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‘Digital Silk Road’ on track as Afghanistan and Turkmenistan connect 

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(Last Updated On: January 21, 2021)

Thursday marked another milestone in Afghanistan’s modern history when President Ashraf Ghani inaugurated the new fiber optic connection between Turkmenistan and the commercial port of Aqina in Afghanistan’s Faryab province.

Within four months of having signed the memorandum of understanding with government the Afghan Wireless Communication Company (AWCC) had successfully completed the task of connecting the two neighboring countries. 

In a virtual address at the launch, Dr Ehsan Bayat, the founder and chairman of AWCC, said he was “delighted” to celebrate the company’s success in connecting Afghanistan with its friends in Turkmenistan – especially given the past year that has involved unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, which also impacted people’s ability to connect with each other across the globe. 

“When Afghan Wireless embarked on the journey to build Afghanistan’s largest nationwide fiber network, we did so with the goal of realizing President Ghani’s vision to transform the country into a hub of digital data connectivity for Central Asia. 

“Today marks an important milestone in the building of a digital silk road across the region with Afghanistan at its center; a road that will connect millions of Afghans to the digital economy.

He said the latest optical fiber connection, between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, is the country’s fifth and sixth international border connections. Others include Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan. 

“From Mazar to Jalalabad, and from Kabul to Kandahar to Kunduz, communities across the country are benefiting from high-speed connectivity. And now our connection to Turkmenistan through Torghundi and Aqina will enable Herat and western cities to become Afghanistan’s next major bridge for digital transformation,” he said.

However, Bayat stated that the impact of AWCC’s project should not be measured in kilometers of fiber laid, or megabytes of data transmitted, or even money invested but instead, it should be measured by the industries revitalized, the local businesses boosted, the jobs created, the pace of economic development and the enhancement to critical services in health, education, commerce and finance.

“This project could not be delivered without Afghanistan and Turkmenistan working together. 

“Afghan Wireless’ optical fiber connection between the two countries that we are celebrating today is a powerful testament that when we work hand in hand with our neighbors, not only do we strengthen our countries individually, but we also strengthen our region together,” he said.

The Turkmenistan to Aqina cable has the capacity to transfer 2,500 megabits of the Internet and can therefore provide high quality and cheap Internet to Faryab province.

According to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, a fiber-optic network is the result of the rapid development of telecommunications and information technology, which has become an integral part of modern life.

The ministry states that along with the progression of technology and innovation, the shape and quality of tools have also changed to a great extent.

At the beginning of the invention of the telephone, copper cables were used to transmit information and sound, but today, with the advancement of technology and increasing human needs, these cables have been replaced by a new generation of signal conductors or fiber optics.

Because of the need for fast and cheap digital connectivity in the country, Government has already connected a total of 25 provinces in the country with the national fiber-optic network.

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IEA’s Ministry of Finance: The recent report of SIGAR is far from the truth

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(Last Updated On: February 6, 2023)

The Ministry of Finance of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) considered the recent report of “SIGAR” about companies and institutions in Afghanistan to be far from the truth and rejected it.

In the announcement that was published by this ministry on Sunday (5th January), it is stated: “The Office of the Special Inspector General of the United States of America for Afghanistan “SIGAR” has claimed in its quarterly report to the US Congress that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, receives money from those organizations and institutions that work in the field of humanitarian aid; under the license fee, tax and administrative fees, which provide a large part of Afghanistan’s revenue The Ministry of Finance of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers the said report to be far from the truth and rejects it separately.”

“The Ministry of Finance has exempted those organizations and institutions that are active in the field of humanitarian aid, No money is received from them, and no administrative expenses are imposed on them.” Read the ministry statement.

The Ministry of Finance has also added that in all the country’s customs, the customs tariff of the goods imported by these organizations and institutions has reached zero, and the goods of the mentioned institutions enter the country without tax.

According to this ministry, only license fee is taken from foreign organizations and institutions, which is a small amount and has a legal framework and is balanced with other countries and has no effect on Afghanistan’s national income.

The Ministry of Finance has assured that the organs of the Islamic Emirate, including the Ministry of Finance, provide administrative, financial and security facilities for the organizations and institutions that operate in the field of humanitarian aid and are committed to all their promises in this field and in the distribution and sending of humanitarian aid they are partners with them.

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Flour mill opens in Herat province

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(Last Updated On: February 5, 2023)

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce says that a new flour mill has opened and is now operational in Herat province.

Afghan Industry and Commerce Minister Nooruddin Azizi, inaugurated the flour mill, which is privately owned, on Saturday in the presence of an accompanying delegation.

According to the ministry, Azizi thanked the business owner for investing in the mill, which was built in Phase 1 of Herat Industrial Park at a cost of $1.2 million.

The flour mill will be able to produce 180 tons of flour per day, and has provided employment for more than 700 people.

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Afghanistan, Pakistan sign draft convention to avoid double taxation

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(Last Updated On: February 4, 2023)

Afghanistan and Pakistan have signed a draft convention to avoid double taxation between the two countries.

The convention was signed after three-day talks concluded in Islamabad on Friday, Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue said in an announcement.

The Afghan delegation was headed by Revenue Legal Services Director Nida Muhammad Seddiqi while FBR’s International Tax Operations DG Sajidullah Siddiqui headed the Pakistani delegation.

The sides thoroughly deliberated over all the outstanding issues identified during the second round of negotiations held in Islamabad from 27th-30th December, 2021.

FBR Chairman Asim Ahmad thanked the Afghan delegation for visiting Pakistan and expressed optimism that the convention will further strengthen economic relations between the two countries.

Pakistan’s special envoy for Afghanistan welcomed the move as “another important step forward.”

“It took us some 12 years to cross this milestone. Investors, contractors and businesses on both sides will benefit significantly,” Mohammad Sadiq said on Twitter.

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