Friday July 19, 2024

Govt grants industry status to telecom sector

March 12, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government has granted industry status to telecommunication sector for seamless development of various projects and to enjoy the benefits at par with other industries,IT minister said on Thursday.

"This will be a good news for the telecom sector and for the nation that the federal cabinet has approved to give status of industry to telecom sector and now onward the industry will enjoy all the benefits, which the other industries of the country are availing," said Syed Amin Ul Haque, minister for IT and Telecommunication at a news conference.

Haque said the government is also contemplating to reduce 6 percent excise duty along with tax reduction on various services to give maximum benefit to the general public and telecom sector.

"Rs250 being paid on the purchase of any sim had also been withdrawn and this will be beneficial for the public," the minister said.

Haque said Information and Communication Technology (ICT) export remittances including export of telecommunication, computer and information services, surged to $958 million at a growth rate of 40 percent during July-December current fiscal year of 2020-21, in comparison to $684 million during the same period last year

The minister said meaures are being taken to increase IT exports and a target had been set to achieve $5 billion from export of information technology services during the next three years.

About the provision of broadband services across the country, the minister said the ministry's attached department Universal Service Fund (USF) is taking initiatives to provide broadband services both in unserved and under served areas across the country.

"Work on 32 various projects with the cost of Rs22 billion had been started to provide connectivity to unserved and under served areas with the help of USF."

The minister termed the Pakistan's First Right of Way Policy as a milestone towards 'Digital Pakistan'.

He said objective of policy was to promote the modern telecommunication services, resolve issues regarding establishment of telecommunication systems and introduction of fast track processes for the provision of Right of Way through one window operation.

"Today we have 176 million mobile and smart phones connections with more than 83 percent teledensity," he added.

He said the need for high proliferation of mobile broadband services in the country and its impact on overall GDP and productivity was highlighted during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

He said today, it was promising to see that with 93 million subscribers of broadband services, the growth of digital financial services and other services were being led by the telecom sector.