IT is Not on Govt’s Priority List: CM Intel Pakistan

Naveed Siraj, Country Manager Intel, has said that IT has never been the government’s priority. He added that from the actions of the ministry and its initiatives, it is evident that policies have not been made for ICT progress and development in the country.

Speaking to the media in an annual briefing held on Thursday, he said the government always focuses on the telecommunication part of the industry and lesser attention is given to IT sector, which is the reason that the ICT infrastructure has not been built up in the country sufficiently.

From the actions of the ministry and its initiatives, it is evident that policies have not been made for ICT progress and development in the country.

I found a broadband policy of the country that was formulated in 2004. The IT policy was drafted and revised many times in the past years but its final version has yet to be approved by the government, Siraj said. “The government should now focus on IT and approve its much-awaited policy which has been waiting for its approval from the policy-makers.”

Siraj pointed out that the country failed to continue with the ICT infrastructure development projects under the schemes of Universal Service Fund (USF), which aimed to develop IT infrastructure in the rural areas to promote literacy.

He said the government policy should be in line with the strengthening private sector in the IT industry, which could have attracted a lot of investment in the country. Companies like Intel see Pakistan as a high potential market where 120 million young people will be consumers in future. There are also other big corporations ready to invest in Pakistan but the government must focus on these factors seriously to allure them, he said.

The government should now focus on IT and approve its much-awaited policy which has been waiting for its approval from the policy-makers: Naveed Siraj

There are big opportunities in the Pakistan because the local market is largely untapped but there is a proper process through which the government has to present the potential in a country to foreign investors, who need information and assurances to establish their business in offshore markets.

One of the things that has seen an increase in demand is data. This is highlighted by the fact that one of the biggest telecom operators in the country is running a big data center. Data will drive the market as far as profitability of the companies is concerned because margins on voice business have been squeezed and data has great scope to make money in the country.

He said that Intel is working to provide a knowledge based portal to students and faculty members of engineering discipline in 20 universities for research which will continue in the next year and more universities and higher educational institutions will be taken on-board.