THT 10 YEARS AGO: Sir Edmund urges tourists to visit Nepal

Kathmandu, May 4, 2006

Sir Edmund Hillary today urged tourists to make plans to travel to Nepal, assuring the potential visitors of a sound political climate in the country.

The situation in the country, according to him, has “vastly improved” and the Everest region has been untouched by any of the nation’s recent problems. “Things have really changed and are going well.

Tourists can decide to return to Nepal which is such a beautiful country where they can really enjoy themselves,” said Hillary, the first to conquer the world’s highest peak with Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.

Things including his projects in the educational and health sectors have carried on “pretty much” unaffected by the political problem. “I flew by helicopter up to the Everest area yesterday and there was Everest towering up.

I was a little bit surprised that I had climbed it,” he said.

The reason for his frequent visits to Nepal apart from overseeing his projects is to meet good old friends, particularly from the Sherpa community who have been involved with his work for over 40 years.

No instant returns from Pak investments abroad

Islamabad, May 4, 2006

The equity-based investments made by resident Pakistanis abroad are unlikely to yield immediate returns, Pakistan’s finance ministry has said.

“Investments made by resident Pakistanis abroad are unlikely to generate major profit repatriation to Pakistan as the sponsors may retain their earnings in the concerned countries for business requirements,” official sources quoted the finance ministry as saying in a recent report submitted to the government.

The government had allowed resident Pakistanis to invest abroad in May 2005, subject to fulfilment of specific conditions.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) approves investment proposals of up to $5 million, while higher amounts are referred to the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC).

Sources said that from May to December last year, SBP and ECC approved investment transactions amounting to $307 million, of which the ECC and the central bank cleared proposals of $186 million and $121 million, respectively.

Investments worth $90 million were later abandoned, including Engro Chemicals’ investment in Oman ($77 million) - which was shelved because the project turned out to be financially unfeasible - and Lakson Tobacco Company’s project of $5 million, among others, which did not materialise.

The investments were made in sectors, like manufacturing ventures (29 per cent), information technology (22.3 per cent), chemicals and pharmaceutical (16.2 per cent), financial services (14.2 per cent) and service sector (12.4 per cent).

One-fourth of the total investments were made in Oman, another 15.6 per cent in Morocco and 14 per cent in Bermuda.