The Federal Government of Pakistan has been compelled to drop important projects of the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) due to a lack of funds in the current budget. The decision raises concerns about the impact on the development of the technology and telecommunication sectors in the country.
According to a document obtained by ProPakistani, multiple projects of the Special Communication Organization (SCO) under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) 2023-24 have been dropped by the government.
The budget for the NTC project “Feasibility Study for Establishment of National Data Centre and Social Media Application” with a total cost of Rs. 483.5 million has not been allocated. Similarly, the project “Establishment of Data Centre at Karachi” with a total cost of Rs. 1,522 million did not receive funds. The PSEB projects “Animation and Gaming Industry Development” with a total cost of Rs. 198.28 million and “Establishment of IT Park Phase-II” have also been dropped.
In addition, the government abandoned other PSEB projects such as “Establishment of IT Park Quetta” and “Train the Trainers Bootcamp in High-End Emerging Technologies.” The NTC project “Long Haul DWDM Core Transmission Equipment” with a total cost of Rs. 2,524.3 million also did not receive budgetary allocation. Furthermore, the SCO project “Expansion of Optical Transmission Network” with a total cost of Rs. 3,500 million was dropped.
The government also decided not to pursue new schemes including “Expansion of Cellular Services in Unserved/Underserved Areas of AJK and GB Phase-IV,” “Expansion of Hybrid Power Solution at ICT sites for AJK and GB Phase-II,” “Feasibility Study for Migration of IB&CSS System to Convergent Billing System Phase-II,” and “Implementation of Critical Telecom Data and Infrastructure Security Regulations Phase-I.”
Only one new scheme of the Special Communications Organization (SCO) named “Expansion of GPON FTTH Services in Eleven New and Existing Cities Phase-IV” received budgetary allocation, with a total cost of Rs. 800 million and Rs. 50 million allocated under the PSDP 2023-24. Additionally, it is expected that Rs. 10 million in foreign aid will be obtained for this project in the coming fiscal year.
The government’s decision to drop these projects highlights the financial constraints it faces and the difficult choices that need to be made. The lack of funds raises concerns about the progress and development of the software export industry and telecommunication infrastructure in Pakistan. Stakeholders in these sectors are urging the government to explore alternative funding solutions to support the growth and competitiveness of these critical areas.