Telecom Sector Gets Status Of Industry: IT Minister

Telecom sector gets status of Industry: IT Minister

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 11th Mar, 2021 ) :Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque on Thursday said that telecommunication sector has been given the status of industry and it will enjoy the benefits at par with other industries.

Addressing a press conference he said, "This will be a good news for the telecom sector and for the nation that the federal cabinet has approved to give status of industry to telecom sector and now onward the industry will enjoy all the benefits, which the other industries of the country are availing. " The government considering the request of IT ministry, has reduced federal excise duty 6 percent along with tax reduction on various services to give maximum benefit to the general public and telecom sector.

He said that Rs 250 being paid on the purchase of any sim had also been withdrawn and this will be beneficial for the public.

Sharing the achievements of his ministry he said, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) export remittances including export of Telecommunication, computer and information services, surged to US $958 million at a growth rate of 40% during July-December of FY 2020-21, in comparison to US $684 million during July-December of FY 2019-20. Steps are being taken to increase IT exports, he added.

Syed Amin Haque said that that the target had been set to achieve $5 billion from export of information technology services during the next three years.

About the provision of broadband services across the country, the Minister said that the Ministry of IT through its attached department Universal Service Fund (USF) is taking initiatives to provide broadband services both in un served and under served areas across the country.

He said that work on 32 various projects with the cost of Rs 22 billion had been started to provide connectivity to un served and under served areas with the help of USF.

"During last six months work on 15 projects had been started to provide quality connectivity to un served and under served areas and bring them at par with developed areas," the ministry said, He said that work was also underway to provide connectivity on Highways and Kararkuram highways.

" An agreement had been signed to provide connectivity to 1300 km roads, " he added.

The minister termed the Pakistan's First Right of Way Policy as a milestone towards "Digital Pakistan". He said objective of policy was to promote the modern telecommunication services, resolve issues regarding establishment of telecommunication systems and introduction of fast track processes for the provision of Right of Way through One Window Operation.

"Today we have 176 million mobile and smart phones connections with more than 83% tele-density," said IT minister.

He said that the need for high proliferation of mobile broadband services in the country and its impact on overall GDP and productivity was highlighted during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

He said today, it was promising to see that with 93 million subscribers of broadband services, the growth of Digital Financial Services and other services were being led by the Telecom Sector.

"Pakistan has a highly robust Public Private Partnership Mechanism Whereby Digital Divide is being bridged through the Telecom Sector's contribution of 1.5 % of Annual Gross Revenue in the Universal Service Fund & 0.5% was being contributed towards the Research & Development Fund leading towards Incubation and start-ups eco systems", the minister added.

Syed Amin Ul Haque said that the IT Chak Shahzad, 8km away from Islamabad which included construction of G+9 Multi-storeys building with two basements for parking at the total area of the land is 15 acres will be inaugurated soon.

He said that PC-1 for the construction of IT Park in Karachi had already been approved.

To a question he said as per the vision and directions of Prime Minister Imran Khanstep had been taken for the provision of connectivity to tourists destinations. To another question he said, there was no restriction on mobile companies to operate in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir.