Islamabad: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has launched a special program for the promotion of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) Sector of Pakistan. In this connection, an inaugural ceremony was held at PTA Headquarters, Islamabad wherein Advisor to the Prime Minister on IT, Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa formally inaugurated the PTA program while Parliamentary Secretary Interior, Capt (R) Rai Ghulam Mujtaba Kharal, Secretary Cabinet Division, Mr.Abdul Rauf Chaudhry, Secretary IT & Telecom, Mr.Naguibllah Malik, Chairman PTA, Dr.Mohammed Yaseen, Member (Finance) PTA, Syed Nasrul Karim Ghaznavi, Member (Technical) PTA, Dr. Khawar Siddique Khokhar and representatives of IT & telecom industry were also present on the occasion.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Advisor on IT & Telecom, Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa said that the Government is committed to enhancing the quality of manpower in the ICT sector. He said that we will continue to provide the necessary support to industry and the academia. Following the global scenario of technological development and application promotions, ICT will play even more important role in human society. And to realize that, he said, we need the effort and close cooperation from all of us including operators, equipment manufacturers, content providers and academia. He appreciated the efforts of PTA towards proliferation of ICT sector of the country. He said that the massive growth of telecommunication services is an eye-opener and it is firmly believed that still there is room for expansion and growth. New ICT applications have generated new forms of consumption and attracted large number of consumers.
On this occasion, the Secretary IT & Telecom said that our ICT industry has already been transformed over the last decade. In response to transparent policy and regulatory apparatus, our market has observed liberalization, greater private sector participation and competition. He said that the IT & telecom sector is now a sector dominated by private players competing strategically on new technologies, pricing and customer services. The ICT has emerged as the most promising segment in Pakistan’s economy brining in substantial revenues and creating remarkable job opportunities for the country’s youth. He said that today the Government is committed to support the ICT sector by taking required policy measures. We are in final phase of shaping the future policies for the whole ICT sector. This policy development program is quite open, incorporating a multi stakeholder deliberation. He said that we are targeting to create an environment for the promotion of required content and applications in order to enhance the productivity of our human resource. It is for this reason that we must work harder to ensure that forecasted policy milestones are achieved in a desired manner. The Government will ensure continued encouragement and support in this regard, he added.
Talking on the event the Chairman PTA said that Pakistan has emerged as one of the leading markets in telecommunications especially in the voice segment. In broadband sector, by December 2008, we had approx 250,000 broadband subscribers and within a span of one year, by December 2009 the figure has just crossed 600,000 showing a massive annual growth rate of more than 200%. However, at the same time, we still are lagging behind in overall broadband penetration. 600,000 subscribers reflects a penetration level of only 0.36%. This is where we require a mutual collaboration for development of local applications and content to promote usage of broadband in all spheres of life. He said, operators are looking for future revenue streams which are very much dependent on availability of value added data services. Key issue in further development of data segment is non-availability of local content and applications which can contribute towards ICT-based economical contribution. That is why, today, the PTA’s main focus is on the development of local content and applications, he added.
Chairman PTA said that in reference to its endeavors for the development of ICTs in Pakistan, PTA has taken number of initiatives to launch and promote new innovative solutions for the betterment of telecom industry and society. As a part of such efforts PTA will now hold an exclusive conference on ‘Promoting ICT Sector’ on February 25, 2010 (Thursday). This conference is being organized in view of the importance of local content and applications for future promotion of ICT industry and infrastructure.