Eminent Pakistani economist Dr. Nadeemul Haq (no relation to Riaz Haq) interviewed Riaz Haq last week for his podcast "Soch Bichar" to talk about the subject of "Digitization in Pakistan" in Urdu. Here is a summary of the interview:
Dr. Nadeemul Haq: How do you define "digitization"?
Riaz Haq: To me, digitization on a national scale is pervasive use of digital technologies in all aspects of life: business, trade, industry, media, finance, government, education, sports, entertainment, military, etc etc.
NH: What is happening in Pakistan on digitization?
RH: Jahangir Tareen, a close aide to Prime Minister Imran Khan, has recently announced the hiring of a woman of Pakistani origin who is currently working for Google in Singapore. He said she will lead the digitization effort in Pakistan from the Prime Minister's office.
NH: Is digitization possible in Pakistan?
RH: Yes, it is possible. Digitization requires digital infrastructure and human capital. Pakistan is making progress on both of these. You could argue that it is not happening fast enough but both are happening.
A lot of fiber is being laid and Zong has recently completed 5G trials. There are about 70 million subscriptions to mobile broadband. Number of smartphones being sold is rising with 1 million to 2 million being sold each month. About 30,000 to 40,000 young people with IT skillsets are graduating from various educational institutions.
NH: What can the government do to help increase digitization?
RH: The government's job is in the policy areas to facilitate it. For example, the government bureaucracy needs to ensure that the required licenses for 5G are issued in a timely manner to make it widely available. The government needs to provide various incentives to promote investment in digital fiber and data centers, etc etc. The government also needs to invest in development of human capital and skillsets needed for digitization.
NH: How can Pakistan promote digital entrepreneurship? Startups?
RH: Pakistan needs to help develop an ecosystem for startups: Legal framework, Incubators, venture capital, etc etc.
NH: Pakistan already has several incubators. What do you think about them?
RH: Pakistan can learn from Silicon Valley incubators like ycombinator. Silicon Valley incubators are created and managed by successful entrepreneurs and startup investors. Pakistan does have a few successful entrepreneurs and investors like Monis Rehman (rozee.pk), Zia Chishti (afiniti.com), Musaddir Sheikha (Careem) and Asad Jamal (ePlanet). Incubators headed by them would be more successful.
NH: What would be your advice to youngsters wanting to do startups in Pakistan?
RH: Pakistan has the world's 4th largest number of tech freelancers. Some of these freelancers have the potential to start up companies if they can get some good coaching by successful entrepreneurs and have access to venture capital. These youngsters can also grow their freelance business and use the proceeds to bootstrap into successful tech companies.
NH: Please explain for our listeners what is bootstrapping?
RH: Bootstrapping is the use of your own internally generated capital to grow a company. The most successful example of bootstrapping is Microsoft. Bill Gates and Paul Allan had developed a rudimentary BASIC interpreter with their own resources when IBM approached them and asked to purchase their "operating system". Bill and Paul didn't have an "operating system". So they bought one from Gary Kildall of Santa Cruz and sold it to IBM for its PCs. The rest is history.
NH: Will digitization in Pakistan hurt employment?
RH: Yes, that is a very valid concern. I remember when there was a Blockbuster video rental store at almost every corner in major American cities and towns. Netflix wiped them out and the franchisees and employees of the these stores lost their businesses and jobs. Similarly, Uber ride-hailing service has hurt established taxi companies and taxi drivers. However, companies like Careem, Lyft and Uber have opened up the possibility for anyone with a car to become taxi drivers on part-time and full-time basis. It's spawned "Gig Economy".
Here's the link to the podcast:
South Asia Investor Review
Public Sector IT Projects in Pakistan
Pakistan's Gig Economy 4th Largest in the World
Afiniti and Careem: Tech Unicorns Made in Pakistan
Pakistani American Heads Silicon Valley's Top Incubator
Silicon Valley Pakistani-Americans
Digital BRI and 5G in Pakistan
Pakistan's Demographic Dividend
Pakistan EdTech and FinTech Startups
State Bank Targets Fully Digital Economy in Pakistan
Campaign of Fear Against CPEC
Fintech Revolution in Pakistan
E-Commerce in Pakistan
The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story
FMCG Boom in Pakistan
Belt Road Forum 2019
Fiber Network Growth in Pakistan
Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel
#Singapore’s Patamar Capital to Invest $10 Million in #Pakistan. It has joined SEED to identify potential #technology #startup #investment opportunities in #fintech, #ecommerce, #health, #agriculture, #education sectors in the country. https://propakistani.pk/2019/09/25/singaporean-company-to-invest-10-million-in-pakistan/
This collaboration will create opportunities for growth and development for social enterprises operating within the STEM, financial Services, e-commerce, health care, agriculture, career and education sectors in Pakistan.
Considering both organizations hold women empowerment as a priority area in their investments, this collaboration is good news for women-led enterprises and enterprises producing products and services that benefit women, the statement said.
Nathan Sivagananathan, the Partner at Patamar Capital leading its South Asia strategy shared his views,
These are exciting times in Pakistan. We are excited to partner with SEED who have the best interest of the country and its people at heart, that will help Patamar identify the potential in the country.
Beau Seil, Co-Founder, and Partner of Patamar Capital said,
We are excited about the opportunities to support entrepreneurs building the companies of the future in Pakistan.
Patamar Capital (“Patamar”) is a venture capital firm that targets risk commensurate returns for its investors, while also seeking to unlock better economic opportunities for South and Southeast Asia’s low-income communities. It is currently invested in a portfolio of early-stage companies across South Asia and South-East Asia out of multiple funds.
Thanks for a very informative post. In US corporate circles the word used for digitization is Digital Transformation.
