Seminar on ‘Social Impacts of USF’ held in Lahore

Federal Secretary MoIT and Telecom Mr. Naguibullah Malik addressing the 2nd National Seminar on “Social Impact of USF Initiatives”

Lahore (PPA) Federal Secretary IT & Telecom Mr. Naguibullah Malik has emphasized the need for joint efforts to achieve the goal set by the Universal Service Fund (USF) working under his Ministry.

He was delivering his presidential speech at the 2nd National Seminar on “Social Impact of USF Initiatives”. The seminar was organized by “Teletimes International” sponsored by Worldcall Telecom Ltd and Huawei Technologies Pakistan.

Dr. Mohammed Yaseen, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) was the chief guest and Mr. Babar Ali Syed, chief executive officer at Worldcall Telecom Ltd was the guest of honor at the event. The seminar was attended by important officials from public and private sectors, academia, NGOs, trade and industry and media.

Mr. Parvez Iftikhar, Chief Executive Officer of Universal Service Fund – Mr. Nadfeem K.Haq, Chairman  Punjab Chief Minister’s task force on ICT – Dr. Shehla Javed Akram, President, Central & North Punjab Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry – Mr. Riaz Asher Siddiqui, Senior Vice President, SAMENA Telecommunications Council – Mr. Abid Hussain Gill, Project Coordinator (Punjab) JICA – Mr. Arif Masud Mirza, Head of ACCA Pakistan – Mr. Faisal Malik, Head of IT, Kashf Foundation – Dr. Arshad Hussain – Director, FAST National University, Lahore – Dr. Abdul Raheem, Director, Institute of Management Sciences ( PAK AIMS ), Lahore and Mr. Khalid Athar, Chief Editor, Teletimes International also spoke on the occasion.

While addressing the seminar Mr. Naguibullah Malik, Secretary, Ministry of IT & Telecom, Government of Pakistan said, different departments, organizations and institutions from public and private sector should join hands together as coordinated effort are required to achieve the goal set by the Universal Service Fund.. He assured that the Ministry of IT & Telecom through USF would extend full support establishing infrastructure in rural areas and widening the broadband coverage in less developed areas. He appreciated the efforts of Teletimes International for highlighting the efforts and achievements of Universal Service Fund by holding this series of Seminars at different locations of the country.

Dr. Mohammed Yaseen, Chairman PTA, while addressing the seminar as chief guest said, There is lot of potential for the telecom sector in the rural areas of the country and

USF is helping the industry come forward and explore the vast market. He said currently around 0.6 million people are using broadband connection, which would expand rapidly in the coming three years. “We are making arraignments for expanding the base of broadband, as it is vital for economic growth”, he said, adding that currently the broadband growth is 10 to 12 percent and “we are aiming 150 percent. He said there is a potential for generating revenue from rural areas through improved infrastructure. The PTA Chairman said the telecom network is being broadened to Afghanistan and Central Asian States and around PKR 120 billion of revenue is collected through the sector.

Mr. Parvez Iftikhar, chief executive officer Universal Service Fund said,. Looking at the potential in the rural areas; USF is making best efforts for improving the infrastructure. He said out of PKR 22 billion around PKR 14 billion is provided by the USF for improving rural areas infrastructure. He said 50,000 broadband connections are added and four agreement were signed by the USF with different telecom operators.

Mr. Babar Ali Syed  also addressed the seminar and thanked Mr. Naguibullah Malik, Dr. Mohammed Yaseen and  other guests to grace the occasion with their presence. He also appreciated Teletimes International for organizing the seminar open USF.

Earlier, Mr, Khalid Athar, Chief Editor Teletimes International said in his welcome address, that under the Ministry of IT & Telecom , USF has been striving to extend Telecom services to un-served  or under-served areas in smaller towns and cities to bridge the actual digital divide. He said, the technological impact on business, agriculture, health, education, poverty reduction, environment, security and society in general will be significant after the successful implementation of USF objectives. Government departments, industries, NGOs and different private entities involved in education and health in above areas have to be apprised about the social impact and change that will happen after provision of telecom services and Broadband in USF target areas. To achieve this goal “Teletimes International” decided to hold a series of seminars in different locations of Pakistan and the first seminar was held on 20th August 2009 in Islamabad. He informed that after this 2nd seminar in Lahore, two seminars will be held in Karachi and Quetta as well in near future.

Chairman PTA Dr. Mohammed Yaseen and CEO Worldcall Telecom Mr. Babar Ali Syed presented the mementos of the seminar to the speakers and other distinguished guests. (PPA)