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PR No. 90 PRESS RELEASE Islamabad: December 13, 2018

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has said that Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications is continuously working on new projects for maximum economic impact through collaboration, digitalization, research and innovation in new emerging technologies within information and communication technology (ICT) and other socio-economic sectors. The Federal Minister was addressing the inaugural ceremony of 19thMeeting of the South Asian Telecommunication Regulators Council (SATRC-19) here on Thursday. He said that SATRC, under patronage of Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), has been an important platform for regulators in South Asia to discuss, network and cooperate on important telecommunications and ICT related issues. Federal Minister Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiiqui said that the government is committed to do utmost for bridging the digital divide within the country. In this regard, extraordinary importance is being placed on the provision of information and communication access to under-served regions and remote areas of the country. He said that the first ever digital policy of Pakistan envisions Pakistan to become a strategic enabler for accelerated digitalization ecosystem to expand knowledge based economy and spur socio-economic growth. The policy aims to establish framework for setting up incubation centers in provincial capitals and major secondary cities. This will facilitate and nurture new ICT entrepreneurs and start-up by tapping a vast network of business partners and mentors including specialized innovation centers in areas including FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Robotics, he added. The Federal Minister said that government is also planning development of IT zones, software technology parks at major cities , and to finance research and development activities, entrepreneurship and innovation. Ongoing initiatives such as Digiskills, which is Pakistan’s largest online, free training programme, aims to equip million people across the country with digital skills over period of two years. He said the ICT for Girls Programme is another initiative to build digital skills of Pakistani girls and women. In this initiative, thousands of girls are being trained at state of the art computer labs under coaching, training programme of Microsoft. It is expected to train over 100,000 girls per year and, as part of this programme, 150 digital labs are being established throughout Pakistan at women empowerment centers, he said. The Federal Minister said that the agenda for SATRC this year includes topic of concern for developing countries on critical issues like digital infrastructure, increasing broadband penetration , spectrum management, technology and policy considerations and innovations towards 5G era.

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