#Pakistan FBR Chief Zaidi: "The #trade deficit has been reduced by 35% and #fiscal #deficit by 36% in the first quarter of this year." Target for non-tax revenue for the current year was Rs 1,200 billion, but expect to collect Rs 1,600 billion #tax #budget https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/world/marked-decrease-in-pakistans-trade-and-fiscal-deficits-finance-advisor-4527911.html
Advisor to Pakistan prime minster on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on October 12 said the country's economic health was improving with the government tackling the twin problems of fiscal and trade deficits.
Speaking to media persons here along with Chairman of Federal Bureau of Revenue Shabbar Zaidi, Sheikh said, "The trade deficit has been reduced by 35 percent and fiscal deficit by 36 percent in the first quarter of this year."
Sheikh said there was a marked improvement in non-tax revenue collection in comparison to the previous fiscal.
"We have collected Rs 406 billion in non-tax revenue, a 140 percent increase over the previous year," he said.
The advisor said the Pakistani rupee had stabilised and net portfolio investment had increased by $340 million after three years.
He said the good health of the portfolio investments was visible in the stock market rising from 28,000 points level in August to 34,000 points recently.
Sheikh said exports were also picking up due to government assistance.
Responding to a question, FBR Chairman Zaidi said dialogue with the trading community was progressing positively and soon all issues of traders would be resolved.
Zaidi said the UAE government has agreed to provide details of properties owned by Pakistanis there, which is expected to help net black money.
Pakistan's economy was in bad shape when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government came to power in August 2018.
GSMA Report Highlights That #Mobile #Broadband Networks Now Cover 80% of #Pakistan, Representing a Great Opportunity To Deliver Life-Enhancing Services https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gsma-pakistan-government-together-harness-100000712.html?soc_src=social-sh&soc_trk=tw via @YahooFinance
Mobile technology is at the heart of digital transformation in Pakistan driving social development and economic growth. Digital transformation is underway in the country, with government and public institutions as well as private and development organisations using digital platforms to increase engagement and improve service delivery to its citizens.
Mobile broadband networks now cover 80 per cent of the population and 97 per cent of internet connections are mobile;
Pakistan has nearly 700,000 cellular IoT connections across areas including agriculture, clean energy and safe water solutions;
Mobile technology is the primary channel for digital financial services, digital birth registration initiatives, digital health solutions and digital learning;
The mobile ecosystem in Pakistan plays an increasingly important role in economic growth, contributing around $16.7 billion, equivalent to 5.4 per cent of GDP; and
Mobile operators and the ecosystem also provided direct employment to around 320,000 people in Pakistan in 2018.
Enablement of digital ecosystem is largely supported by timely policy interventions for the facilitation and enablement of the industry and most importantly the end-user.
Despite this progress, Pakistan still has much to do to realise its development aspirations as outlined in the country’s Digital Transformation initiative. The bulging youth in the country is the catalysing factor in the early realization of digital ecosystem, which is helping Pakistan in swiftly catching up with its neighbours in South Asia and countries in the Asia Pacific on several key human development indicators including education, health and gender equality. Meanwhile, rapid population growth, at nearly double the average for South Asia, could increase the pressure on existing infrastructure and services, undermining efforts to enhance social development.
Industry and Government Collaboration
Three key priorities were identified for stakeholders to enhance the impact of mobile-enabled digital transformation on Pakistan’s development aspirations:
Enhance digital and financial inclusion: Like all other developing countries and economies, Pakistan’s population is still in transition and the use mobile internet or have access to formal financial services is growing with a remarkable progress witnessed in the past few years, however, if timely actions are not taken for harnessing the benefits of digitalization and taking the opportunity to the grassroots, it may put the country at risk of missing out on the socioeconomic benefits of digital transformation. The exclusion gap cuts across gender, geographic, economic and literacy lines. For example, women are 37 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile phone.
The government, industry, tech companies and development partners are closely working to address the challenges related to connectivity, integration and modernization of telecommunication networks and services, leading to digital transformation and financial inclusion in the country.
A holistic approach to digitisation: The fragmented use of digital services by government agencies and development organisations, often leads to wastage and inefficiency in the use of resources. A whole-of-government approach to the planning and implementation of digital initiatives could increase the overall impact on society.
Use mobile platforms for national development plans: Pakistan's 12th Five-Year Development Plan runs from 2019 to 2024. There is a significant opportunity to incorporate mobile, particularly on efforts to improve areas such as gender equality, health, education and poverty reduction.
Former Google Executive Tania Aidrus arrived in Pakistan to head digital Pakistan initiative
Tania Aidrus, a former google chief of staff and head of the strategitic initiatives at NBU, has returned to Pakistan after quitting her job several months earlier to serve Pakistan digital transformation initiative.
Before being a google executive she co-founded ClickDiagnostics, it is a mobile health diagnostic company that connected rural patients with doctors around the world. In the U.S she served as a leader in the Global Business Organization at Google and now recently in Singapore, she served as a Country Manager for South Asian Frontier markets at Google.
Tania has spent half of her life abroad and now after 20 years, she has finally returned to Pakistan after quitted her job as a Google executive. Tania quitted her job a few months earlier so that she can head Pakistan Digital initiative and lead the country into a digital age.
Today at the inauguration of Digital Pakistan at Islamabad, Tania shared her plans to lead the country’s digital transformation. She said She wants to put Pakistan on the map as far as technology and innovation was concerned.
Through this program, the paperless environments will be enforced in government departments and communication will take place through digital channels instead of papers.
During her speech at the inauguration, Tania recalled how she was contacted by PM Imran khan’s team to head the project. She told that she was introduced to the prime minister by a person she knew and after that PM forwarded an email to his reform team to contact her.
She further continued that over the course of the next few months she was in contact with Ms. Jahangir Tareen and members of the cabinet and even met the president before she Met Prime minister and discussed the project with him.
“I spent 20 years outside Pakistan,” she said. “I went abroad with a very strong message about Pakistan. People say that I am politically connected to some people. That is not the case, I don’t have a relationship with anyone in the government. My objective is simple–I just want Pakistan to succeed,” she said in her speech.
