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Digitization Can Add $60 Billion to Pakistan’s Economy by 2030: Report

Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday set up a Steering Committee comprising experts from the IT and private sectors for the implementation of digital transformation and to increase digital exports in the country.

The minister made this announcement while addressing a roundtable conference on Digital Transformation in Pakistan organized by the Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives, after a report on Pakistan’s digital journey, Recommendations for Digital Transformation in Pakistan, was launched by Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OCCI).

The report prepared by OICCI covers wide-ranging suggestions to boost digital infrastructure and connectivity, e-governance, e-commerce, EdTech, Fintech, AgriTech, HealthTech, IT exports, and Web 3.0 technologies.

The report argues that digitization has the potential to add $60 billion to the economy by 2030 if the government creates a favorable investment climate for local and foreign investors to fill in the large gaps in digital infrastructure and connectivity.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister highlighted that the IT sector is the key driver to increasing digital exports while reiterating that the government is committed to giving top priority to the sector to increase digital exports. The Steering Committee will hold meetings every month to implement the recommendations of OCCI regarding digital transformation.

Increasing exports is the only solution to get rid of the country’s economic problems, said the minister while assuring the stakeholders that the government will implement the recommendations of ICCI.

CEO Jazz and Chairman of the Prime Minister’s IT & Digital Economy Advisory Council’s Subcommittee on Telecom, Aamir Ibrahim, expressed gratitude to OICCI and the Ministry of Planning and Development for organizing a digital transformation dialogue.

Aamir stressed the importance of a healthy and stable telecom sector for consistent improvement in service quality for users and for boosting virtually all sectors of the economy. However, he believes that pegging the telecom license price to the US dollar is contributing to the country’s digital emergency and could instead lead to a digital catastrophe.

Aamir proposed policy interventions such as delinking spectrum price from the U.S. dollar, staggering license payments over ten annual installments instead of five, and implementing a regulatory approach to encourage disciplined inflationary pricing. He warned that if these policy reforms were not implemented immediately, they could push Pakistan into a ‘digital dark age’.

Last week, the planning minister formed a 15-member National Task Force on Artificial Intelligence aimed at achieving the required goals of national development. The key objective of the [task force] is to develop a 10-year roadmap for accelerated adoption of AI in the business, development, governance, education, and healthcare sectors.

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