Dar says govt to promote digitalization across country

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Agreement signed for laying of Optic fibre at Awaran, Lasbela

Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Federal Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said on Monday that government was determined to promote digitalization all across the country for increasing outreach and access of financial services to people for sustainable development. The Finance Minister was speaking at the signing ceremony between Universal Service Fund (USF) and Ministry of Information Technology here for laying optic fiber at Awaran and Lasbela; the contract of which has been awarded to Ufone. He said the government was working for technical and financial inclusion to provide better services to the people all across the country.
The Finance Minister said that the national exchequer earned as many as Rs160 billion through six transparent auctions of telecom spectrums, adding that the earning from the spectrum is expected to reach to Rs200 billion. He said that earlier, only Rs50 billion were estimated from the auction of the telecommunication spectrum, however with diligence and transparency mechanism, there has been multi-fold increase in the earnings.
The Minister reiterated government’s resolve to provide internet and mobile access across the country, adding even the remote areas would also be covered in the network to promote digitalization. He said that the villages having even population of just 100 people would also be covered under the network. Although it was not financially viable, but providing these services and facilities to the common people was the duty of the State, he added.
Senator Dar said that government has been focusing to build infrastructure so attention is on developing telecommunication, highways and railways to ensure proper connectivity. He said that for the sake of better connectivity, the government kick started Multan-Sukkar project despite the fact that it was not financial viable.
The Minister said that the international institutions are predicting that Pakistan would become the 18th biggest economy by 2050. The challenge to the nation is to materialize this goal in a half time as has been done in case of macro-economic stability, which was predicted by the economic experts in six years but the present government of Nawaz Sharif achieved in just two and half years.
Meanwhile, chairing a meeting here to review the economic performance in six months ended December 31, 2016, the Finance Minister said the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) appeared to be on upward trajectory. He said inflation was steady below 4 per cent in December while average inflation during July-December was recorded at 3.88 per cent, reflecting continued price stability.
The minister noted that the performance of Federal Bureau of Revenue was at around 7 per cent during last six months which reflected catching up of the shortfall experienced in the initial months, largely on account of giving relief to consumers on petroleum prices together with sales tax refunds of Rs45 billion. On the expenditure side, the performance was on track as expenditure was allowed in a prudent manner in accordance with budget, and keeping in view the revenue growth, he added.

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