Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Trade Mission to France, Germany, Belgium, Bosnia returns after brokering business deals worth millions of rupees

Lahore, June 30, 2014 (PPI-OT): The LCCI Trade Mission to France, Germany, Belgium and Bosnia Monday returned home after brokering business deals worth millions of rupees in Plastic, Granite, used machinery, Steel scrap, citrus fruit and hotel and tourism sectors.

The delegation led by LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari spent four days in each European country while three days in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The delegates including former LCCI President Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman, Sheikh Muhammad Tariq, Chaudhry Iftikhar Bashir, Talha Tayyab Butt, Muhammad Aslam Chaudhry, Muhammad Asif Ibrahim, Iqbal Nazir, Tariq Mahmood, Khalid Mehmood, Khizar Hayat, Khurram Iftikhar, Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique, Zeeshan Sultan and Rizwan Sadiq had a number of high-profile meetings with the French, German, Belgian and Bosnian counterparts.

The delegates carried out market study in the advent of GSP Plus status granted to Pakistan buy the European Union.

Pakistani missions in France, Germany, Belgium and Bosnia gave a special importance to the business delegation of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

They not only arranged working lunches and dinners for the LCCI delegates but also helped them understand foreign markets through sector specialists.

The LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari informed the foreign investors about the various investment opportunities available in various sectors of Pakistan including energy and tourism.

President LCCI Engineer Sohail Lashari had meeting with the President of Amusement Park Rides Manufacturers Association Mr. Schwarzkopf while delegates had B2B meetings with their counterparts arranged by the Pakistan’s Commercial Counsellor, Frankfurt.

The LCCI delegation met European Commission DG Entrepreneur Services and also visited Euro chamber.
The LCCI delegation also had presentations at Foreign Trade Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bosnia from Foreign Investment Promotion Agency and had plenary session at Bank of Bosnia.

At a meeting with Bosnian Federal Energy Minister, the LCCI President discussed with him the possibilities of joint ventures in various areas of mutual interest.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees team travel to Pakistan’s remote valleys for information dissemination to Afghan refugees

BAGH, June 30, 2014 (PPI-OT): Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK): From Mirpur, in Pakistan Administered Kashmir, a UNHCR team bumped for eight hours along the road that winds through the mountains to reach Bagh – a faraway, lush, forested valley.

The journey was tiring yet exciting as high peaks thrust into the sky in a picture of natural beauty. People mostly reside in houses that sit on the mountain slopes. When night falls, the twinkling lights make it seem as though the earth has become like the sky.

Abdur Rehman, a 48-year-old Afghan refugee, is one among those living on these mountain slopes. For him, there is good news. His family is going to receive renewed Proof of Registration (PoR) cards, an important protection and identity document issued to registered refugees by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

The existing PoR cards held by Afghan refugees expired in December 2012. In July 2013, the Government announced the extension of the Tripartite Commission Agreement governing the voluntary return of Afghans, and the extension of the validity of the PoR cards until the end of 2015.

“This is great news. Now I can move freely without hurdles,” Rehman expressed his happiness after the Shura(council) meeting arranged by the visiting UNHCR team for Afghans in Kashmir.

Reaching out to people in need during humanitarian emergencies or getting a message out to the far-flung and inaccessible areas often poses a major challenge to aid agencies. However, for the humanitarian agencies, no matter how big the challenge, there is always a way.

The visit to Rehman’s village took the UNHCR team more than eight hours on a bumpy road. The team is well-known and respected by the refugees. They were received warmly and served with traditional green tea.

The community elders had arranged a gathering, inviting all of the prominent members of the Afghan refugee community, at a market in Bagh valley, where the UNHCR team briefed Afghans about the PoR card renewal procedures. Rehman is among them, sitting quietly but attentively as he listens to the briefing.

The PoR card renewal is not only good news for Rehman, but for all those Afghans who sporadically face harassment while travelling.

Belonging to Gardez in Afghanistan, Abdur Rehman was a 14-year-old when he fled Afghanistan along with his mother after the outbreak of war.

“Initially, we thought we would just go to Pakistan for one month, but look at us – we are still here due to the many problems back in Afghanistan,” he said, adding, “In Afghanistan, I have no land, no home, no job and no security.”

Rehman hopes that peace will be restored in his country so that he can go back. He still misses Afghanistan. Until that happens, his family, like many others, needs the protection afforded by the Government of Pakistan and UNHCR.

“We always struggle to reach every Afghan, so that everyone receives timely information about anything affecting their stay in Pakistan. Mostly the information is about the voluntary repatriation procedures, or the provision of legal assistance. At present it is more focused on the renewal of the PoR cards,” said, Shahid Majeed, one of the UNHCR field staff who has been conducting such Shura meetings for many years.

Shura meetings are one of UNHCR’s mass information tools to inform refugee communities about new developments relating to their stay in Pakistan. Across the country, UNHCR teams travel through different areas, gather refugees under one roof, and apprise them of new developments.

