Federal Minister Amin Ul Haque distributing certificate among winner at GSMA Startups Appreciation ceremony in Islamabad. ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Technology Syed Aminul Haq has said that the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom is fully committed to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Pakistan. He appreciated efforts of the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), terming that revolutionary changes in the field of telecommunication in Pakistan were now being recognized all over the world. Addressing the certificate distribution ceremony of GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion winner, he said reforms in the telecommunication sector in Pakistan and the facilities provided to mobile operators have paved way for investment in mobile networking. The organizers of the competition announced awards for three startups out of 597 start-ups applications received from 44 cities of the country for the total grant of approximately Rs 146 million. The winner startups included Vceela, Knowledge Platform and Orenda Pakistan. For the first time in the tenure of the incumbent government, the preparation of the Right of Way Policy to its approval and implementation was made which could not be done in the last 24 years, he said. Amin Ul Haque said that steps were also being taken to provide 3G and 4G services across the country. He said that the corona pandemic has changed the economic and social map of the world and now priorities have changed in many areas but information technology and telecommunication was a sector whose formula has not changed and its use and the trend has increased tremendously. He said that today was the age of information technology and youth would have to harmonize with modern trends. He said that it was a matter of pride for everyone that not only national but also international organizations were acknowledging projects of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom. The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Pakistan among the best countries in terms of the affordability of ICT services. Pakistan is ranked fourth in the global freelance industry, providing excellent technical resources in various technology fields. “ITU has announced Pakistan’s National Incubation Centers ‘Ignite’ as one of the champion of projects of its environment category at the World Summit on the Information Society Prizes 2021,” he added. IT Secretary Dr Sohail Rajput, International Coordination member Ajmal Awan, senior officials from the ministry and GSMA were also present on the occasion. JULIAN GORMAN Addressing virtually, GSMA head of Asia Pacific Julian Gorman said that digital technologies were set to transform the way people live and work in Pakistan. “As we saw in the GSMA 2020 Digital Societies Report, which tracks the progress of 11 focus countries in Asia Pacific, Pakistan is advancing its societal, economic and digital ambition, as outlined in Digital Pakistan Vision,” he said. Indeed, “our report’s digital society index tracked Pakistan in achieving one of the highest increases in its overall score.” By 2023, he said that the economic contribution of the mobile industry in Pakistan was expected to reach $24 billion, accounting for 6.6 percent of GDP. In an effort to stimulate this growth, Pakistan has recently moved forward with significant mobile services tax reforms.