IT minister warns Dar against stopping funds

Aminul Haq says federal finance minister creating hurdles in relief to IT sector

Ayesha Khan Ansari November 08, 2022
Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of first IT park in Karachi on November 7, 2022. PHOTO: PID


Federal Minister for Information Technology (IT) Syed Aminul Haq on Monday criticised Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for creating hurdles in release of funds and providing relief to the IT sector.

"If I do not remain a minister, you (Dar) too will not remain on the seat either," Haq said at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Karachi IT Park project near Karachi Airport on Monday.

Relief must be given to the Information Technology and Telecom sector according to instructions of the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Haq said.

Haq said that Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has always prioritised IT sector. "We shared our suggestions with the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar what will be our steps till 2050 but there is no response from Dar for the last three months."

Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif also wants to improve connectivity, Haq said adding, "how things will improve if I fail to provide facilities to the people of IT industry." He said that the Rs42 billion IT Park project will generate job opportunities for more than 20,000 skilled workers of information technology. The largest IT project of its kind in Pakistan would benefit not only the citizens of Karachi, but also the IT professionals and companies of the entire country, he said, and called for gearing up the development work so that the project could be completed in the shortest possible time.

The Karachi IT Park is part of series of IT parks being developed across the country.

He reminded that the project was approved by ECNEC at estimated cost of Rs41.39 billion or $186.658 million which included a loan amounting to $158.416 million by Korean Exim Bank and PSDP local share of Rs6.25 billion.

The project would be completed in June 2026. Haq said that dream of Karachi IT Park had to go through a long process and now it has come true by overcoming all the difficulties and with hard work of all the concerned quarters.

Core objective of the park was to provide a place equipped with IT and telecommunication basic infrastructure requirements, clean facilities and ample working space to enable innovative businesses develop and prosper, the minister said.

The Karachi IT Park would support the creation and development of knowledge-based enterprises besides offering a range of services, would boost knowledge based economy, entrepreneurship and latest Technologies as well, he said adding that park's 11-storey building would provide office space to nearly 225 startups and Small to Medium Enterprises and other ancillary facilities like testing laboratories, classrooms, industry academia linkage centre, and auditorium etc.

The minister further said that the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication has achieved many milestones launched 70 USF projects of OFC and broadband in four provinces at a cost of Rs65 billion.

He informed that in province of Sindh, 20 projects of NGBSD and OFC worth Rs16.30 billion had been started so far in 20 districts, including Tharparkar, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Larkana, Badin, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Mirpurkhas and Dadu.Syed Amin-Ul-Haque said that for the first time in Pakistan, smart phone manufacturing licenses were issued, under which 29 companies were now manufacturing smart phones and digital devices in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2022.


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