Punjab Seems Leading in Being Tech-Savvy, introducing First IT Policy 2016
The provincial government of Punjab will announce the Punjab Information Technology Policy 2016, with an aim to develop itself as one of the top IT-enabled, E-literate and Electronically-governed province among others, said Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Chairman, Dr. Umar Saif.
This initiative will also make the province more lucrative for leading IT firms and a major supplier of skilled IT resource, added the official. The PITB discloses its first IT Policy draft with the collaboration of leading IT executives, from multinational and national industries, partnered with PITB, in a round table conference.
The First IT Policy draft includes the input of over 150 individuals, coming from all key sectors in Pakistan. Any further suggestion on this draft are highly acknowledged for the next 30 days, said Dr. Umar Saif.
The IT sector in Pakistan, particularly in Punjab, has gained a momentum in the last couple of years, as various sectors like E-commerce and incubators have witnessed a boom in their relevant fields, making their presence in the business world.
Still, the country is far behind in respect to competitors in the ground of IT-enabled services and according to Global IT report, the country is ranked as 112th out of 143 countries.
However, the promotion of IT sector under the leading incubators like Plan 9 and Nest I/O is encouraging. During the last decade, the number of IT firms has doubled in Pakistan, with a promising figure of 7.4% as an average growth rate, whereas Punjab exceeded with 10.9% growth rate in the field of IT. Meanwhile, IT-based exports surged to $519 million from $72 million mark.
The First IT policy
The First IT policy comprises of six key areas, that includes Education, Health, Governance, Industry, Citizens and Start-ups along with Micro and SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprise’s.)
Furthermore, 30 key sub-sectors have been highlighted under six key areas and the IT policy aims to govern sub-sectors with a comprehensive set of policies and incentives to maintain the momentum of development and growth in these areas.
Public- Wi-Fi hotspots, Establishment of common resource and service and declaration of broadband as a public utility to ensure the access of the internet for everyone are the major goals under this policy.
Moreover, plans have been made to setup special IT Economic Zones, Promotion of innovation in Schools and Universities, Financial Incentives for the motivation of Start-ups and introducing of first digital policy at the governmental level. Cloud Computing, Big Data and IoT disciples are also considered in the documentation of First IT Policy.
Punjab has also developed Plan 9 – Pakistan’s leading business incubator, leading its way in providing support to almost 130 start-ups, with a combined net worth of $60 million. Punjab leads the way in serving IT as it is considered the first province to exempt broadband tax, that provided a cost cut of broadband by 17%, Saif further added.