Saturday, June 22, 2013

SSUET’s Rs 897 million deficit budget approved

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Rs 897.07 million budget for fiscal year 2013-14 of the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, was passed on June 21.

The University’s Board of Governors which met under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr  Jawaid H. Rizvi, granted approval to the budget which shows a deficit of Rs 35.56 million.

The budget showed an income of Rs 861.50 million while the expenditure has been set at Rs 897.07 million thus making the budget  in deficit by Rs 35.56 million.

Of the total budgetary estimates Rs 13.2 million have been earmarked for research projects while Rs 40 million have been set aside for provision of scholarships, Rs 26.9 million for purchase of additional lab equipments, Rs 20.5 million for construction of new academic block, Rs 7.8 million for providing financial help out of profit of endowment fund to students and employees. The University’s Endowment Fund has been set at Rs 320 million.

The budgetary estimates shows Rs 5 million having been allocated for providing financial incentive for faculty ccarrying out work on research projects , Rs 0.8 million for Ph.D graduate programme, Rs 5 million for hiring foreign specialists faculty, Rs 8.5 million for development of new campus on 200 acres of land as well as IT Park.

During 2013-14, the University will spend Rs three million on purchase of new books, research journals and equipments for the library.

A provision of Rs 23.3 million has been made for development works out of profit from endowment fund. The budget shows an accumulated development fund of Rs 111.4 million.

Out of total income of Rs 861.50 million estimated for the fiscal 2013-14, the university will receive Rs 752.15 million from tuition and allied fees, Rs 77.35 million from other income, Rs 31 million as profit on endowment fnd and Rs one million from donations.

On the expenditure side, the highest chunk of the budget of Rs 545.48 million will be consumed on establishment cost.

The budget estimates of Rs 897.07 million for 2013-14 are higher as compared to revised estimates of Rs 791.41 million of  2012-13.

Similarly expenditure is also estimated to go up to Rs 897.07 as compared to Rs 791.41 million during outgoing financial year.

Meanwhile the Board of Governors  paid homage to late Chancellor Engr Z A Nizami, who passed away on April 7, and unanimously passed a resolution eulogizing his services and achievements besides lauding his dedication and commitment to the cause of education.

The Board granted approval to the recommendation of the University’s Academic Council for introduction of new disciplines, and modifications in different courses studies. It also approved the audit report for the period upto June 2012 and also approved the appointment  of existing external auditor for the period July 2012 to June 2013.

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

Yaseen Anwar, SBP Chief
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.”

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NED University hosts Industry Academia Collaboration symposium

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The petroleum industry has been urged to facilitate arrangements of short-term orientation programme for the faculty members in respect to their operational endeavours and adaptations of new technologies.  

The recommendation was put forward in the recent symposium on Industry Academia Collaboration organized by the Pakistan Petroleum Exploration & Production Companies Association (PPEPCA) here at NED University of Engineering & Technology.

The other recommendations included exposure to problems being faced to be shared where possible and the academia, formulate short term and long term goals have to be planned with specific outputs, setting precedence in Pakistan by facilitating the academia in establishing a strong and sustainable technical base in the country for research and development.

The symposium was attended by over 350 participants representing Industry and Academia. A strong presence of the PPEPCA representing twenty three E&P companies was reflected by participation of chief executives/senior management of MPCL, PPL, OGDCL, GHPL, ENI Pakistan, POPH, KUFPEC and PPEPCA.

The Academia was represented by over 300 delegates including faculty members and students from seven departments of five major Engineering and other Universities of Sindh province which included Mehran University of Engineering & Technology, Dawood Engineering University, and NED University of Engineering & Technology, Bahria University and the University of Karachi. Four papers two from the industry and two from the NED University were presented, preceded by a panel discussion.

Professor Dr M Afzal Haque, Vice Chancellor, NED University, was the chief guest in the ceremony, presided over by Lt General (R) Raza Muhammad Khan, President PPEPCA HRM Committee.

Prof Haque while thanking the PPEPCA for selecting NED University as the hosts for the event emphasized on the importance of Industry Academia Collaboration for combating the energy challenges of Pakistan.

He stressed on the need of more effective role of Academia and the industry and informed that NED University has already initiated project for strengthening its capabilities for teaching and research.

Lt.Gen (R) Raza.Khan while deliberating on the efforts of PPEPCA’s HRM Committee, committed for more practical role from the industry for strong and sustainable linkage with Academia.

Asim Murtaza Khan, MD/CEO, Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), discussed the importance of Industry Academia Collaboration in Pakistan and stressed on the need to move from awareness to practical involvement of the two stakeholders.

Professor Sarosh Lodi, Dean (CEA&BME), NED University, recognized PPEPCA, MD/CEO of MPCL, PPL, KUFPEC and other companies for their participation. He also acknowledged the speakers, delegates from the universities for their participation and the organizers, staff and students of Department of Petroleum Engineering, and NED University for their untiring efforts to make this event a success.

