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24th ITCN Asia: Govt encouraging investments in ICT, says Shaza Fatima

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Shiza Fatima

LAHORE: Shaza Fatima Khawja said the government is encouraging investment in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) through its multiple flagship projects such as Special Technology Zones (STZs), the national plan of fiberization across the country, and facilitation for affordability of fast broadband internet and smart digital devices to the masses.

Speaking as the Chief Guest at the 24th edition of ITCN Asia, “Declaring Pakistan as the Regional ICT Hub,” she said the government intended to expand its efforts for local manufacturing of laptops through policy to provide affordable access to digital devices to the masses and its exports to different countries in the future.

The government is eager to provide an ecosystem to foreign and local IT companies and investors through policymaking, legislation, skill development, and infrastructure to tap into the host of opportunities in Pakistan, she added. Additionally, the government is working exclusively for inclusivity for the female population to enhance their participation in the economy through opportunities in education and IT.

State Minister said that the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) has a crucial role in providing trust to stakeholders in the IT industry, helping to improve hurdles and barriers, and achieving goals to facilitate business and the growth of the IT industry.

She mentioned that the government formulated the National Digital Commission to drive the digital ecosystem across the country in three verticals, including economy, governance, and society, which will also provide unimaginable opportunities for the private sector.

I am looking forward to IT companies enhancing their contribution to the global footprint with the support of the government to make Pakistan a regional and global tech hub, she remarked.

State Minister praised the role of ITCN Asia for providing a resourceful platform to the public sector institutions, local and multinational IT companies, foreign investors and delegates to shape up the direction of IT and telecom sector for the past 24 years

Pakistan has become a member of the Digital Corporation Organization (DCO), aiming to be a leading partner in the global IT ecosystem through its high-end services and products.

Deemah Al Yahya, Secretary General of the of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), said Pakistan has been proactively at the forefront of harnessing digital transformation to strengthen its digital economy, which is projected to add $5.9 billion by 2030 to its economy.

She lauded Pakistan’s initiatives in the digital FDI alliance and its efforts to set up a conducive environment, infrastructure, and skilled development of human capital for investors and tech giants.

Pakistan has a crucial role in its region as well as the western region when it comes to software export as well as the right framework for collaboration and digital transformation, she said and added. Pakistan is positioning itself as a magnet for global capital as it is one of the leading countries for freelancers to thrive in the in the global gig economy.

Secretary DCO urged Pakistani stakeholders for mutual efforts to achieve a digital realm that serves humanity worldwide under the platform of the DCO that connects governments, civil societies, and academia to gain economic dividends.

Additional Secretary IT and Acting CEO Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), Ayesha Humera Morani, said Pakistan is a lucrative destination for local and foreign IT companies with its talented human resources, strategic location, and investor-friendly policy.

The Pakistani IT sector has the potential to serve east and west, as its workforce could work in double shifts. 24/7. The country could provide a digital corridor that could connect the Middle East to Europe and Africa, she said and added. Our country provides opportunities to multinational companies to save 70% of operational costs annually.

Chairman PASHA Muhammad Zohaib, Country Education Lead Microsoft Jibran Jamshed, Adeel Aijaz Sheikh, CEO Ignite, Chairman Netsol Salim Ghori, Secretary General Islamic Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture Yousef Hasan Khalawi, and Vice President Ecommerce Gateway Muhammad Umair Nizam also spoke on the occasion.

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