KARACHI: Federal Minister for Information Technology (IT) and Telecom Syed Amin-Ul-Haq on Saturday said that Pakistan's telecom industry market size and exports of IT services have grown considerably in recent years, and the country, in line with the Prime Minister Imran Khan's 'Digital Pakistan Vision' will roll out 5G technology, by December 2022.
Addressing as the chief guest at the 17th annual Pakistan Software Houses Association ([email protected]) ICT Awards ceremony held here at a local hotel, Amin-Ul-Haq said that connectivity is precondition for digitization. The ministry has been working on infrastructure development across the country. "This year alone, some Rs 18 billion have been earmarked for the connectivity related projects," he said.
In next three years, around Rs31 billion will be invested for the improvement connectivity, he said, adding the country will launch 5-G technology by December 2022 with a vision to further expand the telecom services and internet including to remote and backward areas of the country. Associated infrastructure development and prerequisites are being done. Frequent meetings are being convened with the stakeholders in this regard.
Minister said that he considers [email protected] as the representative organization of software and tech firms. "As soon as I assumed office charge, I vowed, IT ministry would give priority to the recommendations put forward by [email protected] The ministry has been working to ensure an ease of doing business in the country. A number of issues raised by [email protected] have been resolved."
Due to the government's pro-business policies, he said, Pakistan posted $ 2.1 billion exports of IT services in the last Fiscal Year, as against $1.4 billion previous year. The ministry has set a target of $ 3.5 billion exports for the next year.
"Smartphone for all it's our moto," he said. The industry has recommended the government to introduce a scheme through which smartphones can be offered to consumers on instalment basis. We have noted this recommendation, and will launch it at an appropriate time.
"PM Imran Khan stresses upon three things, meritocracy, transparency, and zero tolerance for corruption. I have been pursuing the same principle within the ministry," claimed the Minister.
Chairman [email protected], Badar Khushnood said that the strategic position of Pakistan's IT sector has improved considerably. Our exports have grown to billions of rupees. Our e-commerce is growing, public private partnerships are being developed, and the government itself is keen to support the market players.
"We have all seen the growth of [email protected] in recent years."
One of the reasons of the achievements is great partnership with ministry of IT. The PM's IT task force is doing good job. Public Private Partnerships have really delivered well. We need to see this in other businesses, as well. Institutional building within [email protected] has been focused in recent years. Our secretariat made very interventions with other non IT sectors, as well.
"We did a small intervention with SBP in e-commerce, and through which we were able to fetch exports of some $ 5 million during COVID-19," Khushnood said.
Chief Business Services Officer PTCL Business Solutions Zarrar Khan on this occasion said that PTCL has been working since the early days of Pakistan. "It has a national agenda," he said.
He expressed gratitude, and paid thanks to [email protected] for associating with PTCL in the journey of digital Pakistan. He said PTCL has been tasked by the government for the digital transformation in specific areas including digital information, access and connectivity, digital skills and training, innovation entrepreneurship, banking and financial services, education and healthcare etc.
Last two years have been phenomenal for the digital transformation as many things happened both locally and worldwide, he said, adding PTCL is developing softwares, cloud services, IT service management. System integration is an area we are working on. We are aspiring to be one stop solution.
Managing Director at Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) Osman Nasir said we are working along with [email protected] under the guidance of government. We are developing some 40 technology parks across Pakistan which will help software development industry, and create more jobs. Our next intervention would be on supply side, and infrastructure side. We are working with [email protected] to ensure the ease of doing business.
PSEB is promoting Pakistan's IT Industry in local and international markets. It facilitates the IT industry through a series of projects and programs in infrastructure development, human capital development, company capability development, international marketing, strategy and research, and the promotion of innovation and technologies.
MD Contour software Bilal Mahmood also shared the journey of his organization in Pakistan, and how it made difference in the lives of people.
Canadian High Commissioner Wendy Gilmour also spoke to the event, and appreciated the young Pakistani tech stars for their remarkable work of diffusion of innovations.
The event participants were informed that this year, [email protected] received hundreds of applications against 42 categories, not only from bigger cities but all across the country, which were then evaluated by more than 50 esteemed judges with phenomenal expertise in their relevant fields.
As per the event organizers, [email protected] ICT Awards is primarily aimed at providing recognition to software and service applications that have been developed in Pakistan, by providing companies with an opportunity to gain local, regional and international exposure through on-going promotional activities.
The awards have the credibility of recognizing the best talent and innovation in the country. Known as one of the biggest tech events of Pakistan, [email protected] ICT Awards have become a brand that takes pride in the transparency and rigor of its evaluation process which truly brings out the best in applicants to be celebrated as the "Tech Superstars"
Later, awards and certificates were distributed amongst the winners and runner-ups.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021