KARACHI: Digitisation offers innovative employment prospects to 23 percent of Pakistan’s population that falls in 20-34 years age group and can add $60 billion to Pakistan’s economy within next seven to eight years. The Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) has prepared a digital report 2022 titled, “Recommendations for Digital Transformation in Pakistan”.
The OICCI Managing Committee presented the digital report titled to the President of Pakistan, with an objective to set the country on its digital journey. The report covers suggestions on e-commerce, fintech, IT exports and web 3.0 technologies, etc.
The President showed his concern over the decline in business confidence influenced by the highly challenging political and economic situation during the past six months. He also appreciated OICCI took the lead to present recommendations to digitize the economy.
This report offers key recommendations to the policymakers on the various facets of the digital transformation of economy including suggestions for digital infrastructure and connectivity, government, private sector, and mass digital usage, emerging web 3.0 technologies and digital regulations to accelerate innovation in Pakistan. According to a research Report, a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration results in increasing the GDP by 1.4 percent.
Ghias Khan, President OICCI, emphasized that “Digitization can also help inclusion of the underserved population of society such as the far-flung areas of the country. Around 23 million children in Pakistan are out of school and we have less than 1 physician for 1000 people. To help Pakistan overcome these issues,” Ghias added, “it is important to digitize the education and health sectors in a phased manner, preparing National electronic health records, and arranging capacity-building workshops for the professionals.”
The report notes that in recent years, there has been tremendous development in Digital Financial Services. However, Pakistan is still a cash-based economy with less than 5.0 percent merchants accepting digital payments. Besides promoting digital mode of payments, the government also needs to encourage international e-commerce companies to set up regional offices in Pakistan. Indonesia worked on similar lines and now the e-commerce market size is worth $30 billion which is expected to reach $54 billion by 2025 and supports 26 million jobs directly and indirectly.
M Abdul Aleem, CE and Secretary General OICCI added “Digitization can bring a lot of efficiency to government services, boost productivity and help improve ease of doing business (EODB). Philippines can be a good example where public service delivery was digitized under the E-Government Master Plan (EGMP) which helped the country, ranked 95th position in EODB 2020 rating, registering an improvement of 29 notches. Our government should” he continued, “take the advantage of modern technologies such as Machine Learning, Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence to improve competence in public departments, document the economy and increase the tax revenues.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023