IT can lead to growth in export of services: PM


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that the information technology (IT) industry could be the basis for the growth in export of services.

He said IT, cyber connectivity and digitization should be promoted because the country’s growth was connected to the adoption of the latest modes of science and technology.

Mr Khan was addressing a signing ceremony for the award of approximately Rs1.3 billion in contracts by the Universal Service Funds to cellular network providers to provide voice and high speed mobile broadband data services in parts of Balochistan and Sindh.

The contract between USF and Jazz will cover Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki in Sindh, while the contract between USF and Ufone will cover Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Ziarat and Kalat in Balochistan.

The contracts were signed by USF CEO Haris Mahmood Chaudhry, Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim and Ufone CEO Rashid Khan.

Mr Khan said that this was in line with the government’s vision to uplift deprived parts of Sindh and Balochistan through a network of internet connectivity.

He said unequal development in the country has affected these areas.

He said the Karakoram Highway in Gilgit-Baltistan has connected inaccessible areas, helping improve the standard of living and educational facilities there.

The people of these areas also want the provision of e-learning and distance learning facilities through mobile phone services, he said.

“The MoU would lead to wider connectivity in these remote areas of Sindh and Balochistan, thus paving a way for development and prosperity,” he said.

He added that adult literacy could be achieved by spreading the internet system, and such connectivity would be vital for the fifth industrial revolution.

He said Pakistan has the second largest youth population in the world, which has “vibrant potential” and said the Ministry of IT should work further to tap IT skills.

The establishment of IT parks is also a significant step that will have a positive impact on exports, he said.

Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haq said that the ministry, through the USF, was committed to bridging the digital divide through the development, deployment and uptake of information communications technology (ICT) initiatives to make a difference in people’s lives.

He said that through these contracts, around 2.4 million people in 1,146 mauzas in Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Ziarat, Kalat, Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghoti would be provided high speed mobile broadband services, covering an unserved area of 34,660 square kilometres.

He said the projects had the potential to impact important areas such as healthcare, communications, agriculture and transportation. He said the ministry would continue to undertake more programmes, including setting up IT parks such as the ones that will open in Islamabad and GB soon.