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The introduction of GST to replace the patchwork of state taxes is perhaps the Modi government’s greatest economic achievement. The new regime is expected to come into effect on July 1, 2017. Like everything in India, it’s complicated, with multiple bands and exceptions. It’s interesting that the 18 percent GST rate for telecom services is being challenged on the basis that it is a necessity. Imposing 18 percent tax on telecom is likely to increase the overall tax burden and therefore may have a negative impact on the consumers’ expenses.
They were extremely high to start with. But still, a good thing. Sri Lanka should be careful we don’t take over Pakistan’s position as the most taxed ICT sector. The breaks will see the withholding tax on mobile services drop from 14% to 12.5%, while federal excise duty will fall from 18.
The consequences of throwing the kill switch on the Internet are set out in Gyanendra’s Law and its various exceptions. In this context, an interview with the editor of the Kathmandu Post who experienced the throwing of the kill switch in Nepal by King Gyanendra himself is illuminating: UA: What was the impact of the internet shutdown on the media? PP: It was very, very difficult. At the time, all our correspondents were using the internet to send news and it became very chaotic to manage the newsroom. We were not in a position to send reporters to events.
The Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, the precursor to the NAFTA, was the first enforceable trade agreement to cover services. It’s always easier to negotiate with a few parties, than with many, especially when breaking new ground. But in this proposal to introduce new binding commitments in a tripartite agreement, they are proposing to take a chapter from a large plurilateral agreement and use it in a trilateral agreement. The NAFTA Parties could negotiate a new NAFTA Chapter on Digital Trade, using the Trans-Pacific Partnership e-commerce chapter as a starting point. Such provisions, which would be used in subsequent free trade agreements involving the NAFTA Parties, would provide an important counterweight to countries that are imposing unjustified restrictions on data flows; requiring that data storage be localized or that source code or other intellectual property be shared with local partners as a condition of doing business; restricting access to online content, which is creating a balkanized Internet; and undermining the private sector’s role in developing and maintaining a free and open Internet.
Linnet Taylor correctly points out that US case law does not have applicability outside the US. However, the third-party doctrine set out in the Smith v Maryland case differentiated between transaction-generated data on a telecom network and the content of what was communicated. Now there’s likely to be a different governing precedent, for those under US law: The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether the government needs a warrant to obtain information from cellphone companies showing their customers’ locations. The Supreme Court has limited the government’s ability to use GPS devices to track suspects’ movements, and it has required a warrant to search cellphones. The new case, Carpenter v.
The debate on zero rating has been heavy on overwrought analogies and light on actual evidence. Here is evidence from focus groups of people who actually use zero rating in Myanmar. Research conducted by Peter Cihon and Helani Galpaya with support from Mozilla Foundation and others. Perception and visibility aside, users do not remain within the ‘walled garden’. Most active zero-rated-content users also use other Internet services, including Google, news websites, and apps.
June 5th is the World Environment Day. This year’s theme is “Connecting People to Nature”. Connecting people to nature would be more effective and efficient if Ecosystem Goods and Services (EGSs) are better understood. The article attempts to understand the ecological incentives generated by EGSs to motivate people to connect with the environment in a continuous and sustainable manner.   More on this article is available http://www.
We have been of the opinion that electricity is an important as ICTs in putting money in people’s pockets and hope in their hearts. We have worked on how to improve electricity service and continue to work on different aspects of what is a multi-faceted problem. We would love to work on electricity in Myanmar. They sure need help. Unfortunately, Phyo Min Thein’s party, the National League for Democracy, has failed to deliver.
I have yet to receive a good answer to the question of why regulators require specific spectrum bands to be used for specific modes of “last mile” technologies. The most persuasive reasons have been tied to revenue maximization for government. The technical reasons are not very persuasive. It appears the Myanmar government is going to make USD 80 million x 3 (or 4) by giving this authorization. But anyway, it is good that 4G is being rolled out in this country where most phones are smartphones and are thus likely to be able to use 4G with just a change in settings.
As Sri Lanka is drying itself out after yet another disaster, people are beginning to ask what went wrong and what could be done better in the future. Some of the comments are not fair, for example the comparison of the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka responses, but most are useful. Every disaster must be treated as a learning opportunity. First, let’s get the Bangladesh comparison out of the way. Once a cyclone forms, its track can be seen from satellites.
I was not expecting media coverage for the discussions on BIMSTEC in Bangkok over the weekend. But there was quite a comprehensive report in a Bangladesh publication. Connectivity gaps, in terms of absent or insufficient road and rail connections, exist and need to be addressed and public-private partnerships can do so if handled intelligently, Samarajiva continued. The government must be involved to clear rights of way and because they can raise low cost money for infrastructure, while private entities can mobilise competitiveness, which he considers crucial. “Do not allow state monopolies to control them,” he said.

Priorities for BIMSTEC

Posted on May 28, 2017  /  0 Comments

At the end of a conference celebrating 20 years of BIMSTEC and 100 of Chulalongkorn University, I was on a panel that was tasked with identifying priorities for the organization. Given there were seven panelists each proposing three priorities and some more suggestions coming up from the audience, there was then a need to develop a rule to rank them. I proposed that we ask what tasks could only be done by a plurilateral organization and give those priority. For example, lowering of non-tariff barriers affecting simple trade in goods could be done bilaterally or even unilaterally. But creating the conditions for global production networks could not be done bilaterally.
Agricultural Instructors are a central component of the agricultural value chain. They are in charge of the agricultural advisory service and even help farmers to find markets and make cultivation decisions. There is, however, only a thin line between these extra activities they perform in addition to providing the advisory service. The central argument is that agriculture instructors often have enough incentive to effectively operate within the value chain. This means they may perform activities that are understood by some as implying a “conflict of interest”.
Unusual discussion Usually, what gets discussed on TV talk shows are big political issues. Somewhat unusually, the Derana Aluth Parlimenthuva Program focused on economic issues yesterday. My expectation was that it would be on the big news stories: oil tanks, India, growth rates, etc. I talked about the recently gained GSP Plus concession. This allows Sri Lankan firms to export some 6000 products into the EU, duty free.
The digital world is exploding with uncountable data. Millions of users generate information via thousands of sources every day. This data is then consumed for a number of purposes from business to entertainment. Is there a purpose and potential for big data beyond business and entertainment? The big data team at LIRNEasia is trying to answer this question.
It was almost seven years ago that Under Secretary General Noeleen Hayzer opened the door for our conversation on how to lower what we paid for Internet in Asia with ESCAP. Now we have a formal resolution: At the 73rd Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) member countries expressed support to developing seamless regional broadband connectivity, by adopting the resolution titled “Implementation of the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway initiative through regional cooperation”. The resolution was presented by Bangladesh, co-sponsored by China, Fiji, Islamic Republic of Iran, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and Thailand. ESCAP member States recognized that access to information and communications technology (ICT) are fundamental to reducing the digital divide, alleviating poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally agreed development goals in Asia and the Pacific. For us, this is good, but symbolic.