Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication (MOITT), Syed Amin ul Haque, on Thursday, said that government was focused on promotion of research and development activities for encouragement of entrepreneurship in the country.
He was addressing distribution ceremony of the 1st Hameed and Azra Awards in the field of Quality Academic Research in Pakistan held here at Karachi University to recognise and honour services of young researchers and scholars.
Vice Chancellor Karachi University Prof. Dr. Khalid M Iraqi, Deans of faculties, senior faculty members, scholars and a large number of varsity students attended the ceremony. The federal minister said that cellular phone companies operating in Pakistan were being charged with a tax at the rate of 2 percent and out of that 1.5 % was being used to improve connectivity of under served areas while the remaining 0.5% amount was being utilised on research and development purposes.
IT ministry was keen to encourage entrepreneurship and promotion of R&D activities in higher educational institutions, he said and assured that ministry was ready to provide its all out support for any such initiative at Karachi University.
Amin ul Haque said that a large proportion of Pakistan’s population was consisted of youth and MOITT was focusing on their skill development to ensue proper utilisation of precious asset of the country i.e the youth. Over 3.1 million youth was trained in modern and digital technology by the ministry, he added.The number of people having mobile phones in the country has risen from 160 million to 195 million in previous 3 years, the minister informed and said that currently 88% of population of Pakistan had mobile phones and IT ministry has set a target of equipping the entire population with smart phone up to 2030.
Government has facilitated mobile phone manufacturing at local level to ensure universal digital connectivity and availability of low cast smart phones to every citizen of the country and now 28 companies including some international brands had started local production, the minister said.
National Incubation Centres were established in major cities of Pakistan to support entrepreneurs and start ups which played a pivotal role in swift growth of start ups and now a number of IT based companies not only attracting investment of millions of dollars but also facilitating citizens in various fields of life, he said. IT exports from Pakistan reached at $2.62 billion with 47 % growth in year 2021-22 and target for the next year was $ 5 billion, he said and vowed that MOITT was working tirelessly on different fields of IT to enhance digital skills of youth to achieve the target.
“We have assured that no reduction would be made in HEC budget and grant for Karachi University should not be compromised,” Amin ul Haque said and added that despite of financial crunch funding for KU- the largest university of the country- has not been reduced.
He congratulated organisers of the award on initiating a remarkable step for encouragement and motivation of teachers and scholars and suggested to include field of information technology in the awards as IT was the fastest growing modern technology and future of the world. VC Karachi University Prof. Dr. Khalid M Iraqi, Aamir Hameed and others also spoke at the occasion.
The federal minister, later, distributed awards among the researchers and scholars who conducted significant research in fields of Social Sciences, Education, Islamic Learning, Science and Pharmacy..