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.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

KDA Officers Club Association remembers Engr Z A Nizami

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Various facets of the life and achievements of the late Engr Z A Nizami were highlighted at a condolence meeting organized by the KDA Officers Club Association.

The meeting, chaired by Commissioner Karachi, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, was held in the newly constructed Club’s hall named after Engr Z A Nizami.

The speakers, who included two former Director Generals of the Karachi Developing Authority (KDA), paid glowing tributes to Engr Nizami for his vision and above every thing else his relationship with humanity.

In his speech, Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqi said that living nations do not forget their benefactors and Engr Nizami is one of them. He said the condolence references organized for the departed soul fully endorses that his memory in hearts will always remain alive.

He said that Engr Nizami was a person whose dictionary was without the word “No” and that was why he earned prayers of people in thousands having earned their prayers not only when he was the Director General of KDA but also when he became the Chancellor of the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET).

Shoaib Siddiqi said that when people retire from their position, they are generally not remembered but in the case of Engr Nizami there was a difference  as he always remembered those who worked under him in KDA and kept resolving their problems.

He said that it was his management skill which earned KDA a unique place in the comity of development authorities throughout Pakistan and led Karachi to an unprecedented path of progress and development.

He said although Engr Nizami was no more with us but spiritually he will always remain in our hearts.

Speaking on the occasion Shah Mohammad Misbah, an ex DG KDA remarked that achievements made by late Engr Nizami will remain unmatched, particularly when it will be the question of either modern development or education.

He said that he was the true emancipator of poor and middle class people and he earned their immortal good wishes and prayers by providing them a roof to live under.

Sabahat Ali Khan, another former KDA DG said that hours will be required to recount the achievements of Engr Nizami but one of his biggest achievement in the development sector was construction of 10,000 quarters in Korangi in just six months.

He recalled that KDA had become bankrupt in 1980 but it witnessed a major turn around when Engr Nizami took over and emergence of Civic Centre, KDA Club and KDA Officer’s Housing Society were classical examples.

Rauf Akhtar Farooqui, a former Chief Controller of Buildings, said that late Engr Nizami was one of those big personalities whom we can call as a “great man” in real sense. He described Engr Nizami having extraordinary achievements to his credit.

Besides being a world class Town Planner Engr Nizami brought a revolution  in the field of education and established the biggest private sector engineering university which today stands as a symbol of his wisdom.

Mohammed Zakir, who served as Director Land in KDA and later became DG of Quetta Development Authority, described the departure of Mr Nizami a colossal loss for this city.

Farrukh Nizami, son of Engr Nizami informed that during his tenures of Director General, KDA, and Chancellor, SSUET, the two organizations were visited almost every head of the state and top functionaries of the Government of Pakistan.

Rizwan Siddiqi, a former Director Public Relations in KDA, who conducted the proceedings, said that Engr Nizami was a true benefactor of poors and he was earning their prayers even today.

Earlier Sultan Ahmed, Secretary of the Association welcomed the guests and said that this newly constructed hall has been named after Engr Nizami who was the founder of this club. The meeting concluded with offering of fateha for the departed soul.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

7 week semester break at SSUET

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

Following the conclusion of the spring semester examinations at the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, a seven-week semester break has got underway at the campus.

The examinations, having started on May 27, were conducted in six engineering disciplines of Computer, Electronics, Civil, Bio-Medical and Telecommunication besides Computer Science.

According to an annoucement made by the University administration, new semester's classes will commence from July 29 after a the seven-week break.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

AIT holds career guidance seminar

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The students of theAligarh Institute of Technology (AIT), an affiliate of the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, were briefed in detail about selection of their career after they pass out, at a seminar on career guidance organised by the AIT for the graduating diploma holders.

The objective was to guide the graduating diploma holders in various technical fields, to choose a career and explore job opportunities. The seminar was addressed by heads of departments of the AIT besides the representatives of various private companies and multinational NGO’s.

The keynote speaker for the session was Muhammad Yahya Waliullah, Director, Information Technology and Statistical Bureau of the SSUET, and ex Secretary, Sindh Planning & Development Department.

In an hour long presentation he guided and advised students as how to choose a career and go up on the ladder of professional life. He identified path to success and emphasized that students will have to work hard in their area of specialization, as professionals have high demand in the market.

"Professionalism comes from education, training and social network", he pointed out adding that command over the subject in which one has obtained diploma has to be supplemented with advance communication and presentation skills.

He threw light on the methods for searching a job and deliberated on the sources and preparing an effective CV that may catch attention of HR officials or employer and should focus on practical work done by students during their education, project preparation and internship.

He emphasized that CV should be as short as possible without leaving any information that may help in getting employment or job. He said major companies identify prospective employees on the basis of written test to determine knowledge base that includes some questions on I.Q. level and behavior of potential employee.

