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Govt achieves 13 goals out of 15 in developing IT sector, Dr. Umar Saif

Islamabad, 19 February, 2024 (GNP): The interim Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Dr. Umar Saif, declared the successful attainment of 13 out of 15 predetermined objectives during the brief 5-month period of the caretaker government.

In a video statement, he highlighted the positive impact of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) in supporting the IT sector, leading to increased exports by allowing companies to retain 50% of their export revenue in dollars.

Dr. Saif mentioned the establishment of the Telecom Tribunal to handle disputes in the telecom sector, replacing High Courts for more expedited resolutions. He emphasized the Ministry of Law’s role in nominating the Tribunal’s chairperson and members, promoting a specialized approach for efficient dispute resolution and progress in the telecom industry.

The minister discussed the removal of departmental hurdles by the Special Investment Facilitation Council for effective implementation of the Right of Way Policy. Additionally, he revealed plans for a research and development fund to support mobile phone manufacturing companies and foster growth in the sector.

Dr. Saif also outlined decisions to revamp IT education, including standardized quality tests for 75,000 IT graduates and the establishment of an Industry Placement Program. He stressed the importance of aligning educational institutions with industry requirements and providing industry-specific training to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and practical needs.

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Addressing freelancers’ concerns, Dr. Saif announced that payments would now be facilitated through PayPal via a third party, even though PayPal itself is not directly available in Pakistan.

The minister highlighted the approval of the National Space Policy, allowing international companies to provide communication services through low-orbit satellites. He expressed confidence in the launch of 5G services by July-August, with a 300MHz spectrum set for auction.

Dr. Saif discussed the establishment of 10,000 e-Rozgar centers to support freelancers and startups, providing them with necessary facilities. He anticipated a significant increase in IT exports with the completion of this project.

The government’s allocation of Rs 2 billion for the Pakistan Startup Fund to accelerate venture capital investment was also highlighted by the minister. He emphasized the fund’s role in supporting startups and contributing to Pakistan’s economic development.