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China’s high-speed trains to offer more smart services

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BEIJING: China’s high-speed trains are expected to offer more smart services as the network continues to be upgraded with Internet technology.

A joint venture was officially launched Thursday by China Railway Investment Co. Ltd, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, and Tencent to develop and operate an integrated platform that will provide WiFi services to high-speed rail customers across China.

China Railway Gecent Technology Co. Ltd, with Geely and Tencent taking a combined 49 percent stake, will offer WiFi connection, entertainment and leisure services, news and information, online catering and shopping, and other smart services.

“The integration of high-speed railway networks and the Internet can nurture a digital economy service platform and make trains part of cities’ smart transport, tourism and retail,” said Tencent board chairman and CEO Pony Ma.

China’s high-speed railways exceed a total of 25,000 kilometers and are expected to reach 30,000 by 2020, covering over 80 percent of cities with a population of more than 1 million.

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China set up power projects under PPA: Ahsan Iqbal

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ISLAMABAD: Member National Assembly Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said that 35 billion dollar energy projects had been set up under China Pakistan Economic Corridor’s (CPEC) Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Speaking in the National Assembly he said, “We have not taken even a single penny loan to set up power projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor as all the projects had been established by the private sector of China in line with the PPA.”
Under the agreement, he said, the generated electricity will be added to the national grid as per rate determined by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).
“We should be grateful to China for making such a huge investment in Pakistan when other countries and local investors are shying to invest ten dollars”.
He appreciated the Chinese government for helping Pakistan in difficult times to end load-shedding from the country.

 

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Economy

Improvement in mini-budget demands tax net expansion

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ISLAMABAD: The experts here at a seminar expressed that amendments made in the finance bill 2018-19 lacked direction and vision.
Overall the mini-budget did not meet the expectations as taxpayers were further burdened, said the speakers representing business community and civil society during a discussion on ‘Amendments in Finance Bill 2018-19’, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Senator Nouman Wazir Khattak said when PTI came to power, the economy was in shambles. The PTI government raised the tax rates on imports of only luxury items to cut the import bill.
He said that the government would take concrete measures in consultation with stakeholders to bring the non-taxpayers into the tax net. He said that the government required at least the next four months to analyze economic crisis and to find ways for coming out of the crisis. For future taxation measures, we need stakeholders’ consultations and also need to take the business community on board, he added. Wazir said the country’s foreign policy had to be aligned with economy and trade.
Former Senator, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian (PPP-P) Farhatullah Babar claimed that the mini-budget presented by the government had disappointed, as it supports the corrupt mafia of the country.
He alleged that by allowing non-taxpayers and non-filers to purchase land and motor cars, the government had legitimized corruption. He said that the government had failed to provide a comprehensive roadmap to revamp and streamline economy and regional trade. No economy of the world had a sign of improvement without trade with its neighbor, he added.
Joint Executive Director, SDPI Dr. Vaqar Ahmed said that the government had tried to keep the income tax structure progressive through maintaining the low rate of tax on lower income groups.
The advanced tax on transaction through the banking system by non-filers was increased. He said that measure should be accompanied by a reduction in time and cost of becoming a filer, where all scheduled banks should be allowed the powers to facilitate a willing person to become a filer.
He said that the government may revisit its decision to allow non-filers to purchase property and motor vehicles. The exemptions and reduced rates allowed by the government in sale tax and customs duty should be time-bound and not for an indefinite period, he added.
Dr. Vaqar said that to curtail non-essential imports, the government has increased duties on imported vehicles. This increase may not be enough in light of past experience to reduce non-essential imports. Instead of slashing the size of the development budget, the government should focus on reducing the number of ministries merging the attached departments, he proposed.
The government should also aim to remove the current distortions in the tax code such as consolidation of over 60 withholding taxes provisions, over 50 indirect taxes and over a dozen taxes have to overlap with provincial revenue jurisdictions, he added.

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Economy

Companies need to be accredited by ECAC

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ISLAMABAD: Electronic Certification Accreditation Council (ECAC) was fully committed to making electronic transactions more sure, reliable and worldwide acceptable for that all companies and individuals engaged in electronic transaction and encryption services are required to get themselves accredited by ECAC.
Electronic Certification Accreditation Council (ECAC) is providing more reliable and secured digital system to the public through the Digital Signature Certificate system under the vision of `Digital Pakistan.’  The Digital Signature Certificate authenticates identity electronically and provides people with a high level of security for online transactions by ensuring absolute privacy of information exchanged using a digital certificate.
Highlighting the role and benefits of Digital Signature Certificate System, Deputy Director of ECAC, Wajahat Khan on Wednesday. He said Pakistan has been experiencing a challenge to make electronic transactions on a national and international level more secure, more reliable and worldwide acceptable.
He said digital transformation is need of the hour, demand for digital transformation is forcing companies, departments and people to change their business/working models and adapt to new market reality.
Wajahat Khan said any organization providing e-services to the public comes under the regulatory framework of ECAC, therefore, an organization providing such services are directed to get themselves accredited by Electronic Certification and Accreditation Council (ECAC).
The certificates issued by service providers are the only digital one (certificates) accepted by courts of law, he added.
The ECAC official said, the Council, being fully functional regulatory body has enforcement powers to regulate electronic transactions in public and private sectors and mandated to grant accreditation to approved crypto apparatus and accreditation to any Certificate Service Providers who intends to work as an Accredited Service Provider.
ECAC has accredited National Institutional Facilitation Technologies (NIFT) and NIFT has been issuing certificates to various banks for purpose of confirming authenticity or integrity or both, of information contained therein, of an electronic document or of an electronic signature in respect of which it is issued. Replying to a question, he said ECAC has enforcement powers to regulate Electronic transactions in public and private sectors and to provide accreditation of certification service providers.

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