Tania said that the first and foremost important key pillar the government needs to build is access and connectivity pillar, she then quoted that A soldier from Siachen gets one opportunity a week to talk to his family members and she wanted to ensure that whenever that soldier connects with his family through video calling he can do so without any issues and disruption.
The other important key areas needed by the government of Pakistan she talked about were Digital infrastructure, E-governance, Digitisation process, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
#Pakistan eyes #ecommerce for #economic growth. Pakistan's service sector #exports (#freelance) are around $5 billion. Opportunities for #startups and #SMEs (98% of all biz) thu #digitization and e-commerce, #service exports can be enhanced. #payments http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-01/14/c_138704624.htm
Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to Pakistani prime minister on commerce, textile, industry and production, and investment, said on Monday that the special focus of the government on e-commerce policy will benefit the country, particularly giving a quantum jump to its exports.
Addressing a workshop here on e-commerce, the advisor said that in line with the government's vision of "Digital Pakistan", many lacunas in the procedural framework will be fixed.
"The moment we start minimizing the interaction between people with everything working online, then corruption will go down, inefficiency will go down and we will be able to move in a much, much faster way," he said.
Currently, Pakistan's services sector exports are around five billion U.S. dollars, said Dawood, adding that prioritizing opportunities for the startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the policy of digitization and e-commerce, service exports could be enhanced to a great extent.
According to a report about the e-commerce policy framework of Pakistan released by the country's commerce ministry in September 2019, there are over 3.2 million SME units in Pakistan, accounting for 98 percent of all the enterprises, and the SMEs employ "nearly 78 percent of the non-agriculture labor force in Pakistan and contributes more than 30 percent" to the overall gross domestic product (GDP).
"E-commerce is an opportunity to bring SMEs in the mainstream and connect them with international markets through global e-commerce platforms as well as Pakistani online market places," the report added.
Talking to Xinhua, Badar Khushnood, a member of the Pakistani software houses association P@SHA, said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is providing a great opportunity to Pakistan to learn and collaborate with Chinese tech giants like Tencent and Alibaba to tap its e-commerce potential.
Khushnood is of the view that companies like Alibaba, Uber and Careem have conducted B2C business in the country, and the business can be further expanded within the B2B framework as well.
According to a report released by the website Export.gov which is managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, it is estimated that Pakistan has around 32 million Facebook users, and one of the highest rates of smartphone penetration in South Asia at nearly 34 percent. This makes it a potential market for e-commerce services and businesses.
Jawaid Ghani, professor of strategy and marketing research at Karachi School of Business and Leadership, told Xinhua that e-commerce facilitates make transaction easier, which is essential for foreign direct investment.
To increase exports, Pakistan has to introduce new e-commerce avenues as this would increase economic activity across all levels including B2B, B2C and C2C, he said.
The Export.gov report also noted that a large component of Pakistan's economy is informal and this is mainly because the majority of transactions are conducted in cash, except for those that are very large and require a bank draft or pay order. The majority of the local companies especially the SMEs are undocumented and therefore out of the tax net.
Ghani said that e-commerce and digital payment services would ensure transparency in transaction along with bringing the documentation of the undocumented transfer of money.
The McKinsey Global Institute report estimated that Pakistan can have an increase of a cumulative seven percentage points in its GDP along with the generation of around four million new jobs during 2016-2025 through utilizing digital financial services alone.
Pakistan - eCommerce
Describes how widely e-commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantages of e-commerce in the local market and reputable, prominent B2B websites.Last Published: 7/10/2019
Pakistan is still largely a cash-based, informal economy. The majority of transactions are conducted in cash, except for those that are very large and require a bank draft or pay order. Several studies suggest that up to 60 percent of the economy is informal, with the majority of local companies, particularly SMEs, undocumented and outside the tax net.
A number of government departments have started to offer services via the Internet. In the private sector, four Pakistani airlines now offer e-ticketing and almost all local banks offer online banking services. This segment of the economy is expected to grow steadily as there are approximately 44.6 million Internet subscribers in Pakistan and this figure is expected double during the next five years.
There are also more than 32 million Facebook users in Pakistan and several local companies now use social media to promote their products and services. Pakistan has one of the highest rates of smartphone penetration in South Asia at nearly 34 percent, and mobile banking is an area with some promise.
Current Market Trends
The e-commerce sector has focused mainly on consumer products. Online customers in Pakistan search for and purchase consumer electronics and mobile phones, employment queries, online education and counseling, sale/purchase and information gathering about vehicles, computers and accessories, financial services, laptops and notebooks, motor vehicles by brand, test preparation and tutoring, and apparel and accessories. Consumer choices and the records they generate also produce a trove of data.
There are no banned browsers in Pakistan. Google Chrome is the most popular browser with 56 percent of total visitors, followed by Microsoft Internet Explorer with 21 percent. The remaining 23 percent of searches are through Android, Safari, Opera, Opera Mini, UC Browser, Safariand Maxthon respectively. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Android account for the longest session durations.
Popular eCommerce Sites
Some leading eCommerce websites in Pakistan are;
According to reports, 95 percent of e-companies get payments for their online orders by cash-on-delivery. This increases the liquidity requirements for e-commerce companies and also forces them to have dedicated teams that manage cash receipts for the company, thereby raising operational costs. The larger players in the e-commerce space have started to utilize digital payments, and are optimistic that the industry will come together to coax consumers into moving away from cash-on-delivery to online payments. Digital payments also represent a hurdle for Pakistan’s e-commerce sector. While a number of products like EasyPaisa, JazzCash, and uPaisa – which are mobile banks - are available today, none of them has high market penetration. This, coupled with the fact that only 24 percent of the country’s population has a bank account, vastly raises the cost of doing business for e-commerce companies.
