IT & Telecom Minister Policy address at the ITU PP-22 conference in the presence of 186 ministerial delegations in Bucharest.
Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin-ul-Haque has said that partnering with Pakistan, the fifth largest and most populous country means partnering with a huge repository of capable and delivering youth. Pakistan has always been open to partnering in all areas that are mutually beneficial for all the stakeholders. It certainly includes technology as one of the preferred undertakings. This was he stated in his key policy address at the Ministerial Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU PP-22) in Bucharest, the capital of Romania on Tuesday.
Amin said; Pakistan has geared itself up for rapid adoption of Information and communication technology (ICT) to deliver the socio-economic development of the country which was committed to our people. Pakistan has vastly improved on programs to serve the rural community in a more effective manner. With respect to our Wireless Broadband Access program, provision of LTE technology has been made a mandatory part for the delivery of services. Country has increased the coverage and data throughput which will eventually benefit the end user. Reducing the sector’s emissions and following the approach of Green ICT UN’s SDG Goal 7 (Clean Energy), all Universal Service Fund projects now require Operators to power up their infrastructure through Solar Energy. Our Fiber Optic program has evolved as well.
We have introduced OPEX subsidy, Rationalized (subsidized) Tariffs and Access to Health facilities.
He said in last 4 years, since ITU PP-18, have been our busiest with respect to Universal Service Fund‘s (USF) outreach. Only in this period, we have contracted 79 new projects which is double the number of projects we did before this period since inception which was way back in 2007. The total coverage to more than 15000 rural/remote villages and 27.8 million people has been enabled in this period.
Our government envisions digital Pakistan “To bring Social and Economic Prosperity and Citizen Empowerment through Digital Transformation of Pakistan”. We are working on a holistic digital ecosystem for Pakistan with advanced concepts and components for the swift delivery of next generation digital services.
Highlighted the Digital Pakistan vision IT Minister said; The implementation plan will position the nation for accelerated digital transformation, matching the pace of leading economies, resulting in greater economic opportunities, efficient public administration and governance structures, and the improved socio-economic well-being of its citizens. While working on Pakistan’s digitization roadmap three key principles on sustainability are not being ignored which are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are referred in our official meetings as 3Rs.
Stating regarding Flood situation in Pakistan Syed Amin-ul-Haque said that despite being lowest on global carbon emission ranking, Pakistan is one of the largest affectee of climate changes in the world. Recent floods in the country have been devastating and the havoc left behind is beyond explanation. That is why my Ministry, while going through cross-sectorial digital transformation, is emphasizing the need to close the loops of material and energy flows. Optimization of resources at different Government levels is already helping in reducing environmental impacts. Through a solar powered National Assembly and fully digitized federal cabinet sessions we are promoting less paper and energy efficient eco-system.
He further said that, Governments around the globe need to learn today from the tech sector; how emerging apps and platforms are empowering consumers to make more informed decisions about lifestyle and consumer choices. It is time to appreciate, acknowledge and adopt the thought process emerging out of today’s tech innovation which is a product of 4th Industrial Revolution. We are in the process of automating citizen services on modern lines in order to bring efficiency in the governance at every level.
“We are aiming to adopt an integrated approach as Government of Pakistan has identified key Strategic Enablers where interventions will prove vital in achieving the Digital Pakistan Vision. Such interventions will also improve Pakistan’s ranking and performance in various global indices as well as help in achieving SDGs” IT Minister added.
Furthermore Syed Amin-ul-Haque said; In recent years Pakistan’s ICT economy has achieved successive, stellar growth rates and is among the fastest growing sectors within Pakistan, thereby demonstrating the ability of Pakistan’s ICT industry to deliver IT solutions and services through sustainable models. Pakistan believes that ICT technologies can play a vital part in solving the climate change issues that the world is facing and is making an all-out effort to ensure broadband coverage for all Pakistanis, reducing digital gaps, enhancing digital skills and accelerated adoption of E-Government in line with ITU’s Strategic plans for 2024 -2027 and all this through a Sustainable policy framework.
He said that enormous incentives are being given to foreign investors, especially in the IT and Telecommunication sector, and this is the most suitable time for investment in Pakistan.
Later on the sidelines engagements; Federal IT Minister Syed Amin-ul-Haque attended various meetings with IT and Telecommunication Ministers and Head of Missions of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, United Kingdom, Egypt, Ghana, Japan and Malaysia. On these occasions, it was agreed on joint initiatives and mutual cooperation regarding cyber security, cloud policy, digitization including enhancement of relations in ICT sector.
Pakistani delegation led by Syed Amin-ul-Haque along with Permanent Representative of Pakistan to UN Office in Geneva Khalil Hashmi, Pakistani Ambassador to Romania Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Former Minister Anusha Rahman (Candidate for BDT), Member IC, Ajmal Awan and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Service Fund Haaris. Mahmood Chaudhary.