The fiscal deficit for FY13 has been estimated to reach 8.8 percent of GDP, which is considerably higher than earlier projections. The source of deviation is structural and well known – low tax revenues due to absence of meaningful tax reforms and continuation of untargeted subsidies without comprehensively addressing the energy sector problems. For FY14, the federal government has announced a provisional estimate of 6.3 percent of GDP. “
“From the monetary policy perspective, it is the financing pressure of the fiscal position that is the source of stress. Due to almost zero net external financing in FY13, the burden of financing the sizeable deficit of 8.8 percent has fallen disproportionately on domestic sources, in particular the banking system. During 1st July – 7th June, FY13, fiscal borrowings from the banking system for budgetary support were Rs1230 billion, including Rs413 billion from the SBP. The high level of these borrowings has kept an upward pressure on the system’s liquidity and thus short term market interest rates and is restraining growth in the private sector credit.”
“If the economy is to reap the benefits of evolving positive sentiments and lure the domestic as well as foreign investors then implementation of a reform oriented and credible medium term fiscal outlook is essential. On its part, the Central Board of Directors of SBP has decided to place a higher weight to declining inflation and low private sector credit relative to risks to the balance of payments position. Therefore, the policy rate is being reduced by 50 basis points, to 9 percent, with effect from 24th June 2013.”

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pakistan Deep Water Container Port to create employment opportunities young workforce

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping, Senator Kamran Michael, visited the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) where he took round various maritime installations and the ongoing development projects. He was accompanied by the KPT Chairman and other high port officials. 

The Minister visited all the operational berths including the three oil piers and during his three-hour visit and he also inspected the newly laid out breakwaters that will streamline the channels of Karachi Port. 

He visited the deepened length of the approach channel while the Chairman explained the desirability of deeper access for berthing of large post-panamax carriers.

During inspection of  under construction Pakistan Deep Water Container Port, the Minister directed the KPT to bring all the issues related to delay caused in its completion so that action could be taken at the appropriate forum for their resolution. 

He said that PDWCP will create much needed employment opportunities for the young workforce of Pakistan.

While having an appraisal of current state of operations at Karachi Port the Minister raised many pertinent queries about various operational practices. 

He conveyed the vision of the present government and asked the officers  to implement it transparently to ensure greater performance  efficiency and made the same a role model for others to follow.  

He stressed on having strategic priorities for the Port to bring them in an alignment with international maritime requirements. He pointed out that Karachi Port, being the largest recipient of Pakistan’s national maritime trade, is expected to perform the assigned tasks  with diligence and devotion.

On the occasion he listened to the issues raised by port workforce and issued on the spot orders for solving them. He promised to look into their long term problems and assured their representatives that he will try utmost to find solution to them. 

He said he will  visit Karachi Port regularly and monitor its activities personally. He directed the management to provide his detail appraisal of all port activities to enable him to take appropriate steps thereof.

Friday, May 17, 2013

KCCI assures total support and cooperation to SSUET

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The elected representatives of the business community at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) have expressed the hope that dwindled economy and battered industrial sector will witness a new surge during the next five years. 

They made the assessment on the basis of formation of new government to be formed by Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif which, they noted, has dedicated industrialists, businessmen and experts in the related fields in its fold who are capable to deliver which the previous government could not. 

Their remarks in this regard came in a meeting with Engr Mohammad Adil Usman, Chancellor of Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), Karachi, held at the university campus on May 15 The 21-member delegation of KCCI, led by its President, Mohammed Haroon Aagar, visited the university and discussed various matters to further strengthen the existing coordination and relationship with SSUET. 

The KCCI chief pointed out that no expansion occurred in the industrial sector during the last 5 years and this sector has much hopes on the new government which is going to be formed with an industry-related background. He offered large scale internship opportunities for the SSUET students, foreseeing the rapid industrial growth that is likely to take place in the coming years. 

He specially referred to the ongoing energy crisis and said that with other sources of energy generation potential also existed to tap solar energy prospects for use in the industries. He also offered to extend sponsorships for the SSUET students, wherever required. 

In his remarks on the occasion the SSUET Chancellor, Engr Adil Usman, thanked the delegation for coming over and described it highly encouraging with fruitful discussion. He said while foreseeing the future development prospects, there is imperative need to encourage the students studying engineering in this university which is being run with its self-generated resources to provide best possible knowledge to future builders of the nation. 

The Chancellor said that the university does not receive any government grant, still no student is allowed to give his studies just for financial implications and all requirements of poor students are fulfilled by this university which has been awarded the highest “W4” category by Higher Education Commission. 

