KARACHI: Fast-track digital transformation is necessary for rapid economic growth, said Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal while reviewing the recommendations by the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) for digital transformation during a round-table conference held on Thursday.
With an objective to set the country on a digital path and help it emerge as a key regional player, the OICCI report offers recommendations on digital transformation to the policymakers and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Higher Education Commission (HEC).
E-commerce currently reflects hardly one per cent of the entire retail market of Pakistan. Accepting the recommendations made in the report, the government can provide innovative employment prospects to 23pc of Pakistan’s young population while adding $60 billion to the economy within the next eight years. The OICCI report has recommended a rapid increase in the fibre optic broadband penetration, focus on 4G penetration and a need for the Artificial Intelligence policy to supplement decision-making.
The report said government departments like the FBR should be encouraged to maximise the use of data analytics technologies. Moreover, it highlighted the need for an up-to-date cybersecurity law and strict enforcement of intellectual property rights to encourage global IT companies to set up operations in Pakistan.
The participants of the roundtable, including senior officials from the Planning Commission, HEC, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, IT ministry, SBP and FBR, pointed out the inconsistency in policies, technical skill gap and deficiencies in the implementation and execution of policies as key challenges that needed the attention at the highest level.
Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2023