PM for maximum utilisation of IT sector's potential

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday stressed upon the need of maximum utilization of opportunities in the Information and technology sector as the country possessed immense potential in this field.

He said the government was taking all possible steps for the promotion of IT sector and urged the IT industry to play its role in the country’s economy by supporting the government.

The prime minister chaired a meeting on the matters related to Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications and National Information Technology Board.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal (via video link), Minister for Economic Affairs Ahad Khan Cheema, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecom Shaza Fatima Khawaja, PM’s Coordinator Rana Ahsan Afzal and relevant senior officials, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

During the meeting, the prime minister observed that Pakistani entrepreneurs had played a very critical role in the promotion and development of IT sector. He directed for taking of suitable steps for improving the quality of 4G services in the country.

The prime minister while underscoring the need of taking practical steps, on priority basis, to enhance IT export, directed for resolution of issues faced by the IT industry for further enhancing of harmony between the government and the IT industry. The Governor State Bank of Pakistan was directed that there should be no hurdles from the banks with regard to the debit cards and foreign currency issues of the exporters of software products.

The prime minister also underlined that the Higher Education Commission, universities and the training institutes should work on priority basis to increase the number of IT professionals, adding that the IT courses should be brought in conformity with the requirements of the relevant industry.

He directed for holding of consultations with the private sector aimed at encouragement of startups and provision of facilities to them. The prime minister, in the meeting, asked for constitution of a special committee to evaluate the performance of National Information Technology Board.

The meeting was apprised that to achieve the target of country’s IT exports worth $25 billion till 2029, tech services and captive IT business would be broadened, besides Pakistan Digital Commission was also being established and in this regard, required legislation was being made.
With automation in the government to government, government to business transactions, innovations would be brought in health, education and agriculture sectors.

Under Pakistan DigitalNation project, the government affairs and economy would be digitized, it was further added.

The prime minister was apprised that in the next five years, a target of imparting training to about 1.5 million people in IT sector had been set. A total of 200,000 persons would be given training in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cyber security in the next five-year.

The meeting was further informed that under public private partnership, the international certifications would be ensured for the IT professionals whereas master training programmes would be initiated for the IT professionals. Three IT parks and 250 e-Rozgar centers would be established, it was further added.

During the meeting, various proposals were presented for the promotion of telecommunication sector through short, medium and long terms measures. The target for taking mobile broadband coverage upto 100MBPS was also set while the fiber penetration would be enhanced to 12 percent.

The prime minister was apprised that facilities would be provided to startups with regard to health tech, AI, financial tech and agri tech, while tax exemption steps would be taken for the startups.

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