The newly elected Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) government is all set to replace the traditional government system with an e-government model in order to promote transparency, efficiency and development in the country.
According to the Digital Policy set by PTI, they are to also focus on public-private partnerships in the information technology sector, which has the potential to produce around one million jobs. Speaking about e-government, Yusuf Hussain CEO Ignite said, “Many countries are saving billions of dollars through e-government, hence, it is a commendable decision.”
With plans to take reins of the country in the upcoming week, PTI already plans on creating 10 million jobs over the next five years. Out of these, one million jobs will be created in the IT sector through youth training and special attention to exports. Furthermore, the newly elected government is also to allocate $2 billion for digital infrastructure, citizen services and other e-government programs over the next five years.
Through this, they hope to widen the tax net with the introduction of automation in government services. This system is also expected to check corruption significantly while promoting efficiency in citizen services.
According to the author of the PTI digital policy Syed Ahmed, “Government’s policies over the past five years were characterized by competition with the private sector and maintaining control in a decentralized and fragmented environment.”
According to the PTI Digital Policy, Pakistan has lost 20 years of potential in IT compared to India whose IT exports stand at $126 billion. Even the Philippines’ exports are worth $26 billion while Pakistan has less than $2 billion in export receipts. It also stated that Pakistan has so far failed to establish an IT company that has more than 5,000 employees while India and China have hundreds of such firms.
Therefore, PTI in their draft has proposed the setting up of the Knowledge Economy Authority with cross-sectional powers across all government departments, headed by the chief information officer from the private sector.
Moreover, PTI will also be setting a target of 10 internationally competitive IT enterprises with over 5,000 employees each and 25 mid-sized companies that will accommodate 1,000 employees each in the next five years.
As according to Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) Pakistan produces more than 20,000 IT graduates annually, 70% of them are uncompetitive due to poor-quality education. Therefore, PTI is targeting to produce 100,000 technology graduates annually by 2023 and for this purpose, it will provide land on lease to top universities for establishing additional 120 campuses with 5,000 new faculty jobs. It will attract highly-qualified expatriates to fill the space.
The digital policy also states that the new government will build five special economic zones, promote research and development culture and provide friendly environment for IT companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).It also plans to create 10,000 seat-based call centre/BPO spaces on flexible/turnkey basis.
Along with development of high-speed and quality broadband infrastructure, the government will also encourage application and content production in local languages. As the current policies are considered unfavorable by PTI for IT companies as authorities do not understand the needs of new companies. Therefore, while designing favorable policies, it aims to create intellectual property and copyright courts.
In addition, the incoming government is also planning to help IT companies attract business from abroad by launching a campaign to paint a better image of the country worldwide.