#Pakistan plans cashless society. State Bank to to install additional 1 million #digital access points over 3 years. A Micro #Payment Gateway is being implemented in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for faster #retail #payments. https://nation.com.pk/20-Jan-2020/pakistan-adopts-roadmap-towards-cashless-society-report
A roadmap has been brought in practice in government's circles to take the country towards a cashless society, reports Gwadar Pro Mobile News Net. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) earlier launched the National Payment Strategy System (NPSS) in order to build a road map and action plan for Pakistan to have a modern and robust digital payments network.
According to the report, the key goal of the strategy is to make the access of the people easier to financial services while helping them to improve financial inclusion in the country, particularly for women, along with greater documentation of the economy.
Therefore the SBP aimed to develop a faster payment system that would simplify the requesting, receiving and sending of payments in the country.
The State Bank of Pakistan in collaboration with the private sector, would increase the number of digital access points for making easy payments and plans to install additional one million digital access points over the next three years. SBP also claimed that migration to electronic payments will stimulate consumption and trade, boosting Pakistan's economy by as much as seven per cent and creating four million jobs by 2025. The Micro Payment Gateway is being implemented in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to ensure faster retail payments.
Meanwhile the World Bank also extended its full support to the central bank in implementation of key economic reforms and action items as highlighted in the strategy. Cash still dominates Pakistan's economy, with most wages paid in paper money and merchants largely unable to accept digital payments. Only 21% of adults have a transaction account and of these only seven percent are women. In developing countries like Pakistan, transparent cashless digital transactions can instill greater confidence in international investors.
Pakistan can acquire much from other developed countries like China to further boost the digital payment system, which is still in its infancy, as the latter has an immense knowledge base, experience and advanced technology in this field.
China's estimated 890 million unique mobile payment users made transactions totaling around $17 trillion in 2017—more than double the 2016 figure. The number of people making mobile merchant payments raised to 577 million in 2019 and expected to touch almost 700 million in 2022.
Beside many advantages coming with it there are also few challenges and issues with digital payments in country like Pakistan. For example, cyber security remains a key focus area of the central bank as keeping the system protected from cyber-attacks is a major challenge. Issues related to internet connectivity, power infrastructure, digital payment set-ups and lack of necessary insight among wider society can constrain the outreach of digital transactions. Cash is not an option but a necessity for a major chunk of our population, as only 21% of Pakistanis have access to formal financial services.
Therefore, cashless economy cannot be imposed rather it has to be gradually adopted by general public for successful implementation. The application also needs to be very simple and easy to use so that everyone can understand.
PM Imran Khan's Tweet:
"Today my govt fulfilled another commitment when I launched the ICT City App bringing govt directly to ppl's doorstep & all city depts together. This has become even more critical during this time of COVID 19 pandemic. As many as 43 different services are being provided online"
Prime Minister Imran Khan late Thursday night said that his administration fulfilled yet another commitment after they launched the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) City App.
In a tweet the premier said: "Today my govt fulfilled another commitment when I launched the ICT City App bringing govt directly to ppl's doorstep & all city depts together. This has become even more critical during this time of COVID 19 pandemic."
"As many as 43 different services are being provided online," he said.
The options include "e-policing, emergency services, NIC, domiciles, passports, arms licenses, vehicle registration, token tax payments, birth & death certificates & other services," he said.
"App will also allow rapid response by the Administration to shortages of goods incldng vital medical supplies," he noted.
"This will end inconvenience caused to citizens having to wait in long queues and numerous trips to govt offices," he expressed.
This will end inconvenience caused to citizens having to wait in long queues and numerous trips to govt offices. After a trial period in Islamabad we will introduce this service in other cities as well.
"After a trial period in Islamabad we will introduce this service in other cities as well," he added.
#Pakistan #Digitisation gets a boost amid #COVID-19 #pandemic. Daily Interbank financial transactions (ibft) was averaging 188,000 during the pre-#lockdown period, it jumped to around 357,000 and hit the peak of almost 700,000 towards the end of May.-
EVER since the coronavirus outbreak forced people to distance, there’s been a lot of talk in financial and tech circles of the accelerating behavioural shift that will push digitisation.
But so far, little evidence has surfaced at a broad level to substantiate the claims. To get a better sense of the underlying trends, let’s take a look at the data that Dawn acquired from 1LINK — a payment service operator/provider and switch system.
It shows that compared with the pre-lockdown period (up to March 23), inter-bank funds transfer (IBFT) witnessed a massive jump of 90.4 per cent in volume post-lockdown.
While the number of daily IBFT transactions was averaging around 188,000 during the pre-lockdown period, it jumped to around 357,000 and hit the peak of almost 700,000 towards the end of May.
Similarly, the value of IBFT transactions also soared 40.7pc between March 24 and June 15 compared with the period spanning from Jan 1 to the imposition of the first nationwide lockdown.
On the other hand, ATM cash withdrawals (interbank through 1LINK) dipped 20.4pc in volume and 14.8pc in value as the number of work hours was often reduced and people avoided outdoors.
Meanwhile, bill payments through 1LINK (across all modes) saw a mixed trend. Their volume fell 11pc while value grew 9.7pc.
However, the number of billers integrated on the 1LINK Bill Payment Service rose exponentially in the past few months — from 75 until December 2019 to more than 420 as of now — suggesting a rapidly growing shift towards online channels from the supply side.
Easypaisa registered a 17pc increase in the number of daily transactions through its app while Daraz witnessed an increase of 8.2 times in the use of e-wallets
Another interesting bit was the average ticket size of mobile top-ups. It increased 36pc from Rs143 pre-lockdown to Rs195 now.
The most significant spike came in the number of transactions of Punjab government payments. Its volume surged a whopping 3,014pc and value 57pc in June from March.
This was accompanied by an overall rise in person-to-government payments — to the Federal Board of Revenue, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Sindh Revenue Board and Punjab government — processed through 1LINK. Its volume grew 34pc and value 64pc in June from March.
