President Alvi calls for taking immediate measures for digitalisation of economy

Digitisation is essential to empower women and bring other deprived segments into economic mainstream of country

ISLAMABAD   -  President Dr Arif Alvi Monday called for taking immediate measures for digitalisation of the economy, which was essential to empower women and bring other deprived segments into the economic mainstream of the country.

The president, addressing the plenary session of the 24th Sustainable Development Conference here, said the disbursement of the cash assistance to women under Ehsaas program directly to their banks accounts would make the women more financially empowered.

He said the banks had also introduced schemes for women to make them establish their own businesses which would ultimately make them play a constructive role in the society.

The president said the COVID-19 pandemic had shown the world multiple ways to do the things online and the nations making the decisions accordingly would excel.

He lauded the society’s support as well as the government’s prudent police of smart lockdown and data-driven decisions to support the poor and economy which saved the people as well as the economy.

He also spoke high of the government’s mass vaccination drive which he said had helped to aware the masses about the importance of preventive care instead of curative one which was also costlier. He said Pakistan was the fourth largest country for the prevalence of diabetes which was also preventable.

President Alvi said the COVID pandemic also provided an opportunity to promote the online learning which the nation could not adopt earlier despite availability of tools.

The president said the think tanks like Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the organizer of the conference, should identify the new trends and exploit them. Highlighting the strengths of the Pakistani nation, he specifically mentioned the hosting of millions of Afghan refugees by the country which the developed countries could not do rather let them drown in the oceans. He also referred to the Pope Francis’ recent statement during his visit to a refugee camp at Greek Island of Lesbos, in which he termed the neglect of refugees “shipwreck of civilization.”

“Let us not let our sea (mare nostrum) be transformed into a desolate sea of death (mare mortuum),” he said, Pope had said according to media reports. President Alvi also asked the think tanks to ensure that their work was also bought by the opinion makers like the government and parliamentarians which otherwise would not have any impact base in the decision making.

Criticizing the trend of the fake news, the president urged the people to be cautious of the phenomenon which could adversely impact the nations and damage the people’s mindset.

Earlier, Executive Director SDPI appreciated the government’s timely steps to contain the pandemic and commodities’ prices which also saved the people from food scarcity.

He said the adoption of online life was essential as the information technology had made the people netizens of the internet world. He said 250 speakers from 20 countries would address the three-day conference who would ponder on new lessons and opportunities for sustainable development. SAPM Dr Sania Nishtar said the COVID pandemic had learnt the world that health was a national security issue and also compelled the people to do the things digitally.

She said Pakistan had put in place the largest social protection network which was declared the fourth fastest program by the World Bank and the third fastest in the world in the context of the pandemic.

Dr Sania said the government had been laying special emphasis on digitalization even prior to the pandemic as it had launched 20 programs under Ehsaas Initiative. She said Pakistan was the first country which was paying higher stipend to girls for their enrolment in schools.

Chairman Board of Director of SDPI Shafqat Kakakhel also appreciated the government’s smart lockdown policy, massive cash disbursement and targeted subsidy to contain commodities price hike. He said the SDPI’s research encompassed multiple subjects like climate change and environment besides providing advocacy on urgent issues.

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