ISLAMABAD -The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, during the last two years, has opened new vistas in the telecommunication sector and attracted around 592 information technology companies, which got themselves registered for new business ventures. The growth in the IT sector remained strong that reflected the investors’ confidence in the prudent policed introduced by the government in IT sector. 

“The number of IT companies have increased to 2354 as of June, 30,2020 compared to 1762 valid registrations as of June, 30  2018,” a senior official of Ministry of Information Technology told APP while sharing two-year performance of the PTI government. 

During the past two years, Pakistan’s IT sector has made remarkable progress due to focus of the present government on ensuring sustainable IT industry growth. The official said Information Technology (IT) and IT enabled Services (ITeS) export remittances comprising of computer services and call center services were expected to reach $1.2 billion from $ 831.35 million. 

Telecommunication sector has shown marvelous growth in last few years, he said adding the licenses of Cellular Mobile Operators were awarded for a period of 15 years while three of these licenses (Jazz, Zong and Telenor) were due for renewal by PTA in 2019. 

The spurt in telecommunication sector was witnessed after extensive consultation by the committees constituted by the Prime Minister and approval of the committees’ recommendations by the Federal Cabinet. 

A policy was formulated and circulated on 9th May, 2019 and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority started to implement it. Ignite, under the auspices of Ministry of IT & Telecom, has launched a programme to build a network of National Incubation Centers (NIC), in Federal Capital and all Provincial Capitals, the official added. 

The key objective of this programme, the official said was to facilitate talented entrepreneurs and provide them all necessary support for transformation of their innovative ideas into a sustainable business.

NICs facilitate and provide all key support required by start-ups to succeed including mentorship and networking by leading entrepreneurs, corporate chieftains, top professionals, investors and global entrepreneurial organizations through numerous events and meet-ups. 

Other key facilities provided to start-ups include rent free office space, high speed broadband Internet, makers lab, usability labs, fintech lab, design thinking lab, AI R&D Centres, and a host of other shared facilities. 

All five NICs are fully functional and mentoring start-ups in ICT related areas. To a question about National ICT Grassroots Initiative (NGRI), he said, the programme aimed to assist final year undergraduate students of ICT related disciplines studying in the institutions by providing them financial assistance for developing prototypes and working models of their Final Year Projects (FYP) in order to increase creativity, innovation and hands on engineering and development skills. 

NGIRI 2020 was launched on January 6, 2020 within a trivial duration of forty 40 days only for submission of FYP applications, 2,832 applications were submitted which is 33 per cent higher than NGIRI 2019. 

Moreover, 196 Institutions participated in the programme from all provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan which was 27 per cent higher than NGIRI 2019. More than 1,040 FYP applications would be funded during first half of FY 2020-21, he added. 

Ignite under the auspices of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication had launched a large-scale national Digital Skills (DigiSkills.pk) Training Program to provide one million trainings across the country over a period of two years. 

DigiSkills.pk is aimed at equipping country’s youth, freelancers, students and professionals with knowledge, skills, tools and techniques necessary to seize the opportunities available internationally in online jobs market places and also locally to earn a decent living.