On the invitation of DG WTO, Minister IT Anusha Rahman, attended a roundtable on the sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF) where she highlighted Pakistan’s initiatives taken to promote the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) across the country.
Speaking on the SMBs as a global force for development, she said:
“In Pakistan we think that development of SMEs is directly linked with the development of cross border e-commerce. Pakistan is launching a Made in Pakistan portal where 50,000 artisans will be brought online.”
Furthermore, she stressed that a lot of corrective measures are needed, so that global south is not treated merely as a pool of customers but given equal opportunities to offer their goods in global markets.
“The availability of digital platforms has eased service delivery and e-education, e-learning, e-health, e-agriculture etc are some of the avenues where industry can actively work with governments,” she added.
The minister said industry and government priorities should be synchronized and sustainable partnership models need to be operation under the public private partnership (PPP) to achieve societal and industrial benefits.
She also stated that her ministry, along with the ministry of commerce is coordinating this policy initiative to formulate a comprehensive E-Commerce policy framework in the country which will help small businesses reap benefits of digital technology.
However, the challenges remain and discussions like these are very welcoming in finding ways to address these challenges.
“The sooner we find solutions for e-payments, infrastructure capacities, facilitative regulatory framework and credit financing for small businesses, the sooner we will provide SMBs a chance to effectively play their role in inclusive trade and development. The answers lie in international cooperation, effective engagement and a true conviction to help the smaller and poorer of this world,” she said.
Minister of State for IT and Telecom also highlighted the initiatives undertaken by Pakistan through its Universal Service Fund to spread the ICT services across the length and breadth of the country. “Our programs worth billions of rupees, which are targeted at provisioning ICT services, trainings to women and girls to reap benefits of economic opportunities offered by ICTs and at the same time to enable them unleash their potential and become productive citizens of digital world.”
Anusha in conclusions said “It is through the collective efforts of both governments and private sector to actively and positively leverage digitalization that societies can be fundamentally transformed in a sustainable way”.