176 million mobile phones in use in Pakistan: IT Minister

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Zubair Qureshi

Pakistan has 176 million mobile and smart phones connections with more than 83% tele-density in the country. Besides, there are 93 million subscribers of broadband services.

These are promising signs and the growth of Digital Financial Services and other services are being led by the Telecom Sector.

These views were expressed by Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque on Thursday while addressing a press conference at the Press Information Department (PID).

He said the telecommunication sector had adopted the status of industry and would enjoy the benefits at par with other industries.

This will be good news for the telecom sector and for the nation that the federal cabinet has approved a status of industry for the telecom sector and now onward, it will enjoy all the benefits which other industries of the country are enjoying.

The government, considering the request of the IT ministry, has reduced federal excise duty 6 percent along with tax reduction on various services to give maximum benefit to the general public and telecom sector.

He said Rs250 were being paid on the purchase of any sim had also been withdrawn and this will be beneficial to the public.

The Minister said the need for high proliferation of mobile broadband services in the country and its impact on overall GDP and productivity was highlighted during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharing the achievements of his ministry he said, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) export remittances including export of Telecommunication, computer and information services had surged to US $958 million at a growth rate of 40% during July-December of FY 2020-21, in comparison to US $684 million during July-December of FY 2019-20.

Steps are being taken to increase IT exports, he added. Syed Aminul Haque further said the target had been set to achieve $5 billion from export of information technology services during the next three years.

About the provision of broadband services across the country, the IT Minister said the Ministry of IT through its attached department Universal Service Fund (USF) is taking initiatives to provide broadband services both in un-served and underserved areas across the country.