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ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has constituted committee under the chairmanship of Minister for Industries and Production, Hammad Azhar to finalise recommendations on manufacturing of SIM and smart cards in the country.

On November 16, 2020, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication informed the ECC that the digital transformation and creation of enabling eco-system was one of the key objectives of the Government of Pakistan.

In the era of digital services, SIMs and smart cards are of pivotal importance. Local manufacturing of these commodities needed to be promoted for various reasons. In order to move forward, a cross stakeholders' committee was constituted under the orders of the Prime Minister for making recommendations vide notification dated 9th October, 2019. The Committee held a series of meetings with concerned stakeholders including Engineering Development Board (EDB), Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs), Law Enforcement Agencies, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Local SIM Manufactures.

A detailed report was submitted by Ministry Information Technology and Telecommunication to the Prime Minister's Office followed by a summary containing recommendations for strategic way forward. The Prime Minister directed that such recommendations were to be presented before the ECC.

The ECC members went through the recommendations submitted in the summary but did not approve due to reservations of some of the members.

After brief discussion on the summary of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and way forward for local manufacturing of SIMs/ smart cards in Pakistan, the ECC constituted a sub-committee of the ECC under the chairmanship of Minister for Industries and Production comprising Secretaries, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Ministry of Industries and Production, Board of Investment (BOI) and Chairman, FBR to examine the recommendations in the summary, in a holistic manner and submit way forward thereon to the ECC for consideration.

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication will provide secretariat support to the Committee.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020