However, it must be pointed out that 1LINK data includes neither ATM transactions at the card-issuing bank’s own branch nor the intrabank funds transfer given that the company is limited to interoperability.
According to 1LINK Chief Disruption Officer Syed Ahsan Aslam, around 50pc of the total ATM transactions go through the company while the remaining are done at the issuing bank itself. A similar trend is at play in funds transfers. So based on these shares, we still get a good idea — albeit incomplete — about underlying digital payment trends.
PTCL Group conducts ‘successful 5G trials’
Minister says it will enable emerging technological environment
The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) had successfully tested 5G technology. The fifth generation technology trial was conducted in a limited environment on a non-commercial basis.
“The demonstrations included remote surgery, cloud gaming and overview of anticipated 5G technology applications in Pakistan. Moreover, the PTCL Group was able to achieve the fastest data rate with download speeds reaching 1.685 Gbpsbb during 5G trial in a limited environment,” according to a press release issued on Thursday.
Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque was also present in the ceremony. Haque along with other dignitaries was presented an overview of the live 5G usage scenarios at the ceremony.
“Once the eco-system is developed, doctors will be able to conduct surgeries remotely in far-flung areas. Thus, it will create new social and economic development opportunities that will make the dream of Digital Pakistan a reality,” it read.
On the occasion, Haque said: “[The] PTCL Group takes a momentous step of successful trial of 5G technology in Pakistan. [The] Ministry of IT & Telecom is committed to Prime Minister’s vision of a Digital Pakistan & Broadband for all its utility and is striving towards realization of PM's vision further as boundless, high speed & resilient.”
He was of the view that communication played a major role in the social economic development and uplift of the financial inclusion of the country. 5G technology would enable an emerging technological environment and eco-system conducive for economic prosperity in the country, he added.
Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, the federal secretary for IT and Telecommunication said: “We are committed to the vision of a Digital Pakistan. [The] PTCL Group’s successful 5G trial today is a major step that will pave the way towards digitisation of Pakistan.” Siddiqui, who is also the chairman of PTCL Board of Directors, added that such a technology would open new avenues in many fields such as education, health, security and communication.
Moreover, Nadeem Khan, the acting CEO and group chief financial officer of PTCL Group, said the PTCL has been serving the nation since 1947. With 5G trial in a limited environment, he added that the technology would unlock new realities for e-health, smart homes and cities, agriculture, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, internet of things and artificial intelligence.
“The PTCL Group’s remote surgery demo enabled by 5G, successfully tested for the first time in Pakistan, will enable people living in far-flung areas to potentially have access to the best medical facilities available anywhere in the world,” Khan said. (WITH INPUT FROM APP)
PM #ImranKhan: Kisan Card will 'transform' farming in #Pakistan. #Technology will eliminate bribes and let #farmers get #agriculture loans and have direct access to agriculture #subsidies for #seeds, #pesticides & #fertilizer.
The premier said that the subsidy on DAP (diammonium phosphate), which was previously Rs500, would also be increased to Rs1,000 under the Kisan Card.
"Subsidies will also be available for seeds and pesticides," said the prime minister, adding that loans to farmers would also be provided through the card and preparations for this were already under way.
The premier said that during the PTI government's tenure, farmers had gained an additional Rs1,100 billion due to the prices they received for produce such as sugarcane, wheat and corn.
"Pakistan's poverty is concentrated in rural areas," he said, adding that the additional money that farmers would gain would help to improve their standard of living. He said that reducing poverty had been the "real purpose" of the PTI government since day one, adding that it was now "moving towards that target".
The prime minister also mentioned other measures the government was taking to improve the agricultural sector and pointed out the Rs300bn transformation package.
"Water is a very big problem. If farmers face water shortages then their produce is affected," he said, adding that two big dams were being made after 50 years to address this issue and Rs220bn from the transformation package was set aside for the fortification and lining of canals. Additional small scale water projects were also being carried out, he said.
He also stated that due to his efforts, agriculture had been brought under the scope of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to benefit from Beijing's agricultural technology and seed development. Pakistan's own research institutions on seed development would also be revamped, the premier said.
The prime minister also stated that a lot of agricultural produce that was imported, would now be grown in Pakistan, adding that the country's favourable climate and temperature provided the necessary conditions to increase crop yield.
"Our farmers are still using old methods," lamented the premier and stated that extension services were being privatised. A trained professional per Union Council would be responsible for visiting farmers on a motorcycle in the area and informing them about new agricultural techniques.
"There is great need for this because we need [to adopt] new [agricultural] practices," said the prime minister, adding that Pakistan's agriculture was subsistence level so "we will train them (farmers) through extension services to increase their productivity."
He also pointed out initiatives to develop Pakistan's livestock and said Pakistan still imported milk due to low productivity. Thus, Rs40bn have been set aside to import semen so livestock breeds could be improved, said the premier.
"You will see that change will come in one to two years and because of that, milk production will increase three-fold," he said, adding that improving the breed of livestock will not only allow Pakistan to provide cheap milk but also export cheese and milk.
"We can earn $25bn just from cheese and milk exports in the next three years."
Prime Minister Imran Khan lamented the losses that vegetables and fruits suffered at 50 per cent and 20pc for grains. "So we have decided to develop storage for them and food processing plants," he announced, adding that billions of rupees were lost due to 20pc of wheat being lost and fruits and vegetables could otherwise be provided much cheaper.
Among other measures he mentioned were doubling of loans for farmers, local production of fertilisers, doubling cereal production as well as improving local production of medicinal plants, corn and developing the fishery sector such as prawns.
Google's and Kantar's"Journey to Digital" report on Pakistan
The two-stage study interviewed 4,135 Pakistanis aged between 15-55 in both urban and rural areas.
The study found that 76% of Pakistanis are connected to the internet in the top three cities of the country.
The study further shows 46% of all Pakistanis access the internet every day.
Pakistan is witnessing a digital revolution and most of the citizens are ready to embrace it as more than half the population of the country access internet on daily basis, a study has revealed.
