ISLAMABAD ( BMZ REPORT )
Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications is devising clear-cut programmes to translate telecom development into measurable socio-economic benefits of nation.
Minister of State for IT and Telecom, Anusha Rehman on Tuesday said in this direction a team has been to work on a strategy to achieve development targets including projected figure of
additional employment creation to tune of 900,000 in next six years while targeting 20% broadband penetration and equivalent real GDP growth in next five years.
At a workshop on “Driving Sustainable Long Term Growth in Telecom Sector in Pakistan,” organized here by GSM Association here, she asked the industry to help their democratic government with their service innovation to realize all of these projections and to serve fellow citizens at their doorsteps.
The workshop was attended by Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and senior staff of Mobile Phone Operators GSMA Executives and industry’s experts.
Anusha Rehman said present government had assessed that the development of country into an information society and knowledge-based economy would be accomplished by building on
and strengthening four pillars – governance, public services, local software economy, and technology.
“We have all the intent and resolve to exploiting latest broadband technologies to facilitate engagement with organizations by citizens, businesses and other departments through a vision
to enable socio-economic development and spur the economic growth,” she said.
She said country’s newly invigorated telecom industry would surely be the engine for construction of a holistic digital ecosystem with infrastructure and institutional frameworks for
rapid delivery of next generation digital services, applications and relevant content.
The Minister said the new era began after the next generation spectrum award will lead to empowering people as it also marks a commitment on part of PML (N) government that it will let no obstacle come in the way of enabling every possible opportunity for people. “Surely they well and truly deserve all that the next generation of communications has in store for them,” she said and reiterated her resolve to support, develop and reinforce the investments of industry partners through proactive policy and regulatory measures.
She said Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) powered by modern day mobile broadband platforms are strong enablers of economic growth and also an important direct source of revenue, representing well in excess of 5 per cent of GDP in many countries, additionally delivering numerous social benefits.
“It is an agenda of our government to harness ICTs for enabling all of these benefits,” she added. The focus areas, she said are accelerated deployment of e-services and to develop applications and content to enable socio-economic development through digitalization of traditional sectors and also leveraging e-government to make Pakistan frontrunner in good governance through IT enablement at all levels.
Anusha Rehman assured that her Ministry is focusing on ensuring that the Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs), secured next generation licenses, have a conducive and supportive regulatory and policy framework going forward to focus on providing solution to the masses rather than focusing on resolution of sector problems.
The Ministry is also keen in resolving pressing issues such as taxation, right of way, telecom policy review, especially in wake of recent auction, she said added these issues have been taken up with higher authorities. “Our policy is surely going to cater to the long standing demand of the industry to lay out a full spectrum roadmap for the future and due framework to let markets play their role in this regard,” she said.
The Minister said now Pakistan has passed through the phase of supply side policies and we are moving towards demand side policies or at minimum towards a correct balance between supply and demand sides and assured “We will be proactive in making more spectrum resource available as the demand increases.”
She expressed the hope that this forum would help provide solutions for future as the best and brightest minds of industry gather for enabling growth and opportunity.
Chairman PTA said the spectrum auction to make mobile broadband services available to consumers was a landmark event.
He said for the consumers, availability of high speed mobile broadband services in both urban and rural areas will encourage a more connected community and promote e-commerce related activities. He also hoped that next generation mobile services will be an enabler towards GDP growth and introduce more innovative e-services.
In her welcome address, Head of GSMA Asia, Irene Ng spoke about a long-term vision for mobile industry. Vikram Raval, Public Policy Director, GSMA spoke about best practice for fairer and more sustainable taxation structure. Chief of Corporate Affairs at Telenor, Aslam Hayat also spoke on the occasion.