ISLAMABAD   -   The Universal Service Fund (USF) has awarded a contract worth approximately Rs2.07 billion to Ufone for providing high speed mobile broadband services in Kech district of Balochistan province.

Federal Minister for Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque and Federal Minister for Defence Production, Zubaida Jalal witnessed the contract signing ceremony held at the USF office on Friday. 

The contract was signed by Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO, USF, with Nadeem Khan, Acting CEO & Group Chief Financial Officer, Ufone. 

Federal Secretary for IT and Telecommunication, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and Chairman PTA, Maj. Gen (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa were also present at the ceremony. Sector Commander South, Brigadier Atif Bin Saeed and senior government officials from Turbat virtually attended the ceremony.

On the occasion, Syed Amin Ul Haque said, “In light of the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital Pakistan, the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication through USF has awarded yet another project for the socio-economic betterment of the people of Balochistan. Through the contract, residents of Kech district will reap the benefits of high speed internet in a span of 12-18 months. It is our priority to ensure that Balochistan remains at the forefront of technology development as we continue to work towards building a robust Digital Pakistan.

He also said that the digital connectivity will open unprecedented new possibilities for the marginalized communities of Kech district; enhancing their ability to work and transact online and engage in the digital economy.

The Ministry of IT and Telecommunication through USF has contracted various development projects worth approximately Rs7 billion to provide high speed mobile broadband services in districts of Chagai, Noshki, Bolan, Mastung, Panjgur, Gwadar, Ziarat, Jaffarabad and Pishin. These projects are expected to be completed within 12 to 18 months from the date of commencement”. 

In Balochistan, the youth are benefiting from DG Skills and Virtual University’s education programs. So far, 25,000 youngsters have completed free licensing courses amongst others through DG Skills. Similarly, through Virtual University programs, offline centers have been established in 9 districts whereby thousands of students can access educational courses without any internet service.

The minister shared that 3,500 students from Balochistan will be provided a 6-month paid internship with a monthly stipend of Rs20,000.

Syed Amin Ul Haque stated that the people of Balochistan should not be disappointed as the government is working hard for the development of Balochistan.

While addressing the ceremony, Federal Minister for Defence Production, Zubaida Jalal said that the IT Ministry’s development projects for the people of Balochistan are in line with the true spirit of Digital Pakistan and will play an important role in alleviating the marginalization of Balochistan and supporting the province to come at par with the developed world.