Islamabad: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA),Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom (MoIT) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) jointly organized 'Pakistan ICT Indicators Symposium' under the theme of ”Multi-stakeholder Engagement to Highlight the need of ICT Data Reporting” here at PTA Headquarters today. The Chief Guest of the event was Ms. Anusha Rehman Khan, Minister of State for Information Technology & Telecommunications (MOIT&T) and Mr. Rizwan Bashir Khan, Secretary, MOIT, was the guest of honor. Chairman PTA, Dr. Syed Ismail Shah, Mr. Tahir Mushtaq, Member (HRD), MoIT, Mr. Sameer Sharma, Senior Advisor, ITU Asia-Pacific. Mr. Tariq Sultan, Member (Finance) Mr Abdul Samad, Member (Compliance & Enforcement) PTA were present on this occasion. Representatives from MOIT&T, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Telecom Operators, international organizations, and donor agencies, DGs of different Divisions of PTA and senior officers of the Authority attended the event.
On this occasion, Ms Anusha Rehman Khan said that ICTs indicators are related to newly formulated Sustainable Development Goals. Since we all know that SDGs of the United Nations (UN) represent a renewed commitment of the 193 country leaders to ending poverty, combat hunger, and disease, and promote social justice and human dignity. She said that it is imperative to mention that ICT indicators are the key enablers to achieve multiple SDGs. ICT indicators can also help monitor achievements in other areas included in the SDGs, such as poverty reduction, education and economic growth. We all need to take a proactive approach to develop a comprehensive mechanism to collect all relevant ICT data. The Minister said that Pakistan has shown tremendous growth in telecom sector over the last few years and it has also achieved some exceptional milestones. Similarly, on the policy front, finalization and approval of a comprehensive Telecommunication Policy is yet another milestone achieved, she further added.
Earlier, addressing the event Secretary, MOIT said that the Government is committed to enhance the quality of manpower in the ICT sector. We will continue to provide the necessary support to the industry. He said that we need the effort and close cooperation from all of us including operators, equipment manufacturers and content providers for the contribution of ICT sector in GDP. He appreciated the efforts of PTA towards proliferation of ICT sector of the country. He further said that local content and applications have generated new forms of consumption and attracted large number of consumers.
Chairman PTA said in his welcome address that to take advantage of the rapidly changing society, governments need to monitor and benchmark progress in order to design and review national policies and strategies. In order to do so, reliable data and indicators on the access and use of ICTs, and their impact on development have to be defined and collected. Chairman said that such data and indicators help governments design and evaluate ICT policies and strategies, compare their ICT developments with those in other countries and adopt solutions to reduce the digital divide. These rankings also depicts the current snapshot of country’s ICT profile that is a key parameter for investors to analyse market and to take an informed decision of their investment opportunity in the country, Chairman further added.
At the symposium, Mr Tahir Mushtaq, Member (HRD), MoIT highlighted Ministry of IT role in the betterment of ICT Indicators. Mr Sameer Sharma Senior Advisor, ITU Asia-Pacific introduced ITU’s work on ICT indicators measurement.
Mr Tariq Sultan Member (Finance), PTA briefed about PTA efforts for improving the ICT profile of Pakistan. Dr. Muhammad Saleem, DG, PTA shared his views on telecom data collection by PTA, Ms Rabia Awan, Director, PBS and, Mr Attiq-ur Rehman, Director, PBS, gave presentations on ICT household data collection by PBS, and Mr. Zafar ul Hassan, Project Director, Ministry of Planning, shared about development and reform ICT indicators & effective monitoring of SDGs.
Mr. Abdul Samad, Member (Compliance & Enforcement), PTA moderated a session under the theme "removing impediments on ICT data collection & way forward. Mr. Arif Sargana, Director (CA), PTA, Mr Syed Ali Abbas Hasani, Director, PSEB, and Mr. Sikander Naqi representative from CMOs also shared their views on removing impediments on ICT data collection & way forward. Further the symposium provided opportunities to the stakeholders such as ITU, PBS, MOIT&T to share their perspective and opinions on improving ICTs data collection and reflecting true picture of the progress in telecom sector of the country. At the end of symposium Chief Guest presented shields to the speakers.
It may be mentioned that State Minister for IT&T, Ms Anusha Rehman Khan, has been appointed by ITU Secretary General as Broadband Commissioner for sustainable development of international Telecommunication Union (ITU). ITU and UNESCO set up the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's call to step-up UN efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Khurram Ali Mehran