This time, the focus of UNHCR field teams was on spreading information about the PoR card renewal process that started in February this year.

Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency, started issuing renewed PoR cards to more than 1.6 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan. To date, more than 1 million of the registered Afghans have already received their new cards.

For more information, contact:
Ms Duniya Aslam Khan
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Quaid-e-Azam University Road, Diplomatic Enclave 2,
Sector G-4/2, Islamabad
Tel: +9251 282 9502 -6
Cell: 0300-501-7939,
Fax: +9251 227 9455

9th meeting of syndicate of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari to be held on July 5

Karachi, June 30, 2014 (PPI-OT): The 9th meeting of the syndicate of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari (BBSUL) will be held on July 5, 2014 in the senate Hall of the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari Karachi.

The revised Budget for 2013-14 and the estimated Budget for the year 2014-15 will be presented in the above said meeting. Also the increase the pay as has been announced by the Government of Sindh would also be placed in the meeting.

The meeting will be presided over by BBSUL Prof. Dr. Rashid A. Shah and the members are prof. Dr Usman Ali G. Isani, V.C Iqra University, Karachi Person of Eminence (Arts), Ms Sania Naz MPA, Mr Muhammad Sajid Jokhio MPA ,Mr. Muhammad Ali Malkani MPA, Prof.Dr.Islamil Brohi , Person of Eminence (Science) , Moulana Zia-ud-din , representative of Aalim , Dr.Iqbal Hussain Lodhi , Principal Government Degree Science and Commerce College Lyari , Karachi , Dr.AHS Bukhari , representative of professors BBSUL, Mr Munir Ahmed Abbasi representative of Lecturers BBSUL , Dr.Fazlullah Pechuhu , Secretary Education and Literacy Department Jahmshoro , Person of Eminence ( Professions ) , Mr.Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi ,Judge Sindh High Court Karachi Ms.Almas parveen ,Senator (Nominee of the Chancellor as women representative ) Dr. Altaf Ali G. Shaikh ,Nominee of Higher Education Commision (HEC) Islamabad and Dr.Gulnaz Naeem representative of Assistant professors BBSUL, Karachi.

The registrar also placed for record that Syndicate meetings are regularly held in this University.

For more information, Contact:
The Information Department
Block – 95 Sindh Secretariate 4B,
Opposite Sindh Assembly Building Karachi
Phone: +92-021-99204401, +92-021-99204423
Fax: +92-021-99202609, +92-021-99204417

JCR-VIS maintains entity ratings of Burj Bank Limited at A/A-1

Karachi, June 30, 2014 (PPI-OT): JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited has maintained the entity ratings of Burj Bank Limited (Burj) at ‘A/A-1’ (Single A/A-One). Outlook on the assigned rating has been revised from ‘Stable’ to ‘Negative’.

Net equity of Burj is below the regulatory requirement of Rs. 10b stipulated by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). Sponsors of the bank injected fresh capital to the tune of Rs. 568 million during the out-going year.

Equity injection was insufficient to meet the regulatory requirement due to which SBP has maintained a floor of 18% on the bank’s CAR. Given the constraint of principle sponsors in injecting equity, the management has indicated that it is in the process of pitching to potential investors. Ratings will be revisited as and when developments materialize in this regard.

In order to simultaneously manage the bank’s growth needs and maintain compliance with the floor placed on CAR by the regulator, the bank pursued growth in government/public sector which comprised almost one-fourth of gross financing at end-2013; moreover, consumer financing portfolio was more than doubled.

Asset quality indicators of the bank compare favourably to peers, with impact of past credit losses largely having been absorbed as evident from a specific provisioning coverage ratio of 90% at end-March 2014. Liquidity profile of the bank has room for improvement.

On a quarter on quarter basis, deposit mix has witnessed variation; proportion of CASA in deposit mix is low. In this regard, re-profiling of deposit base is being undertaken which is targeted to achieve reduction in deposit cost and improve depositor concentration levels.

Operating loss of the bank increased significantly on account of an increase in expense base on the back of various strategic initiatives taken by the bank. The bank has projected marginal profits for 2014 on the back of equity injection, planned cost rationalization and volumetric growth in earning assets. Realization of the same depends on timely equity injection.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Sobia Maqbool
JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited
VIS House, 128/C,
25th Lane Off Khayaban-e-Ittehad,
Phase VII, DHA, Karachi
Tel: +92-21-35311861-72
Fax: +92-21-35311873

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JCR-VIS reaffirms entity ratings of Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company (Pvt) Limited at AAA/A-1+

Karachi, June 30, 2014 (PPI-OT): JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (JCR-VIS) has reaffirmed the entity ratings of Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company (Private) Limited (PKIC) at ‘AAA/A-1+’ (Triple A/A-One Plus). Outlook on the ratings is ‘Stable’.

The ratings assigned to PKIC incorporate the joint venture shareholding structure of the company with Government of Pakistan and Government of Kuwait being equal shareholders. Standalone risk profile of the company is considered strong reflected by sound capitalization level and conservative risk appetite.

