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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal Saturday said that all political parties and institutions should collectively play their role to put the country’s economic direction on the right path.

“The country’s economic situation is not good and a single party, leader, and institution cannot overcome the prevailing situation. All the institutions and political parties should join hands to resolve the economic issues,” the minister expressed these views while addressing a round table conference on Digital Pakistan here on Saturday.

He said that Pakistan also needed collaborating efforts and that everyone should participate in the country’s economic development process. “In today’s world, the digital revolution had penetrated into every department creating a revolution across the world,” he said.

He said in the previous PML-N government had provided laptops to university students free of charge to adapt them according to the new emerging technology. “When we started providing laptops to the students, we laid the foundation of the IT revolution in the country as the laptop scheme was aimed at empowering youth digitally,” he said.

The minister said that more than one million laptops were provided to the youth which helped create a new class in IT entrepreneurship. He said that due to the scheme, freelancing in Pakistan developed rapidly and today the beneficiary individuals were earning hundreds of thousands of rupees monthly.

Economic challenges: minister asks officials to convene conference

The minister said that similarly through the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the government had made special funding for the youth and every university was asked to develop an incubation centre so that the startup culture should be developed among the youth to enable them to start their own businesses.

Iqbal said that he had tasked the HEC to arrange a roundtable conference to develop a special curriculum for universities that should be aligned with the industrial sector’s requirements.

The minister said that in 2017, he started four national centres of excellence in big data cloud computing, artificial intelligence, cyber security, automation robotic and applied mathematics. He said that the government was focusing on the private sector which would be given opportunities to flourish their businesses.

In the upcoming Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the minister said that the government would develop a special fund under which e-government projects would be financed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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