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Relief from price hike on the cards: Don’t panic, exciting times ahead, PM Imran Khan tells nation

Top Story

December 6, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Launching ‘Digital Pakistan’ — a government initiative aimed at introducing the latest technology for public welfare — here, Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday asked the nation not to panic, as exciting times promising end to poverty and price hike were just round the corner.

The country will experience a quantum leap ahead, he said, adding his government will not rest until the elimination of price hike. “E-governance is necessary to curb corruption, which is rampant across the country at all levels. This initiative will ease the lives of citizens. Our government will put all out efforts to promote Digital Pakistan. The future of Pakistan is very exciting,” he added.

The campaign will “unleash the youth’s potential” in the country. The prime minister said developments in the digital arena were taking place at a fast pace, and in future everything would be done through a mobile phone.

The vision sets Pakistan’s digital ambition and has been designed both for the public and private sector to work towards a digitally progressive and inclusive Pakistan. Imran Khan said with the introduction of 'Digital Pakistan Vision', the full potential of contribution of the youth and the women to the economy will be unleashed.

The prime minister regretted not having launched digitizing at the very beginning when his government was formed. "I should have given attention to a Digital Pakistanearlier. This is the most important thing for Pakistan right now, especially its youth. The whole world is moving forward digitally and we have been left behind. But you all know, and must be tired of hearing it, but we had an unprecedented debt and all our attention was focused on stabilising the economy and our currency," he added.

The prime minister said Pakistan had the world's second largest youth population "which can be converted into our strength with this one initiative alone".

"Our women will be able to fully contribute. This is a very big opportunity." He said the introduction of e-governance will be essential in combating "the endemic corruption, which started out at the top but their flight to foreign countries has now settled down in the lower tiers of society".

"E-governance is the best way to make the lives of people easier." He reminded that e-governance had been introduced in Shaukat Khanum 19 years ago, and by doing away with paper receipts, "all sorts of pilferage was done away with".

He said the same was being attempted for implementation but he was sad to report that the move was being met with a lot of resistance.

"You won't be able to stop us for much longer," he said, addressing the institutions opposed to shifting to digital platforms. He said e-commerce will also be brought in after removing cyber security hurdles.

It has been officially stated that it brings together multiple initiatives that the government has already kicked off, and identifies additional focus areas that it will initiate in the coming months.

Its strategic pillars are access and connectivity, digital infrastructure, digital skill and literacy, innovation and entrepreneurship. These pillars, the communiqué added, supported by a forward-looking policy and a broader legal framework will “set us on the path to becoming a truly Digital Pakistan”.

Access and connectivity to ensure every Pakistani has access to internet – a fundamental right – to make available universally and especially to underserved populations. Digital Infrastructure that creates the ability to undertake daily tasks using smart phones in a secure and faster manner.

E-government that digitizes intra-government operations and processes towards a paperless and efficient environment, and also digitizes government services for citizens and businesses for better delivery.

Digital Skills and Literacy that enables tech graduates to secure relevant jobs.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship to provide an enabling environment for startups to flourish. Tania Aidrus, a Pakistani working as a senior executive at the Google, quit her position in Singapore to head the government’s initiative.

In a tweet, she expressed hope that Digital Pakistan vision will soon become a “reality”. Meanwhile, chairing a meeting on promotion of construction sector under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the provincial chief secretaries to furnish within week the details of land in suburbs of cities, identified by the provincial governments for possible utilisation in the mega housing project.

Under this initiative, the meeting was updated on the progress made so far with regard to provision of residences to low-income groups.

Among others, the meeting was attended by the NPHA chairman, chairman FBR and provincial chief secretaries. The NPHA chairman apprised the forum of the related developments and actions. Expressing satisfaction over the measures taken so far, Imran reiterated that promotion of housing sector was one of the topmost priorities of his government, as this would not only increase economic activity, but also provide jobs and livelihood and help promote some 40 related industries.

He directed the chief secretaries that lowering related taxes should be considered by the provincial governments so that the construction sector could be promoted. He also laid emphasis on hastening the review of the master plans and thrashing out afresh for all the major cities so that the expansion of cities be regulated properly with the provision of all basic facilities.

The prime minister directed that the land near cities, where basic amenities could be easily provided, be identified and report furnished within a week for chalking out a plan of further action.

He said special attention should be paid to such land for housing projects. Earlier, the prime minister was informed that it had been decided that sales tax at the phase of construction phase would be done way with to facilitate construction.

This decision is being approved in reference to Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. All the provincial governments agreed in principle for levying fixed tax at the stage of sale of a constructed/furnished house. The meeting was told that the houses under NPHA would be exempted from such tax, while steps were being taken to reduce capital value tax and side by side with it, stamped papers were also be launched.