Strategic investment in Meezan Bank Limited, country’s leading Islamic bank, has market value considerably higher than the cost on PKIC’s books. Moreover, earnings from the same provide meaningful contribution to the company’s bottom line.

Lending activities have remained fairly subdued during FY13. Fresh hiring has been undertaken in the corporate finance department to revitalize marketing activities. No change in risk appetite has been communicated by the management; with fresh exposures to be taken only in case of fundamentally sound projects.

Funding sources of the company primarily comprise borrowings from financial institutions. Liquidity profile of the institution is considered sound reflected by adequate liquid assets carried on balance sheet in relation to outstanding liabilities; this is a function of high equity content of balance sheet.

Recently, a change was witnessed at the helm of the organization. In February 2014, Mr. Mansur Khan was appointed as the Managing Director of the company.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Sobia Maqbool
JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited
VIS House, 128/C,
25th Lane Off Khayaban-e-Ittehad,
Phase VII, DHA, Karachi
Tel: +92-21-35311861-72
Fax: +92-21-35311873

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Pak-China Economic Corridor is future of the world: Shah Faisal Afridi

Islamabad, June 30, 2014 (PPI-OT): Pak-China economic corridor would empower half of the world’s population living in Asia, by developing special trade routes between China and Pakistan.

It was stated by Mr. Shah Faisal Afridi President Pak China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) today while appreciating present government’s endeavours in implementing the Pak China Economic Corridor project. Faisal Afridi said that, Economic Corridor is the most important agreement signed between Pakistan and China till now.

Terming the Pak-China economic corridor as the future of the world, Shah Faisal Afridi said that 3 billion people from China, South Asia and Central Asia, would be benefited from this economic corridor. He urged government to implement this project in a way that population of Pakistan at large is benefitted.

Faisal Afridi appreciated the deep interest taken by the Nawaz government in accomplishment of the Corridor project and said that Pakistan’s prosperity is no more a longer journey as the current leadership is working diligently on such projects whose outcomes would be visible and bright in a shorter period of time. Recently China has commissioned a preliminary research study to construct an international rail link connecting its province Xinjiang’s border to Pakistan.

According to Chinese officials, this new rail link, which runs through the Pamir Plateau and Karakorum mountains, will be one of the hardest to build. The proposal, when implemented, “will re-open the economic artery blocked for years he added.

President PCJCCI disclosed that the federal government had announced six development schemes costing Rs130 billion under the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, marking the beginning of a process that will transform the country into a transit hub for the second largest economy of the world.

The reason behind this vital importance is that 60 percent of oil is being imported from gulf countries that reaches China after covering the distance of 16,000 KMs, he said adding that after the completion of Gawadar port project, the distance will reduce to 2500 KMs only which is, from all aspects, more safe and feasible.

Afridi affirmed that in the rapidly changing geo-strategic and security environment, both countries are likely to face many regional and global challenges.

The need of the hour is that, leadership of both countries should work hands in gloves for cementing the traditional Sino-Pak relationship with an exclusive focus on the economic corridor project that would bring economic prosperity for Pakistan and underdeveloped western region of China as well, he said.

For more information, contact:
Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI)
Mega Tower, 309 – 6th Floor,
Main Boulevard, Gulberg II,
Lahore, Punjab – Pakistan.
Tel: +92 42 35777460- 02, 37032203 – 35874353
Fax: +92 42 35777524

Pakistan Credit Rating Agency maintains ratings of Bank Alfalah Limited

Lahore, June 30, 2014 (PPI-OT): The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) has maintained the long-term and short-term entity ratings of Bank Alfalah Limited (BAFL) at “AA” (Double A) and “A1+” (A one plus) respectively.

The ratings of two unsecured subordinated TFCs issues of PKR 5bln each have been maintained at “AA-” (Double A minus). These ratings denote a very low expectation of credit risk emanating from a very strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments.

The ratings reflect sustainability in BAFL’s performance. This helps pursuing a focused expansion strategy that should fortify its established position in the domestic banking landscape. The bank intends to pursue measured credit growth; however, any swift expansion would require capital augmentation to uphold current adequacy of risk absorption (as reflected by CAR).

Success in recoveries against NPLs along with limited infection benefits BAFL’s asset quality. The bank’s performance is expected to benefit from its expanding franchise. However, rationalization of sizeable non-earning assets and high operating costs are challenging.

Bank Alfalah’s Islamic operations, while supporting performance, has critical role in the bank’s growth strategy. The ratings recognize demonstrated support of Abu Dhabi group as a key factor. The ratings are dependent on the bank’s ability to sustain improvement in its financial profile, while strengthening its capitalization. Moreover, upholding improvement in asset quality is important to limit equity erosion.

For more information, contact:
Hammad Rashid
The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited (PACRA)
Awami Complex, FB1, Usman Block New Garden Town,
Lahore – Pakistan
Tel: +9242 586 9504 -6
Fax: +9242 583 0425

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