INet Conference Concluded in Islamabad

Chairman Board of Investment (BoI) and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Miftah Ismail Wednesday said that government is planning to introduce reforms which would help in improving business and investment environment in the country.

“The country came down by 2 points on the World Bank index of ease of doing business; however government is going to introduce reforms which would help in improving the business and investment environment”, said Ismail while addressing the concluding session of three-days INet Islamabad conference here in Islamabad.

Ismail said that economic indicators suggest macroeconomic stability in the country. He explained that when the incumbent government took over two and half years ago, inflation rate was about 12 percent, which came down to 1.6 percent last month on year on year basis while budget deficit decreased from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent.

Furthermore the interest rate reduced to 6 percent i.e. lowest in 42 years, he added.

Chairman BoI said that growth at the rate of 8 to 9 percent in agriculture and industrial sector is not possible with the obsolete technology, especially when country is facing power load shedding and gas shortage. There is dire need to introduce modern technologies in the country to get desired results, adding that focus is needed to be put on software exports. He further said that deliberations through such conferences are helpful in providing foundation for governmental ICT agenda.

Chairman PTA Syed Ismail Shah said that digital economy is on the priority list of the government and e-banking is one part of the policy.

He said that digital economy is beyond the online shopping and mobile banking, adding that it covers e-health, e-education, e-agriculture and e-weather as well. He said that the auction of 3G/4G auction was the first but important step, however still a lot has to be done for bringing improvement in the ICT sector.

The conference was helpful in highlighting issues related to cyber security, e-government and digital economy. “PTA will continue to host such events in future also to have fruitful discussions”, Shah added.

Chairperson Higher Education Commission (HEC) Mukhtar Ahmed opened the second day’s dialogue on the growth of ICT industry in Pakistan with efforts needed to bring more research and development projects to Pakistan.

Other speakers said that Pakistan needs to push forward for digital economy as it cannot go in isolation when other countries are going for the option.

“International transit prices in Asia are higher compared to North America & Europe”, said the CEO of LIRNEasia Helani Galpaya. She emphasized on the role that the operators, civil society organizations and investors need to play in training the individuals involved to build their capacity on a larger scale.

Managing Director Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) Asim Shahryar Husain said that the country’s IT industry and PSEB’s contributions to it with around $2.5 billion of revenue a year.

Online Training Modules in Urdu Launched

Asia-Pacific’s Director for the Internet Society (ISOC) Rajnesh Singh, on the issue of scarcity of data available on the Internet in the national language, unveiled the initiative by the ISOC where three online identity-training modules were launched in Urdu by the Chairman PTA Syed Ismail Shah.

The modules provide the user with a better understanding of the implications of their online activities. On the subject of digital economy in Pakistan. Singh explained how the digital economy is integrated in all the sectors that contribute to the industry growth, be it any sector but without sufficient electricity, the benefits of all the e-services available for the consumer will fail.

Training Material in Urdu can be Accessed here:

The conference ran from November 16-18, featured several ICT experts with national and international speakers to discuss the current climate and the way forward required and steps being taken towards a digital economy in Pakistan with an eye on the ICT agenda required for sustainable development.