Queen Maxima, who is also UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate on Inclusive Finance for Development held a meeting with Minister of State for IT, Mrs. Anusha Rahman here in Islamabad.
Secretary IT, Azmat Ali Ranjha, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Chairman National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC), Members Telecom, IT, Legal and Human Resource Development were also present during the event.
Queen Maxima Lauds MoIT Efforts to Uplift Telecom Sector in Pakistan
The Minister apprised Queen Maxima that the present government under visionary leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fully realizes potential of ICTs to spur socio-economic growth; and considers ICTs as a key enabler to achieve efficiency, transparency, good governance and empowering the people.
The Ministry is pursuing with vision of accelerated digitization to transform Pakistan into a knowledge based economy.
Our focus remains on ubiquitous development of ICT infrastructure across the country with special emphasis on serving marginalized segments of the society and bridging the digital divide.
She said Ministry of IT has played its role as an important stakeholder with respect to provision of affordable telecommunication services, especially cellular mobile services, to help, interalia with improving access of un-banked people of Pakistan living in remote areas to the financial services.
As a Policy priority, the Minister said the government has launched Next Generation Mobile (3G/4G) Services in Pakistan in 2014. On technology front, Pakistan has become at par with the developed world.
Anusha Rahman said today Pakistan has more than 15% broadband penetration and growing as compared to less than 3% two years ago.
Broadband (3G/4G) data has enabled huge opportunity for innovative products, apps and services particularly in social sector domains e.g. e/m-medicine, e/m-commerce, e/m-health and e/m- learning, etc.
The Telecommunication Policy 2015 is very much aligned with Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the WSIS Action Lines.
The Minister said the under-served and unserved areas are prime focus of the Ministry and all projects to provide connectivity for disadvantaged segments will be rolled out by early 2018.
She said to benefit whole communities we are establishing 500 tele-centers for people of these areas through Universal Service Fund (USF). These tele-centers will not only create employability for local people but also provide them basic e-services i.e., e-commerce, e-health, e-education and e-agriculture. It will be a best model of public-private partnership for welfare of the people.
She said our policy vision of accelerated digitization, which is very much aligned to the theme of “Digital Inclusion”, is an indication of our commitment to development of opportunities for women empowerment through ICTs.
As a special initiative for Girls, she said the Ministry has partnered with Microsoft Corporation to increase access for all girls particularly those extremely disadvantaged, to learn coding and computing skills.
Considering the importance of e-payment gateway, Ministry of IT is focusing on making online transactions readily available to the buyers and sellers. E-commerce framework is also being prepared in collaboration with Ministry of Commerce, SBP and other stakeholders to unleash full potential of e-commerce for our economy.
Queen Maxima highlighted the need of financial inclusion particularly women and marginalized segments and said financial inclusion plays a pivotal role in promoting inclusive economic growth through enhancing livelihood particularly for women.
She said affordable smartphones for women are pivotal and in this regard, special incentives can be given by Public Private Sector, along with any additional fiscal measures as may be adopted.
Queen Maxima appreciated the commitment and dedication of MoIT in pursuing the agenda of digital Pakistan and working for communities to have maximum connectivity that will also lead to financial inclusion.
She offered International Community’s full support for further initiatives of Government of Pakistan in this regard