Once this stage is successfully crossed, he stated, selected candidates have to face by HR and Technical Department of the company. These interviews usually focus on subject knowledge and candidate knowledge about the company, his approach on how can a otential employee enhances production level, profitability and elevating image of the company.

That requires knowledge about the company and its competitors in the market, which can be obtained either through websites or printed material of the company.

Continuing, he said, important thing now a days is social networking like Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter which are powerful social media instruments and helps a candidate in many ways.

The seminar was attended by 150 students and professionals and was followed by a question and answer session that resulted in clarification of some points and further guidance given to students and professionals.

Muslim Abbasi, Vice Principal, and Shahid Jameel, Head of Computer Information Technology organized the seminar while Dr Hilal Qureshi Principal of AIT in his concluding remarks emphasized upon the students to work hard as world has opened up and there is fair competition not among natives but across globe as well.

He thanked heads of departments, Vice Principal for making arrangements and recognized YahyaWaliullah for giving a useful presentation and guiding students.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

SSUET budget to be presented on June 21

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Finance and Planning Committee of the Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology (SSUET), Karachi, has finalized the budget proposals for the fiscal 2013-14.

The outlines of the budget were finalized at a meeting of the committee, chaired by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Dr Jawaid H. Rizvi, and attended, among others, by Zulfikar Ali Qadri, Rafiq Ahmed Akhund, Muhammed Salman Sualeh, Engr Muhammed Yusuf Siddiqui, Cdr. (Rtd) Salim A. Siddiqi and  Registrar Shah Mahmood H. Syed.

The budget proposals would now be placed before the SSUET’s Board of Governors which is scheduled to meet on June 21. The budget will become effective upon the approval of the Board.

On the occasion the meeting offered Fateha for the departed soul of SSUET’s Founder Chancellor, Engr Z A Nizami, who passed away earlier this year.

The Director Finance presented the university’s revised budget of  Rs 791.56 million for the year 2012-13 with anticipated surplus for Rs 0.16 million for consideration and recommendations to the Board of Governors.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Arif Kassam elected to NED’s senate

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Noted structural engineer Arif Kassam, has been elected unopposed to the Senate of the NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi.

The notification in this regard was issued by the NED University on June 3, announcing his election under the University Graduates category.

Arif Kassam did his BE (Civil) from the NED University in 1979 securing sixth position while he completed Masters in Structural Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA in 1983.

He has written and presented many papers on topics like methods of seismic analysis of buildings and their comparison with special emphasis on D-value methods, dangers of improper modeling in E-tabs, seismic design and drawings for IMF, proper detailing of reinforcement and concrete for fire resistance.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Robert Scott, Aziz Memon urge for reinstatement of Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Dr Robert S Scott Chair, International Polio Plus, Rotary International and Aziz Memon, Chair, Pakistan Polio Plus, Rotary International, have urged the government to take steps to re-establish the essential functions that were previously undertaken by the Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring and Coordination Cell in the interest of the children of the country.

In a letter addressed to the Caretaker Prime Minister, Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, with a copy sent to the Prime Minister-in waiting, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, the Rotary officials have regretted the recent closure of the Prime Minister’s Polio Monitoring Cell, merged with the old system, which is incapable of delivering routine immunization or running the Polio Eradication Initiative, due to serious administrative issues.

The senior Rotary officials have drawn the attention of the concerned authorities towards the particular deficiencies of the EPI were highlighted by the Federal Ombudsman in his recent ‘Report on Measles Outbreak in Pakistan.’

‘The decision to close the Monitoring Cell was done in haste, without giving any thought to future action or implementation. The programme will stall key initiatives taken by the polio cell to completely stop transmission of polio from Pakistan by the end of 2013,” they said in a jointly signed letter sent to the Office of the Prime Ministers.

“Eradication of Polio is a global priority.  Pakistan, being one of the only three polio endemic countries of the world, is under intense pressure from the international community to take drastic steps for eradication of this disease and actively contribute in the Global Eradication of Polio,” Scott and Memon stated.

“The Government of Pakistan in collaboration with partner agencies approved the National Emergency Action Plan (NEAP) for Polio Eradication with responsibilities of implementation to the District Administration,” they added.

“To achieve this objective, the Government of Pakistan had in 2011, established a Cell known as the Prime Minister's Polio Monitoring & Coordination Cell, to monitor and coordinate efforts being made at the National and International level on Polio Eradication. In addition the PM monitoring cell also assisted the National Task Force on Polio Eradication headed by the Prime Minister,” the Rotary officials recalled.

“The Cell comprised of Public Health Specialists and Experts in Polio Eradication. It has achieved major success, and witnessed tremendous progress in this area, which has been recognised and appreciated by the International Health Forums like the World Health Assembly and the Independent Monitoring Board based in London. Due to untiring efforts, polio cases have dropped from 198 in 2011 to 58 cases in 2012 and 9 cases in 2013,” they concluded.