Google and Kantar shared new research “Journey to Digital” about the digital population in Pakistan. The two-stage study interviewed 4,135 Pakistanis aged between 15-55 in both urban and rural areas.
The study found that 76% of Pakistanis are connected to the internet in the top three cities of the country (Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi / Islamabad).
Overall, 66% of internet users are based in urban areas while 47% are based in rural areas. The study further showed that 46% of all Pakistanis access the internet every day.
According to the study, young males are early adopters, who access the internet more than any other group. They are also keener to try new things and need the internet for education and work.
Internet usage surged due to COVID-19, finds the study, as, before the lockdown, 79% of internet users in urban locations accessed the internet daily, which increased by 10% since lockdowns were imposed.
Google Search and YouTube are most popular in Pakistan, said the study. YouTube, used by nearly 90% of all internet users, is the most popular app in Pakistan for streaming music and watching video/TV, and 38% of Pakistan's internet users go to YouTube in the research phase of their shopping journey.
The study also says that one-third of all internet users in Pakistan have made a purchase online and one-fourth of these shoppers have increased their spending during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Pakistan is a witness to the e-commerce boom as 71% of Pakistani shoppers find purchasing products or services online easy, while 66% find it convenient. Another 54% agree that online shopping websites or apps give personalised product recommendations, which is a common question from shoppers.
However, 66% of consumers believe that online shopping is the way forward, and two-thirds of Pakistan online shoppers believe that they will buy products or services online after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faraz Azhar, Industry Head, Performance, South Asia Frontier Markets, Google explained, “With half of its population on the internet - Pakistan is now online! This is the first time Google and Kantar released a study to understand more about Pakistan’s internet population. But it’s not only about people getting online, this research has uncovered new insights and behaviours that show how COVID is impacting online behaviour and the digital opportunities waiting to be unlocked.”
"More people are coming online in Pakistan, creating a great opportunity for eCommerce businesses - if they are ready to seize it. As we see more exploration of the internet beyond social, e-retailers can capture natural cross-category purchasing on its rise, but only if they have first established themselves and their product offering in an online marketplace," he said.
Trust is also crucial, so helping customers gain confidence by showing them how easy, convenient and personal the e-shopping experience will be critical to continuing the upward rise of eCommerce in Pakistan, Leah Westwood, Client Manager at Kantar added.
#Netflix cuts prices in #Pakistan to grow #streaming business. The Standard plan now costs Rs 800 per month whereas the Premium plan is now priced at Rs 1,100. The plans were earlier, Rs 1500 and Rs 1200 respectively. #entertainment #movies #online https://tribune.com.pk/story/2324797/netflix-lowers-prices-in-pakistan
While Netflix recently hiked prices in NZ, Netherlands as well as Spain, the company has reduced prices in Pakistan
Last month Netflix announced it is launching a free mobile plan in Kenya as the global streaming giant hopes to bank on the 20 million internet users the country offers. The plan will allow users to sign up free of cost and includes ads.
Netflix has experimented with a different price offerings in different countries to attract customers, esp in developing nations. The mobile plans offered in India and Pakistan are one such example.
“We design courses in collaboration with industry and play a very important role in terms of international linkages and accreditation in the skills area. Traditionally, these skills would include plumbing, electrical, welding, carpentry, etc; today they encompass high-tech areas”
“such as AI, coding and web design. To summarise, NAVTTC designs policy for the government, allocates resources and ensures that the standards meet the local market requirements and are internationally accepted as well.”
MAB: How receptive is the industry to this idea?
SJH: People in the industry always maintain that training is the critical need of the country and we should be investing much more in that direction. The reality is that they look to the government to provide all the training and the facilities; they don’t want to invest time and energy in a more involved collaboration. We have tried to work with the Chambers of Commerce, but so far, we have not seen the kind of enthusiasm that is needed. However, things are changing. For example, we are working closely with the Hashoo Group to train young people in the hospitality sector. We are also working with a few manufacturing companies that are providing training on the factory floor. Pakistan’s main problem is productivity and productivity is dependent on the capability of the labour force; unless industry is prepared to invest in them, it will not have a capable labour force.
MAB: From which educational stream do most trainees come from?
SJH: When we were just offering traditional skills, we were attracting young people from the Matric or FSC level from government schools; young people who probably were unable to get into a university. As a result, there was a stigma attached to vocational training, an unfair one in my view – and people preferred not to opt for vocational training, even though there are good jobs out there and with good earning potential. Under Hunarmand Pakistan’s Kamyab Jawan Scheme, we have introduced high-end technical skills that offer entrepreneurial or digital facing opportunities, and since then we have seen a very different kind of student body coming in. Many are graduates who have not found jobs because they lack industry experience (it makes you wonder what kind of graduates we are producing that the industry is unwilling to hire them) and have taken advantage of the courses we offer and almost immediately found jobs. In the first phase, we trained about 40% of our intake in traditional skills, and according to an internal survey, almost 65% found a job. In terms of the high-end technical skills, about 80 to 85% have either started their own companies, are freelancing or are in jobs. We are now seeing young people from different social stratas taking up the trainings we offer. We cannot know everything about the market and one of the best proxies to understand the market requirements is to find out what the young themselves want to learn; they better than anyone else know what kind of jobs are out there and we have persuaded the institutes to talk to industry as well as to the young people and design the courses accordingly. As a result, applications have been much higher compared to the previous ones, when NAVTTC as well as the vocational institutes had to run after people to persuade them to enrol; in fact, this time, the courses have been oversubscribed. We should not underestimate the wisdom of young people. Most of them want to find jobs and stand on their own feet; do not force them on to a certain path; instead, ask them what path they want to follow and enable it.
