Telecom sector expects $ 3bn FDI in 2 years -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Telecom sector expects $ 3bn FDI in 2 years

KARACHI: Jan.16:The Information Technology and Telecom sector is expecting a foreign direct investment (FDI) of $2 billion to 3 bil­lion in next two years.

“There are some international giants who have shown keen inter­est for investment in Information Technology and Telecom sector in the country and we are negotiating with them.”

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari stated this
while talking to Business Recorder exclusively after the inauguration of a two-day International EDICOM Conference on “E-business Impact on Economy” here on Thursday.

He was of the view that because of our fixed fine phone policy and the proposed one with regard to the mobile sector, it has been estimated that there will be investment of $2 billion to 3 billion in the telecom sector in the country.This will be a major boost to country, S economy,” he pointed out.

‘We have started our interaction with the leading software houses of the world,” he added.Awais Leghari made it clear that they have shown interest in Pakistan and that we have not approached them.

Awais, Leghari further said, “Last year, we focused on the capabilities of telecorn infrastructure throughout the country which will eventually help implementing c-government projects.”

Now, we will focus on e-government projects as the infrastruc ture supports such plan, he added.

The government not, only desires to use IT to promote trade but also wants to use such sector to improve the socio-econonue conditions of the people of our country, he- added.

Awais Leghari said, “the Information Technology is one ofthe four pillars upon which we expect to base the revival of the country’s economy and as a result the ministry has developed an overall IT policy as well as an action plan.

He pointed out that Microsoft chief Bill Gates had made a telephone call.to President General Pervez Musharraf. The Sun Micro Systems have also interacted with the ministry, a day earlier to work on open source softwares.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion at the International EDICOM Conference, Awais Leghari warned against any laxity in adopting the e-commerce as the failure to do so would deny country’s access to markets trading electronically.

Some recent figures indicate that worldwide e-commerce revenues predicted for 2004 would be more than $2.7 trillion.

The price that ‘ one would pay for not providing an e-business infrastructure and the supporting services with in the would thus be very high , he said, adding that his ministry is very keen to address this situation.
He said this covers c-government initiatives with an emphasis on improving delivery of public services to the citizens, promotion of the local software and IT industry.

Leghari said that the plan also includes attractive incentives to foreign compames wanting to set up businesses in Pakistan. There has also been a focus on the IT enabled services such as back office processing and call centres, he added,

Awais said that there are a numher of issues that the government is addressing on priority basis for e-commerce in Paldstan.

“We need to provide legal cover to the financial transactions that are to be automated for the e-com­merce to really take,-off in the country,” he added.

The priority items within legislation are the laws that address the digital signatures within the overall scope of electronic documentation and the intellectual property rights (]PR), he said, adding that his ministry is presently working on bills to be tabled in the parliament that impact nearly 160 laws and regula­tions.

Elaborating about the objectives that have been set for the e-commerce activity are the electronic documentation of the economy, increased efficiency and competitiveness, increased exports diver­sification of markets, new products and new services, greater contributions of Small and Medium Enterprise), transparency of government e-procurement, e-payments, and increased share of c­services in the GDP.

Awais said that it has been recognised that having a secure internet infrastructure is an absolute prerequisite for e-business.To this end, we have been ing efforts to set up certification authorities and at the same time we axe working on developing our capabilities in the IT and network security, he added.Leghari was of the view that public key infrastructure (PKI) plays a major role in ensuring that issues of authentication and nonrepudiation are addressed properly.

A draft of ‘Information Technology Law’ for the purpose has been initiated for the consideration of parliament and at the same time an accreditation council is under formulation as well, Awais concluded.
Source: BusinessRecorder
Date:1/16/2004