He suggested the KCCI to establish a fund for poor students of this university which will be utilized under the criteria to be worked out by KCCI itself. He also referred to the SSUET’s Research and Development programs and pointed out that world over such programs are supported by the industry. He said that R&D programs at universities ultimately prove beneficial for the industry. 

He informed the KCCI officials that the university can send talented students abroad if a fund is created by KCCI for this purpose. Engr Adil Usman also referred to the bio-plant designed with SSUET’s cooperation and emphasized that it needs further development to launch it for meeting energy needs. 

He appreciated KCCI’s offer for 6-month IT training for the university students and said the University at its end can offer solutions for IT related problems if these come from the Chamber. 

On the occasion, Shamim Firpo, Senior Vice-President KCCI, appreciated SSUET’s participation in the Chamber’s ‘My Karachi; exhibition held at Expo Center last year and said that the projects displayed on that occasion drew big public liking. 

He said this year the KCCI is organizing the exhibition in July and will earmark an exclusive education pavilion to showcasing the projects of engineering students. He said such programs will help enhance greater SSUET-industry collaboration. 

He also referred to the menace of energy crisis and observed that if the new government surmounts this menace, the industry will grow and in turn new job opportunities will create and simultaneously ongoing law and order come under control. 

He assured KCCI's total support and cooperation for the SSUET along with other members of the visiting delegation who appreciated the presentation given on the occasion by Registrar SSUET Shah Mahmood Hussain Syed and particularly referred to the quantum of scholarships awarded and the financial assistance give to needy students. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Meeting of Pakistan-Korea Business Council of FPCCI held in Karachi

Mr Sohail Nisar, Chairman Pak-Korea Business Council of FPCCI convened the First Meeting of the Council which was graced by Mr. Chang-Hee Lee, Consul General of Republic of Korea in Karachi.

Haji Fazal Kadir Sheerani, President FPCCI in his welcome address emphasized the need for more interaction between the Business Communities of two countries. He also stressed upon that opportunities for joint ventures that exist in many fields including alternate energy, agriculture, engineering sectors, food processing, technical and technological collaborations etc. He also suggested frequent exchange of trade delegations, promotion of new products by organizing exhibitions, conducting joint study to find new products for bilateral trade, and to remove hurdles that impede the bilateral trade between Pakistan and South Korea.

Mr Sohail Nisar, Chairman Pak-Korea Business Council mentioned that Korea has demand for at least 20,000 tons of mango, which is currently being met through imports from a few countries. But the delicious, aromatic and different varieties of mangoes grown in Pakistan have no parallel. He said despite a 30% duty on mango imports, the Pakistani fruit could have a good demand in the Korean market. He, however, called for swift processing of mango at the existing facilities.
Members of the Council informed the Consul General about the difficulties being faced by them in the process of obtaining visas, despite the fact that they have visited Korea several times for business purpose. The President FPCCI suggested establishing a special window at the Consulate General of Korea in Karachi to issue visa to the genuine businessmen on the recommendation of FPCCI.
The Consul General was also informed that Pakistan-Korea JBC meeting is due for last six years and sought his cooperation in holding it at the earliest so that the two sides could take a fresh look at the opportunities and challenges before them in order to achieve comprehensive development and foster greater collaboration.
Mr. Chang-Hee Lee, Consul General of Republic of Korea in Karachi thanked the FPCCI for inviting him. He informed that Korea is the 12th largest economy in the world and 4th largest in Asia. He said Pakistan and South Korea have a lot in common, be it socio politics or cultural aspects and enjoy a much deeply enrooted friendly and mutually co-operative relations since more than six decade. He said it was encouraging for him to witness the presence of big Korean Corporations in Pakistan, like Samsung, LG, Lotte, Ssangyong, POSCO, Daewoo and establishing relationship with Pakistani business community. Mr. Chang-Hee Lee said the problems faced by Pakistani businessmen are regrettable and he would take up the matter with the Authority in Korea for rectification.