#Pakistan Customs to Use TradeLens to digitize #import-#export documentation of the containerized cargo. Pakistan Single Window (PSW) Company signed the agreement on behalf of Pakistan Customs. TradeLens is a #blockchain-underpinned #logistics platform. https://www.porttechnology.org/news/pakistan-customs-joins-tradelens/
Pakistan Customs has entered an agreement with TradeLens to digitise import-export documentation of the containerised cargo moving in and out of the country.
The Pakistan Single Window (PSW) Company signed the agreement on behalf of Pakistan Customs with TradeLens, a blockchain-underpinned logistics platform supported by five of the six largest ocean carriers globally.
PSW integration with TradeLens will help Pakistan Customs and other trade regulators to improve their operational efficiency and create value through the blockchain platform.
The immutability of blockchain-underpinned document information is important in the identification of illegal activities, as well as, improving the smooth operation of legal trade.
Pakistan’s international trade ecosystem is being rapidly transformed through the introduction of technology driven initiatives led by the Pakistan Single Window.
The country’s authorities recognise the potential benefits of digitising supply chains for efficiencies, enhanced transparency, and data-driven decision making.
The authorisation to sign the collaboration came from the PSW Governing Council chaired by Shaukat Tarin. The CEO of PSW Aftab Haider formally signed the agreement with Irtaza Hussain, the Regional Head of Network for TradeLens at IBM.
Cross-border containerised supply chains are some of the largest and most complex business ecosystems in the world today. It is not uncommon for 30 independent parties, 100 people and up to 200 exchanges of information to be connected to a single shipment.
With increased complexity comes increased cost. Shippers or beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) need consistent, auditable and immutable data from multiple sources to effectively manage their supply chains.
Marvin Erdly, Head of TradeLens at IBM, commented, “The growth of the TradeLens’ network is evidence that participants from all across the supply chain ecosystem can derive significant value through digital collaboration.
“Pakistan now joins an increasing number of connected Customs Authorities on the TradeLens platform exploring innovative solutions to enhance global trade access and enhance process efficiencies for all involved”.
TradeLens is a neutral platform brings together data from the entire global supply chain ecosystem including shippers and cargo owners, 3PLs and freight forwarders, intermodal operators, customs and government authorities, ports and terminals, and several ocean carriers.
This data allows TradeLens and its network partners to modernise manual and paper-based documents by replacing them with blockchain-enabled digital solutions. It also allows the network partners to provide their customers with deeper visibility into the entire journey for their cargo from origin to destination and reduce uncertainty allowing for better planning and reduced inventory costs.
TradeLens welcomed its first network member in Pakistan, Al-Hamd International Container Terminal, earlier this year.
PSW is an initiative of Pakistan’s federal government with a focus of transforming the trade and industry ecosystem.
5G technology to be launched next year
The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is likely to launch 5G technology next year in the country to cope with the challenges of the digital world. The official of ministry of IT and telecommunication said that the provision of broadband services across the country was the topmost priority of the ministry of IT. He said that the ministry of IT through the Universal Service Fund (USF) had launched some 70 projects of optical fiber cable (OFC) and broadband infrastructure development in four provinces at a cost of Rs 65 billion. “All projects are underway in far-flung areas would be completed by June next year,” he added. “In the province of Sindh alone, 20 projects of NGBSD and OFC worth Rs16.3 billion have been started so far in 20 districts, including Tharparkar, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Larkana, Badin, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Mirpurkhas, and Dadu,” the official said. He said that projects of connectivity of the un-served and underserved communities of Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces had also been launched. He said, through USF aimed to connect all the citizens of the country as digitalisation had become a priority for businesses and communities. Under its Next Generation Optic Fiber (NG-OF) Network and Services programme, USF had contracted over 16,000km of Optic Fiber Cable (OFC) to benefit 31.5 million populations across the country.
Pakistan set for digital census with tablets supplied by NADRA
The last batch of 17,600 tablets powered by an indigenous solution from Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has been received by the chief statistician of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Naeem uz Zafar ahead of a planned digital population and housing census.
This brings the total number of tablets supplied for the exercise to 126,000.
The last batch of 17,600 tablets powered by an indigenous solution from Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has been received by the chief statistician of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Naeem uz Zafar ahead of a planned digital population and housing census.
This brings the total number of tablets supplied for the exercise to 126,000.
According to an agency announcement, NADRA also played an important role in distributing the tablets to all the 495 districts, braving the odds to complete the exercise within a period of nine days.
The digital ID authority also made available about 100 experts to help in the training of over 90,000 enumerators who will be deployed on the field when the census begins.
After handing over the tablets, NADRA Chairman Tariq Malik also visited the facility offering some technical services to the census preparation process at the PBS.
Malik hailed the census as a huge step further towards a digital Pakistan: “The digital census is a step that pulls Pakistan out of ancient past and opens doors of a modern future. From scribbled responses on millions of paper sheets to real time validated data in apps on secure devices with satellite imagery – is a step towards digital Pakistan. Big data from digital census will become the foundational system for evidence based policy making for Pakistan.”
The solution from NADRA was developed in just three weeks and includes an Android-based house listing and enumeration application synchronized with GPS and GIS systems, data center and call center services, a web portal and other associated services.
NADRA is the official technology partner of the PBS for the upcoming population and housing census which is the 7th in the country but the first-ever to be done through digital means.
Biometric vehicle registration
NADRA also recently concluded a deal to henceforth conduct biometric checks on vehicle owners as part of efforts to combat fraud in vehicle transfer and ownership processes.
The deal sealed between NADRA and the Sindh Department of Excise and Taxation and Anti-Narcotics will be carried out through the ‘Sahulat Program,’ according to reporting by The Nation.
The first phase of the biometric program will run for three years.
Sindh Excise and Taxation and Anti-Narcotics Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla praised the partnership saying it will help curb the phenomenon of vehicles operating with fake documents.
NADRA recently partnered with telecoms operators for a new fingerprint system to register SIM cards in Pakistan.
