If there’s one ministry that’s in the news every day – it’s the IT Ministry! And for the right reasons… Just today, the caretaker government of Pakistan has approved the National Space Policy, opening avenues for private-sector companies to utilize low-orbit satellites for satellite communication services. The move aims to address the estimated annual economic loss of $40 million due to the unregulated space sector, where 70% of resources remain underutilized.
Caretaker Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister Dr Umar Saif revealed that international companies would be permitted to launch satellite communication services in Pakistan, subject to obtaining a no-objection certificate from the Ministry of Defence. To encourage private-sector participation, companies will contribute 6% of their income to the government’s Research and Development (R&D) Fund.
Saif further highlighted that licenses for satellite communication services would be issued by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). This initiative is expected to benefit individuals in remote areas without access to fiber cable networks, enabling them to utilize low-orbit satellite services for communication.
The National Space Policy, approved by the cabinet, addresses the lack of strategic direction and commercialization guidelines in Pakistan’s space sector. It aims to establish a comprehensive framework for responsible and profitable space activities, promoting economic sustainability and enhancing the country’s global standing.
During cabinet discussions, concerns were raised about the role of Suparco (Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission) and the need to protect its interests. The policy addresses this by stipulating that the private sector will contribute a percentage of its income to the government’s R&D Fund.
The cabinet expressed satisfaction with the policy arrangement, emphasizing the importance of taking permissions from all relevant players in the sensitive space sector. The approved policy is poised to unlock the potential of space technology, encouraging responsible space activities and fostering national development in the field.