NBP Embarks to Establish the Largest Data Center

In line with the NBP President’s vision of technology at the core of banking, National Bank of Pakistan inked its Data Center Project on turnkey basis with Getronics (AGCN) Pakistan. The project shall be an International Standards Certified Tier III Data Center Project.  This Data Center facility will serve more than 1290 online branches for Centralized Banking Applications; to ensure 24x7x365 (Always Online) IT services across the bank and all its applications including a 24 hours IT services monitoring & operations center.  
The Project Head NBP Mr. Qasim Y. Khan (Vice President/Wing Head IT Strategic Planning Wing) and country manager Getronics Pakistan Mr. Faisal Rao signed the contract in the presence of the President, National Bank of Pakistan Dr. Asif A. Brohi and senior executives of the bank.  Mr. Mahmood Siddique (Chief Information Officer) and Mr. Yasir Ansari (Deputy CIO) acknowledged the project to be a success for the future NBP services & increase customer satisfaction through highest availability and resiliency. This is one of its kind projects in the financial industry of Pakistan with latest equipment and technology and an IT milestone for the largest commercial bank of Pakistan.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Arif Bukhari calls on Chancellor Schroeder

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Arif Ali Shah Bukhari, Chancellor of KASBIT and Chairman of KASB Foundation, called on former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany, on the sidelines of the recently held YPO-WPO Global Leadership Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

Arif Bukhari apprised the German Chancellor about the successful implementation of the FATA Children Scholarship Programme that was run by the KASB Foundation with the support of the German Foreign Office to educate the children who were displaced because of the violence in the FATA region. 

Realizing the importance of Pakistan, which will serve as the transit point in the new business order of the world to connect the Middle East, Afghanistan and the former Soviet Bloc countries, East Asia and more importantly China with the rest of the world, Chancellor Schroeder looked forward to the timely development of infrastructure in Pakistan to meet the challenges that would have to be met for the prosperity of Pakistan in particular and the South Asian Region in general.

Arif Bukhari, who is also the Chairman of the Pakistan China Business, Cultural and Social Society, which serves to develop the social-cultural, economic and people to people contacts between Pakistan and China, invited Chancellor Schroeder on behalf of the society to visit Pakistan as a special guest speaker to inform its members about the vision he holds for the South Asian Region and the supportive role he could play on behalf of his country to which the Chancellor responded that he looked forward to do so whenever the right opportune allowed him to visit Pakistan.

The German Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr Michael Koch, having taken very keen interest in the running of the FATA Children Scholarship Programme, was also appreciative of the KASB Foundation initiative.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pak Railways promote 500 ticket examiners

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The General Manager Pakistan Railways, Junaid Qureshi, has promoted over 500 Special Ticket Examiners, Special Ticket Examiner Group Inspectors and Divisional Inspectors to the next grade.

He signed the summary of promotion of the Railways employees on March 1 and the notification in this regard was also issued later in the day, sending a wave of delight among the staff. 

As per notification the Grade 11 Special Ticket Examiners have been promoted to Grade 14, Grade 12 Special Ticket Examiners Group Inspectors to Grade 15 and Grade 14 Divisional Inspectors to Grade 16. 

It may be mentioned here that a Special Ticket Examiner Mohammed Suleman had moved to court a couple of years ago seeking promotions which was allowed by the court with the order for carrying out the required promotions. 

However, the implementation of the court order was delayed because of ongoing financial crisis in the railway which led to protests and strike by railway employees. 

Meanwhile the leaders of Railway’s Special Ticket Examiners Group Association, Shahabuddin Lakho, Haji Naimuddin Abbasi, Abdul Majeed Abbasi, Syed Asif Ali Shah and Al-haj Liaquat Ali Khilji have expressed their gratitude to the GM Railway, Junaid Qureshi, and other senior railway officials for issuance of notification of their promotions having described the issuance of notification the victory of righteousness.

Blair suggests study for education pattern suiting Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has suggested that a study be conducted to evaluate the type of education that would be effectively suited for Pakistan and an urgent action be taken to implement it.

He made the suggestion in a meeting with Arif Ali Shah Bukhari, Chancellor of KASBIT and Chairman of KASB Foundation, on the sidelines of the recently held YPO-WPO Global Leadership Conference in Istanbul, Turkey. 

Arif Bukhari, who attended the conference as Member MENA Regional Board of YPO-WPO, revealed that in the meeting with Tony Blair the geo-Political issues of Pakistan also came under discussion and he explained to the former British Prime Minister that there was great potential for improvement and modernization in Pakistan for which the way forward was through the prioritized provision of education to its masses through which the evils of illiteracy and violence would gradually be overcome. 

The former British Prime Minister agreed with the viewpoints of the KASBIT Chancellor having remarked there was also an urgent need to develop direct people to people contact for which finding of right partners between Pakistan and Britain was must to achieve real and sustainable growth. 

He also stated that the world’s growth and prosperity had always come through the private sector and that the government’s work was to give the right policies and to create conducive environments for educational growth. 

Tony Blair also informed Arif Bukhari that the British High Commission was trying its best to implement several programs that would directly benefit the people of Pakistan for which he look forward to the support of Pakistani business community to play a positive role for the realization of these programs.