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ISLAMABAD: Reforms in the telecommunication sector in Pakistan and the facilities provided to mobile operators have paved way for investment in mobile networking in Pakistan, said Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haq.

“The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is taking important steps for encouraging skilled entrepreneurs,” said the minister, while addressing at a function where GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion announced three start-ups (out of 597 start-ups applications received from 44 countries) from Pakistan as winners for the total grant of around Rs146 million.

The winner start-ups include Vceela, Knowledge Platform and Orenda Pakistan.

Haq distributed certificates among the winners at a ceremony, here on Wednesday.

Secretary IT Dr Sohail Rajput, Member International Coordination Ajmal Awan, senior officials from the MoITT and GSMA were also present on the occasion.

Haq said that Ministry of IT and Telecom was fully committed to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan.

He appreciated the efforts of the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), and said that revolutionary changes in the field of telecommunication in Pakistan were now being recognised all over the world.

Haq further said that for the first time in the tenure of the present government that from the preparation of the Right of Way Policy to its approval and implementation was made, which could not be done in the last 24 years.

Steps were also being taken to provide 3G and 4G services across the country, he added.

He said the corona pandemic had changed the economic and social map of the world and now the priorities had changed in many areas but information technology and telecommunication was a sector whose formula had not changed and its use and the trend had increased tremendously.

He said “today is the age of information technology and our youth will have to harmonise with modern technology.” The IT minister said it is a matter of pride for us that not only national but also international organisations are acknowledging the projects of the MoITT.”

The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Pakistan among the best countries in terms of the affordability of ICT services.

Pakistan is ranked fourth in the Global Freelance industry, providing excellent technical resources in various technology fields.

“ITU has announced Pakistan’s National Incubation Centres ‘Ignite’ as one of the champion of projects of its environment category at World Summit on the Information Society Prizes 2021,” he added.

Julian Gorman, Head of Asia Pacific, GSMA said that digital technologies were set to transform the way people live and work in Pakistan.

As we saw in the GSMA 2020 Digital Societies Report, which tracks the progress of 11 focus countries in Asia Pacific, Pakistan is advancing its societal, economic and digital ambition, as outlined in Digital Pakistan Vision. Indeed, our report’s digital society index tracked Pakistan in achieving one of the highest increases in its overall score.

He said that by 2023, the economic contribution of the mobile industry in Pakistan was expected to reach $24 billion, accounting for 6.6 percent of the GDP.

In an effort to stimulate this growth, Pakistan has recently moved forward with significant mobile services tax reforms.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021