IT and telecom sector booming: Musharraf
* President says govt wants to introduce e-governance system
KARACHI: President General Pervez Musharraf has expressed confidence that the future of information technology (IT) and telecommunications in Pakistan was bright.
He was speaking as chief guest at the inaugural session of an international conference on information and communication technology on Saturday. The two-day moot is being held under the auspices of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.
President Musharraf said that the IT and telecommunications sector was currently experiencing a boom in Pakistan. “I am confident that the future of IT and telecommunications in Pakistan is extremely bright,” he said, urging the youth to take up this profession. He said that the government wanted to introduce e-governance in the country. He added that by accelerating the introduction of “paperless governance”, several jobs would be available for computer and e-governance professionals.
Musharraf said that at least 14 million mobile phones were sold in Pakistan in the past two years about Rs 140 billion worth, most of them bought by Pakistanis belonging to the middle and lower-middle classes. He said that the privatisation of Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited had fetched $2.6 billion for the national exchequer, adding that the government was ensuring that a public sector monopoly was not passed on to a private company.
Musharraf said the government had also addressed poverty in the country, adding that the government had focused on agriculture and agro-based industry in rural areas. He said that the construction industry had also improved and there was now a shortage of skilled labour in Pakistan.
The president said that seven IT-related universities had been opened in the country, adding that call centres and software parks had also been established in Pakistan to attract IT professionals back to Pakistan. He said that two cellular companies – Telenor and Warid – had been given licences for $291 million each, adding that four cellular operators – Instaphone, Paktel, Mobilink and Ufone – were operating before these two companies had been given licences free of cost. Now these four companies would have to renew their licences at a cost of $291 million each.
He said that mobile phone company Nokia had estimated that by 2007, Pakistan would be the firm’s second biggest market in the world. President Musharraf said that wireless local loops were ideal for rural areas and would boost economic activity in those areas.
Higher Education Commission Chairman Professor Dr Attaur Rehman also spoke on the occasion. Earlier, IBA Director Danishmand presented the welcome address. Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, who is also the patron of the IBA, was also present on the occasion. app