WASHINGTON: Pakistan is promoting increased global connectivity through a series of initiatives and the government is committed to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy, said Finance Secretary Waqar Masood Khan.
Speaking in Washington at the World Bank ‘Global Connect Initiative’, the finance secretary reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to support the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) action lines and targets that were set under the agenda for the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDG).
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"The government is promoting increased global connectivity through a series of initiatives to defuse the broadband penetration and encourage numerous applications in provision of public services,” he added.
The secretary appreciated the US government for launching the Global Connect Initiative (GCI) to provide internet access to an additional 1.5 billion people worldwide by 2020 and said it would go a long way in meeting the UN’s SDG of achieving internet access by 2030.
The official highlighted the World Bank’s recognition of tremendous growth of internet penetration in Pakistan from 2001 to 2014 on account of enabling policy environment, enormous growth potential and the private sector’s entrepreneurial spirit. “Vision 2025 envisages digitalising every school, college and university in the country.”
Apprising the audience about the approved telecommunication policy 2015, he said it aimed to facilitate “universally available, affordable and quality telecom services” through open, competitive and adequately regulated markets.
“There are nearly 29.3 million broadband subscribers in the country, out of which 26.1 million are using 3G/4G services,” he told the audience.
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Khan shared that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in partnership with banking and financial institutions and telecom providers, had developed a robust policy and regulatory framework for mobile/branchless banking to achieve universal financial inclusion in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2016.
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