Here is how Imran Khan is planning to transform the tech and entrepreneurial landscape in Pakistan

By Asra Rizwan on
July 28, 2018
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Election fever is settling down and the citizens are pinning hope on the new government to see a transformed Pakistan. After Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) scored the majority of seats in the National Assembly, Chairman PTI Imran Khan has kickstarted preparations for the formation of his party’s government.

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.

Here is a list of reforms and initiatives that are expected to be fulfilled by PTI in their tenure:

1. Knowledge Economy Authority

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 Transformation 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 Transformation Initiative. This program will also work towards increasing mobile and internet penetration amongst larger populations.

3. IT Special Economic Zones

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. Apart from making room for novel business models and innovation through a forward-looking regulatory framework and tax regime, PTI also wants to ease the legislation for startups as well.

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

In May, Pakistan’s first ever Digital Policy was approved by the Federal Cabinet. PTI is now eyeing to improve and implement the National Digital Policy 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.

PTI appears to be aware of the challenges of the digital ecosystem of Pakistan. We are eager to hear about the launch of these initiatives that will further accelerate the progress of the local IT sector, paving the way towards a digital economy.

 
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