Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque, on Tuesday, launched Pakistan’s National ICT Development White Paper aimed at identifying gaps, seeking suggestions on modern ICT requirements and employing best practices from across the globe. “The world is entering the era of digital economy and society.
The Covid-19 pandemic reminded us how digital readiness could better equip a country with resources to cope with crisis and resilience for future recovery,” he said. Adding that a global IT consultant firm had prepared a review report on the policies and projects of the Ministry of IT and its allied organizations, he said a draft of the National ICT White Paper had been uploaded on the Ministry of IT’s website for feedback. Due to the effective policies of Ministry of IT & Telecom, he said Pakistan had witnessed landmark achievements in the ICT sector in recent years.
Highlighting further that ensuring availability of high-quality ICT services would improve the quality of life and economic wellbeing of the country’s citizens. Recapping the measures taken by the MOITT in the past two years, he said, the ministry had introduced a number of legislative and policy measures to promote Pakistan’s ICT industry including ‘The Cloud First Policy’ and the National Cyber Security Policy 2021 among others. Adding that the ministry was also working on the “Digital Pakistan Policy 2022” keeping in view current emerging technologies and other policy initiatives such as the Digital Pakistan Policy 2018, National Broadband Policy 2021 and National Freelancing Facilitation Policy.
According to the minister, ‘The Cloud First Policy’ enables the public sector to deliver services faster and more efficiently with transparency and increased interagency collaboration. The Cloud First Policy will also serve as a common platform for all public sector departments to manage and maintain data, he said. The other key initiative taken was the National Cyber Security Policy 2021. The policy has been approved and aims to counter the malicious use of information in cyberspace that pose grave financial and security threats to Pakistan.
Haque also confirmed that the Personal Data Protection Bill was in its final stages of approval and would help ensure protection of online data, information and privacy of Pakistani citizens. Reflecting on the work currently being undertaken by the ministry he said that the ‘National Data Governance Policy’, which will describe different attributes related to data governance in order to improve the maintenance and quality of data, was in the process of being drafted while a policy governing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain was also under way.
“A three-year rolling spectrum strategy was launched to provide greater visibility and transparency with regard to the spectrum management policies, investment and network planning,” he added. The Right of Way (ROW) policy for the telecom sector clears a large number of hurdles faced by telcos and internet service providers in the installation and maintenance of their telecommunication equipment and expansion of their systems across the country, said the minister.
He said a strategic plan and roadmap for 5G technology in Pakistan was also being formulated keeping in view the aspects of spectrum management, infrastructure development, review of telecom regulations and 5G applications. The minister added that the ICT whitepaper focused on both, the IT and telecom, sectors and an effort has been made to compare it with global trends and best practices
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