PCJCCI, CCPIT Guangdong sign MoU

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): With the progress of the “Belt and Road” initiative, practical Chinese education is increasingly becoming an “inelastic demand” for both China and its partners. It was stated by PCJCCI president SM Naveed during the MOU signing ceremony held in China between CCPIT Guangdong and Pak China Joint Chamber of Commerce for International Practical Chinese Language Training Programme with reference to the participating countries in the Belt and Road Initiative. Naveed represented Pakistan at the forum where more than 40 countries have signed cooperative agreements with China. The MOU signing ceremony was organised during the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo. The idea of Belt and Road Initiative is now embraced by more than 100 nations and international organisations who found that there is a dire need of practical and vocational Chinese education in countries along the “Belt and Road.” Naveed emphasized for the urgent need for local talents in those countries and regions that are directly attached with CPEC and B&R initiative.

He said that the lack of Chinese language equipped talents is hindering the overseas expansion of Chinese companies and JV’s. With a big gap between supply and demand, bilingual talents become a scarce resource, and practical Chinese training programmes become an inelastic demand and social trend, said Naveed.

He further told about the PCJCCI Chinese language programme already initiated in Pakistan with the collaboration of Tevta. He also told about the PCJCCI Chinese language publications including dictionary and book that are published for the ease of people learning Chinese language.

KPITB organises final demo day of Civic Innovation Fellowship

PESHAWAR (Bureau Report): Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) has organised final demo day of its Civic Innovation Fellowship Programme 2017 on Tuesday. Five teams of young innovators from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa practically demonstrated the use of their mobile applications they developed during the 3rd cycle of the KP Civic innovation Fellowship programme for various service providing departments of the government. These applications provide technology solutions that make the job of government departments efficient and lives of citizens easier. KPITB, with the assistance of the World Bank and Code for Pakistan, has been looking to unleash the youth tech potential of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to improve government services and to find quick solution of the day-to-day problems of the citizens through the effective use of information and communication Technology (ICT).

Since 2014, the KPITB has two successful cycles of the fellowship programme and concluded the third cycle to get the innovative and talented youth of the province, develop technology solutions for various problems faced by the government departments and the citizens.

The demo day for the 3rd cycle of the fellowship programme was attended by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Information Technology Shahram Tarakai. The five mobile applications developed by the young innovators included Record Digitisation and Automation for the Directorate of Industries and Commerce, Crowd Finding Platform for KPIT Board, Android based complaint and Information Application for Peshawar Traffic police, Web-based application to promote tourism, and Crowd Sourced Complaint System for Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar.

Following the success of the three fellowship cycles, the fellowship program will enter into its 4th cycle in the coming year. KPITB, Code for Pakistan and the World Bank will partner once again to select 20 young individuals to team up to create technology solutions for various other government departments.

On the occasion, Shahram urged upon the need of technology solutions to the day-to-day issues of the citizens and the effective use of ICT to improve the performance of government departments. He said that the provincial government under its E-Governance programme has launched a number of initiatives to ensure the maximum use of ICT in government departments with the aim to ensure efficiency, transparency and accountability.

He said that Civic Innovations Fellowship Programme was one of those initiatives which provide a platform to the talented and innovative youth of the province to come up with technology solutions not only for government departments but for the citizens as well to make their lives easier.

He highly lauded the fellow graduates of the fellowship program for developing such innovative and useful mobile application for government departments and assured them all possible support from his government. At the end, the minister gave away certificates to the fellow graduates of the fellowship programme.

Aza Khel Dry Port to be operational by Jan

PESHAWAR (Staff Reporter): Peshawar Collector Customs Gul Rahman on Tuesday assured business community of the province that Aza Khel Dry Port would be made operational by January 2018. Being a long awaited demand of the KP business community, it is assured that this new Aza Khel Dry Port would be opened in the first month of next year. “We are taking essential steps like provision of internet, setting up of banks and others facilities at the dry port first and that’s why this process of opening is delayed,” he said. Speaking to the business community at the KPCCI, he also assured businessmen that sincere efforts would be made for removing hurdles in trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Similarly, the mobile custom squad will not be allowed to enter into city area, he added. In his welcoming remarks, the KPCCI Zahidullah Shinwari apprised the collector custom about the problems the business community was facing. Besides others, KPCCI SVP M Naeem Butt, VP Malik Niaz M Awan, Additional Collector Custom-I Faiz Ali, Additional Collector Custom-II Haider Orakzai, SCCI former president Faud Ishaq and others were also present.

Shinwari expressed strong reservation over implementation of Regulatory Duty on import of 731 items and said this decision will affect bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said in response to imposition of regulatory duty, the Afghan government has imposed ban on entry of Pakistani trucks into Afghanistan. The trade level between Pakistan and Afghanistan has reduced to lowest level of $700 million which is a matter of serious concern, he added.

He said that such steps should be avoided which have negative impact on trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Shinwari demanded of the government to forthwith take back this decision regarding imposition of regulatory duty. He asked the collector custom to take notice of incidents of harassment of the custom clearing agents.

Replying to the demands of the KPCCI president, Collector Customs Rahman assured of raising all these concerns with departments concerned and the issue of imposition of Regulatory Duty on import of 731 items would be taken up with Ministry of Commerce, Finance and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

He said the reservation of business community of KP over implementation of regulatory duty would be conveyed to concerned quarters. He said Custom department would play its effective role in facilitating the business community of the country in general and KP in particular. He said that they would work to develop a liaison between his department and business community to address the issues causing problems for the latter.

FBR approaches PARCO, OICCI to

enhance tax return filing

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has further widened the scope of its ongoing taxpayer outreach programme by reaching out to the management of PARCO and members and office-bearers of OICCI with a view to creating awareness regarding discharging tax obligations by the taxpayers. The contacts are being made as part of a countrywide exercise started last month by FBR to reach out to more than 50 large public and private sector organisations for roping in their support for the FBR's drive for filing of Income Tax returns which expires on October 31, 2017. In order to improve the number of tax filers and create awareness about the advantages of filing of returns, FBR Member Facilitation and Taxpayer Education (FATE) Nausheen Javaid Amjad visited Karachi and held separate meetings with PARCO Managing Director Tariq Rizavi as well as members and office-bearers of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), including OICCI Secretary General Abdul Aleem.

During the meetings, Nausheen said FBR was aware of the organisations and companies diligently fulfilling their responsibility of reporting salary paid and taxes withheld from their employees. However, the employees of these companies were only fulfilling half of their legal obligation and skipping the part that required them to file their tax returns and become filers to reap a host of dividends and advantages accrued from the filing of returns, she added.

The PARCO MD and office-bearers of the OICCI lauded what they called a noble cause and initiative of FBR to create public awareness and improve the number of tax filers. They assured their full cooperation to make the FBR outreach campaign successful. Various proposals for simplifying and improving the procedures and business processes for filing of returns were also discussed and it was agreed to maintain and further enhance outreach efforts by FBR to build a stronger interface with the taxpayers.