First-ever digital population census in March
ISLAMABAD: Without having the requirement of Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) for verification purposes, Pakistan’s first-ever digital Population Census will collect data from 185,000 blocks in March 2023 whereby a 40-point questionnaire covering eight important areas’ details would be sought.
The 40-point questionnaire will seek information about eight broad areas in the upcoming population census exercise, including households, basic amenities, demography, education, health, employment, disability and migration.
Chief Statistician Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) Dr Naeem Uz Zafar said that Pakistan’s Census in 2023 is going to be digital for the first time ever in the country’s history. All the preparations are rolled out and the team is now ready for the gigantic task. “The effort is entirely indigenous; all the systems devised and the tools created are by our own experts,” he said.
He was addressing a seminar, themed “Census 2023: All You Want to Know About” at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Islamabad on Thursday. He said census is an important national activity that is linked with resource allocation to provinces, representation in National/Provincial assemblies and the delimitation process. Therefore, the credibility of the census is of utmost importance. This is what called for comprehensive introspection leading to a solution acceptable to all i.e. digital census.
He apprised the audience that after the results of latest Census 2017 were approved in the 45th CCI meeting held on 12th April 2021, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) gave directions for the next census to start as early as possible and which should be according to international best practices by using the latest technology. The Government of Pakistan then constituted a committee of renowned demographers and experts with comprehensive TORS to bring transparency, credibility, and wider acceptability of census processes and results. For this, a board-based stakeholders’ engagement was carried out in order to have ownership of the process.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Dr Nadeem ul Haque, Vice Chancellor, PIDE, said that censuses remain controversial in Pakistan, at times delayed for over a decade. Now that we are moving toward the new census, it is time to raise all the concerns and questions we have.
“The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has estimated that there will be a total funding requirement of Rs34 billion for holding census exercise out of which Rs10 billion have been provided to PBS while they have requested the Finance Ministry to release the remaining amount of Rs24 billion,” said the top official sources while talking to The News here on Thursday.
Sources said for the first time, self enumeration facility will also be made available. Household geotagging will be done to accomplish the exercise. There will be 126,000 enumerators collecting data from 185,000 blocks from all over the country.
The army personnel will provide foolproof security to 90,000 enumerators while police personnel will also accompany the enumerators to provide security at the first stage. Then the army will deploy its Quick Response Force to ensure overall supervision of foolproof security of the whole census exercise all over the country.
Each enumerator will be responsible to collect data from two blocks in 30 days of March 2023. The PBS has already held a consultation with Director General Military Operation (DGMO) and the army showed its readiness to spare personnel for providing security.
The population census will be done on a de-jure basis as everyone will be counted where he or she stayed in the last six months and hold a plan to continue staying in the same place for the next six months.
Pakistan ID boss to head UNDP digital transformation committee as World Bank mulls funding | Biometric Updat
World Bank considers $78M project for digital public services
Malik has previously worked on identity projects with both the World Bank and UNDP. ProPakistani reports that the World Bank will consider the US$78 million ‘Pakistan: Digital Economy Enhancement Project’ that seeks a more holistic approach to digital government services for citizens and businesses.
While Pakistan has relatively robust national ID and payment systems (with links to improve service and inclusion), a lack of interoperability frameworks has limited public and private efforts for secure data exchange.
The country lacks certain elements of digital infrastructure and digital government, notes the report, though acknowledges that nearly four million citizens have been a smartphone app called the Pakistan Citizen’s Portal for accessing services or submitting grievances.
A data protection bill is still in draft form and requires more work, finds the World Bank documentation. Together these issues mean a lack of implementation support for digital projects, despite policy instruments at the federal and provincial levels. World Bank analysis therefore finds opportunities are being missed in the country’s digital transformation.
A recent opinion piece in Pakistan Today also covered elements of progress in the digital economy in the country.
Property registrars go biometric in Sindh province
All offices of the Sub-Registrar Property in Sindh province will be equipped with biometric identity verification systems to prevent impersonation in property registration, reports The Express Tribune.
NADRA Technologies Limited (NTL), a subsidiary of NADRA, signed an agreement with the Board of Revenue Sindh in Karachi, the province’s largest city. The system will be linked to the NADRA database and used to check the identity of property buyers and sellers.
The development of such systems was reported on in July 2022, with a similar biometric verification system slated for the Capital Development Authority.
1,800 TCF schools: Jazz digitally enabling TCF to implement tech-enabled learning - Pakistan - Business Recorder
KARACHI: Jazz, Pakistan’s leading digital operator and a part of VEON Group, is digitally enabling The Citizens Foundation (TCF) to implement tech-enabled learning across 1,800 TCF schools and ensuring an advanced learning experience for over 250,000 students nationwide.
As part of this initiative, 23 computer labs have already been revamped, and a school management app has been introduced in all TCF schools, offering efficiency, transparency, and accuracy of data collection and management for all students, faculty, and non-faculty employees.
The blended learning solution for primary students is an innovative approach that combines online and offline education to provide a more interactive and engaging learning experience, while the computer curriculum under DLP (Digital Literacy Program) for grades 6-8 is specifically designed to equip students with digital-age skills.
The digitization initiative also facilitated the translation of books and learning materials for grades 6 and 7 into Urdu, creating a bilingual curriculum, along with a scripted bilingual lesson plan. In addition, 700 Android phones were delivered to schools across the entire TCF network, which aided in implementation of blended learning program.
Commenting on the initiative, Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim said, "We are proud to have collaborated with TCF on this important initiative to digitize schools and provide students with access to the latest technology. Driven by the impetus to digitally empower youth and to assist the Government of Pakistan in realizing its Digital Pakistan vision, Jazz continues to club its resources and expertise in creating long-term, sustainable solutions and partnerships that uplift individuals and the larger community."
Additionally, the female teacher training program is a crucial part of the grant as it will digitally empower women to take on more leadership roles and optimize their performance, which has been a key focus area for Jazz toward building an integrated and equitable society.
Post a Comment