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February 20, 2020

PM Khan targets ICT industry to reach $20bln in next five years

Business

February 20, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday set an ambitious target of expanding the size of information and communication technology to $20 billion in the next five years through promoting entrepreneurship in the tech ecosystem.

“Pakistan has great investment potential in communication and energy sector,” Khan said during a meeting with Sergi Herrero, co-chief executive officer of Veon – parent company of Jazz Pakistan. “Government is focused on providing ease-of-doing-business with liberal investment policy which has been acknowledged by international financial institutions.”

The prime minister said the government’s ‘Digital Pakistan’ initiative aims at to provide a platform to the Pakistani youth to become independent and drivers of economic growth.

“Under the digital policy the government has aimed to increase the size of Pakistani ICT industry to $20 billion in next few years,” he said. “A digital ecosystem with infrastructure and institutional frameworks for rapid delivery of innovative digital services, applications and content is being provided to the IT proficient youth.” New digital policy envisages improving access of broadband and digital financial services for the mass population.

Khan said telecom, being the highest tax paying sector, plays key role in the economic growth. He appreciated the long association of Veon with Pakistan as the company, serving 60 million subscribers with multitude of services, invested $9 billion.

Herrero said the government provides competitive and transparent working environment for the telecom companies. “Jazz Pakistan has launched ‘Internet for all’ campaign that includes affordable mobile phones with internet connectivity for social media, Jazz Cash and the Prime Minister’s Citizens Portal,” he said. “The provision of this service will help enable citizens to undertake economic activity at small and medium scale and will promote good governance.” This was Herrero’s first foreign visit since his appointment as the Veon’s co-CEO, effective from 1 March, 2020.

The meeting aimed at to reaffirm Veon and its subsidiary, Jazz’s, commitment to the economy and explore mutually beneficial avenues to further economic growth, a company’s statement said.

The meeting discussed ways in which Veon and Jazz could assist in the country’s socioeconomic development through further advancements in telecommunications, internet and digital financial services, and be a partner for ‘Digital Pakistan’ and extension of digital services to the masses.

Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim said the company’s efforts are focused on bridging the digital divide in the country and opening doors of equal opportunities. Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Haider Gilani, PTA Chairman Aamir Azeem Bajwa, Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Digital Pakistan Tania Aidrus and senior officials were also present during the meeting.