Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Reform has said that the government intends to transform Pakistan into a mini information super power by 2025 through harnessing potential of the country in ICT sector. The size of ICT sector can be developed from current $2 billion to over $20 in next ten years, he said.
The Minister said Pakistan’s long term plan 2025 aims to develop knowledge pillars of the economy so that Pakistan can realize fast growth trajectory in development and becomes competitive economy in global market. He was addressing meeting of top Pakistani entrepreneurs, IT professionals, and academia of Silicon Valley, the global capital of IT industry.
The Minister said that the government has inherited serious challenges but it is determined to overcome the problems of lawlessness, load shedding, and economic slowdown. The government is adopting a collaborative approach and wants to forge a partnership of public sector, private sector, academia, and Pakistani Diaspora for turnaround of the economy, he said and added that Pakistan is considered as one of the fastest growing and developing market in ICT sector.
In the last eight years, it has attracted an investment of over eight billion dollars and has tele density level of over seventy four percent. Broadband subscribers have crossed the figure of 2.8 million in September 2013, with a truly remarkable growth rate of 100% over the last three years. Pakistan has become a leader in the region by launching WiMAX services.
Pakistan is in the process of completing Spectrum Auction of 1.9/2.1 GHz of paired spectrum, for the Introduction of Next Generation Mobile Services in Pakistan by February 2014. Pakistan has a large pool of English speaking, technically skilled manpower in the field of IT – a rich resource capable of significant contributions around the world, the Minister said.
Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said that the Government is encouraging local manufacturing of telecommunication equipment especially terminal devices: WiMAX CPE and other fixed wireless terminals. Investors are encouraged to establish R and D and manufacturing units in the IT/Telecom domain to take advantage of a market of 180 million people.
The Government is assigning top priority to e-Governance initiatives (e-Gov applications, strategy frameworks and policy documents) for transparency, improved service delivery, and bringing speed and efficiency in public sector. The Government is also in the process of setting up a state-of-the-art data centre for e- government, the Minister remarked.
The Minister invited a delegation of Silicon Valley IT companies to Pakistan for exploring opportunities of expansion in ICT sector. Representatives of ICT firms pointed out that Pakistan-based operations were delivering better results than many other major offshore operations and the professional skills of Pakistani ICT human resource are second to none in the world. It was agreed that a delegation of Silicon Valley firms would visit Pakistan next month to finalize a roadmap for the future.