As the election fever settles down and the Pakistani citizens have been pinning their hopes on the new government to see a Transformed Pakistan. With cricketer turned politician Imran Khan on the cusp of becoming the next Wazir-e-Azam of Pakistan, his economic vision has the potential of transforming Pakistan’s stuttering economy along with technological and entrepreneurial landscape in Pakistan. Imran Khan to Reform the Digital Landscape of Pakistan.
Imran Khan to Reform the Digital Landscape of Pakistan
Ahead of the elections, PTI has been the first political party to chalk out a comprehensive digital policy during its campaign. The 14-point policy was introduced to focus on long-term goals that can strengthen Pakistan’s standing in the digital domain.
Some of the reforms and initiatives that are expected to be fulfilled by PTI in their tenure:
1. Education in Knowledge Economy
In order to streamline all public departments to adopt a central strategic direction towards digitization of government processes, a Knowledge Economy Authority will be established by the government. Putting an end to a fragmented approach, the authority will have cross-sectional powers across various government departments to improve the adoption of technology to provide public services.
In order to manage the capacity performance of districts and village councils, monitoring, and evaluation of socio-economic indicators will be digitized for increased social inclusion.
2. Digital Landscape Reformation Initiative Program
To strengthen the digital infrastructure and enable provision of citizen services through mobile and internet, PTI has planned to set aside $2 billion for a Digital Landscape Reformation Initiative Program. This program will also work towards increasing mobile and internet penetration amongst larger populations of the country.
3. IT Special Economic Zones (SEZs)
Special Economic Zones (SEZs) can be regarded as an investment in industrial infrastructure and a services provider to attract and facilitate foreign investment, integrate local firms into global value chains, promote export-oriented growth and generate employment. For many countries, these zones are an important instrument of socioeconomic development. It is essential that PTI continues the momentum set by the previous government with the introduction of tax incentives and financial reforms for the local IT sector. Here, PTI plans on developing five major technology clusters that will serve as Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
IT exports will also be boosted by increasing access to international markets with a favorable visa regime. Pakistan embassies in different countries will also be leveraged to improve business development across international borders. In this regard, a Council of Business Leaders will be established to focus on international investments.
4. Startup Legislation
PTI has put a strong focus on empowering startups. The main focus of PTI is to follow a streamlined policy in order to empower the digitization and to transform the tech and entrepreneurial landscape in Pakistan. These reforms include:
- To create an enabling environment instead of running businesses, training programs, and incubation centers
- Provide with long-term policies instead of creating shortcuts
- Invest in human capital for a secure future for the entrepreneurs
- Increased focus on the intangible services and products which include Banking, Transportation, Telecommunication, Real estate business, hotels, Recreational centers etc.
- To bring a change in the way of thinking of the entrepreneurs and bring about a shift towards digitization processes
The upcoming government plans on developing a one-window solution for the registration of new companies, encouraging new startups to set up their official operations. Special courts are also on the PTI’s checklist to address dispute resolution and intellectual property cases that commonly arise in this sector.
5. National Digital Policy
PTI aims to improve and implement the National Digital Policy of Pakistan to include measures for ensuring digital privacy and cyber-security of all consumers of tech in the country. Be it citizens or industry. Moreover, standardization of industry will also be pursued across the sector through data sharing across all stakeholders.
The coming government is well aware of the challenges of the digital ecosystem of Pakistan. Since the policies introduced are well appreciable and it is likely that they will definitely accelerate the progress of the local IT sector creating opportunities for the beginners. The good news here is that the government stake-holders have started taking these issues very seriously so Pakistan has a good chance to boost its economy over this tenure of the government. Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has recently announced a major incentives package and the biggest tax holiday for the local IT industry.