IT companies urged to participate in CPEC projects

By Staff Reporter | Dawn Jul 16, 2022

ISLAMABAD: There is a need to encourage local IT companies to participate in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects for eventual entry into the Chinese market, the Advisory Council on Information Technology (IT) and Digital Economy said on Thursday.

At the first meeting of the advisory council, it was stressed that there must be consistency in government policies to be attractive to local and international investors.

Chairing the meeting, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Syed Amin-Ul-Haque said that Chinese investors were vying to establish another optic fibre link from Khunjerab to Rawalpindi and along the railway line to Karachi.

The meeting was informed that the objective was to link Karachi with Gwadar and carry the cable onwards under sea, towards the Persian Gulf region.

Minister says Chinese investors want optic fibre link stretching from Khunjerab to Persian Gulf

The minister said the government held a high-level meeting with the companies involved in CPEC projects.

“The target was to have market access for Pakistani companies in the Chinese market,” he added.

He highlighted the steps identified to achieve this target, which include facilitating Chinese IT companies in establishing offices in Pakistan.

“We can harness Pakistan’s position in the region to make Pakistan a cloud regional hub, and we need collaboration with Chinese counterparts on cloud initiatives,” Mr Haque said.

Talking to about the ambitious target to export IT services to Chinese markets, the minister said that most Pakistani firms involved in IT exports started as sub-contractors for large companies in the West and other areas.

“Now we have stable IT exports while the freelancers’ base is also strong. Now is the time to ask Chinese companies to outsource projects to the Pakistani IT industry,” he said, adding, “It has been agreed that Chinese firms will start involving Pakistani experts in projects within China.”

The council meeting was attended by Minister for Finance Muftah Ismail, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Shaza Fatima, Senator Afananullah Khan, representatives of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), and council members from the public and private sector.

The advisory council was formed on June 5 and is headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, with the view of promoting the IT industry and enhancing the digital economy of Pakistan.

The council decided to form committees for IT Export, Personal Data Protection, and Telecom Sector Growth.

The three committees will finalise their recommendations in a week, which will be presented to the PM and the Chairperson of the Advisory Council.

The committee for IT Exports is led by former secretary IT Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui; the committee for Personal Data Protection Rules by Senator Afnanullah Khan; and the Telecom Committee is chaired by Jazz CEO Amir Ibrahim.

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