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Economy

No increase in fares of 100 passenger trains

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Trains' punctuality improved by 90%

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Thursday categorically said that there was no increase in the fares of 100 passenger trains.
Taking to media persons here at the Parliament House, the minister said that Pakistan Railways had increased only 7 to 12 percent in the fares of 20 passenger trains which would be charged from December 7.
Sheikh Rashid said the fare of Pakistan Express running between Peshawar to Karachi would remain unchanged at Rs 1350.
The minister said PR was going to start two new freight trains and first would be inaugurated on December 25 and the second one in the first week of January, adding that Rahman Baba passenger train would also launch on December 23.
To a question, Sheikh Rashid said that the performance of Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs Asad Umar was appreciable but some lobbies are trying to flop the government’s economic agenda.
He conceded that inflation witnessed a slight increase but it was due to the plundering of national wealth by the past rulers.

 

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Business

Making writing instruments industry vibrant

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on commerce, Textile, Industries, Production, and Investments Abdul Razak Dawood today said all necessary measures would be taken to make the writing instruments industry competitive and vibrant so that it could meet the local demands as well as exports.
A delegation of Writing Instruments Association called on him and discussed issues faced by the local writing instruments industry, a press release said.
They informed that the smuggling through Afghan Transit Trade is hurting the domestic stationary industry particularly pencil manufacturing, The delegation further urged that regulatory duties may be imposed on the import of pencils so that local industry is protected.
The adviser assured the industry representatives that a level playing field would be provided to the domestic industry. “National Tariff Policy is going to fix tariff anomalies besides protecting local industry” he added.

 

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Asia

Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

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Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks gained slightly on Monday as investors bought on dips following a sharp decline late last week, while their focus shifted ahead of a US Federal Reserve meeting.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which dropped more than two percent on Friday, rose 0.62 percent or 132.05 points to close at 21,506.88, while the broader Topix index was up 0.13 percent or 2.04 points at 1,594.20. “Buy-back was seen among shares in major companies following a sharp decline on Friday,” Daiwa Securities senior technical analyst Hikaru Sato told AFP. “But the buy-back was not strong enough to boost shares further,” Sato said, adding that it may take more time to improve market sentiment.
Takashi Hiroki, the chief strategist at Monex, said the two-day US Fed meeting that ends on Wednesday is “the most important event this week” and investors are watching for the pace of rate hikes in 2019. “Falls in US shares (last week) is said to be caused by weak economic data in China and Europe, but these are not new factors,” he said in a commentary, adding that current market sentiment is vulnerable to “even the slightest worries given the prevailing uncertainty”.
In Tokyo, SoftBank’s initial public offering on Wednesday will also likely have an impact on the market, analysts said. The dollar fetched 113.51 yen in Asian afternoon trade against 113.29 yen in New York late Friday. Banks were higher, with Mitsubishi UFJ trading up 0.13 percent to 583.9 yen, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial up 0.56 percent at 3,939 yen and Mizuho Financial up 0.22 percent at 179.7 yen. Nissan was down 0.27 percent at 929.9 yen ahead of its board meeting to discuss corporate governance and choosing a replacement for former chairman Carlos Ghosn, after his arrest and dismissal. Rival Toyota was up 0.16 percent at 6,840 yen but Honda was down 0.13 percent at 3,050 yen.

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Economy

‘Digitization provides ecosystem for fin. inclusion’

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LAHORE: Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Tariq Bajwa has said that digitization provides an ecosystem for financial inclusion which plays a vital role in economic growth.
Talking to media at a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signing ceremony among Punjab Government, SBP and One-Link here at Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) office, he appreciated the PRA for the initiative which would empower the commoner and taxpayers.
He also pointed out three priority areas of the economy including agriculture, provision of low-cost housing and SME, besides two cross-cutting areas Islamic Banking and financial inclusion through digitization of payment system.
To a question about declining revenue of provincial revenue authorities, Tariq Bajwa said Supreme Court of Pakistan barred the government from collecting taxes from mobile users which affected it.
He pointed out that it would be resolved soon with some alternate solution.
On this occasion, Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said since coming to power, Punjab government had been striving to improve the business environment and provide maximum facilitation to the business sector which was the backbone of the economy. With the introduction of this facility, taxpayers would no longer need to visit banks and stand in queues to deposit their taxes, thus the compliance cost of the taxpayers would be reduced, he added.
The finance minister said the government intended to make the facility available for all provincial taxes. However, the Punjab Revenue Authority had taken the lead in this regard and payment of Sales Tax on Services through alternate delivery channels would be available by the end of December. Subsequently, the facility would be incrementally expanded to cover taxes collected by the Excise and Taxation Department and the Board of Revenue.
He appreciated the PRA for implementing the Punjab government’s vision by making of e-PRA and smart revenue organizations reliant on information technology, where the direct contact between taxpayer and tax collector was minimized. Future projects in the pipeline included pre-populated returns and algorithmic mass audits, he mentioned.
Punjab Chief Secretary Yousef Naseem Khokhar stressed the need for ease of doing business and committed that the provincial government would continue to work towards this direction.

 

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