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MOIB: Playing a pivotal role in Digital Pakistan

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PM Imran Khan’s vision of Digital Pakistan seems to be really making major strides and contribution of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MOIB) is clearly evident. The top priorities of the government is to engage the major population of the country: the youth and to provide them with opportunities in various sectors of technology through the digitalization drive in Pakistan.
During the pandemic, Pakistan’s IT and ITes exports have increased more than 40% compared with last fiscal year’s figures and it is expected that these figures will grow manifolds in the coming years. Pakistan Vision 2025 clearly provides great incentives for IT sector. First of all, there is zero tax on IT exports till June 2025 in order to allow new entrants to enter easily in the market with low sunk costs. Secondly, government is also providing 5% cash rewards on IT exports because the PM believes that IT and ITes exports have a lot of potential. The results are already showing signs of exponential growth and it is expected that IT and ITes exports will surpass the $5 Billion mark by the end of 2023. Initially changes were being made in the legislation for IT sector by making changes in the PPRA Rules. This allowed setting up of Special Export Processing zones for IT-based industries.
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting under the dynamic leadership of Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting has made major contributions in making Digital Pakistan a reality in Pakistan. Recently, it has signed an MOU with Garena and Bigo for launching of first ever official Esports in Pakistan. This mega event will consist of 567 teams which will provide opportunity to Pakistani youth of winning cash prizes of Rs. 10 million along with being part of international contests having prizes worth of $2 million. Often a lot of criticism is made on the government when certain actions were taken against online contents but this initiative is a big step in the right direction.
Further, the first Digital advertisement policy has been approved by cabinet which lays down the procedure for selection of advertisement agencies, social media influencers, Facebook and youtubers etc. for government digital advertisements. The objective of the policy is to provide a broader framework for Government advertisements and communications in order to inform and inculcate awareness among the masses on the issues of public importance/interest and achievements of the government in print, electronic, social, digital, new and allied media. This will also open new employment opportunities for the young generation.
In addition to this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MOIB), in collaboration with Bournemouth University, is taking steps to promote gaming and animation among Pakistani youth. An MOU is signed by Ms Samina Farzin, the focal person for National Media University, with officials of Bournemouth University which will provide an opportunity to Pakistani youth to develop their skills in the field of animation and CGI (Computer Generated Imagery). It is believed that Pakistan is lagging behind in the field of gaming and animation and scholarship programs coupled with collaborations in other departments will allow Pakistan to get substantial share from the international gaming and animation industries.
In addition to this, the biggest step has been taken towards digitalization of state media which was inaugurated by President Atif Alvi on 7 August 2021 at the National Digital Information Platform (NDIP) organized under the vision of Information & Broadcasting Secretary, Ms Shahera Shahid. This will pave the way towards digitalization of PTV, APP and PBC. These mediums will be provided resources to switch to digital platforms along with ensuring paperless working at ministry of information and broadcasting. This has also set a high benchmark for rest of the bodies to follow.
Further, on individual level, Ms Zil-e-Huma, part of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, volunteered to develop the world’s first Oxford Covid-19 Government Response tracker along other researchers of University of Oxford. The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) systematically collects information on several different common policy responses that governments have taken to respond to the pandemic on 18 indicators such as school closures and travel restrictions. This led to acknowledgement of her efforts from British High Commission as well.
Finally, the pathway towards Digital Pakistan seems much nearer. These developments show what the future potential lies for Pakistan.