- Web Desk
PM gives nod to Starlink launch in Pakistan
- Web Desk
- Sep 06, 2023
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information Technology, Dr Umar Saif, is not new to giving us news containing figures that are borderline unbelievable, but this time, he might actually have a card up his sleeve.
After a meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar, Saif announced that the PM has given approval for the launch of Starlink services – a satellite internet constellation operated by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk-owned American aerospace giant SpaceX – in Pakistan. Previously, former IT minister Aminul Haq had met a delegation from the company to discuss their modus operandi in the country.
Starlink, which aims to revolutionise global connectivity through easily accessible, cheap, high-speed internet, was previously met with a mild response from Pakistan, with the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) warning citizens to refrain from making pre-bookings on the company’s website.
Apart from that, Saif shared a list of dreams for six months on social media platform X, that many have announced before him and failed to achieve over decades. This includes the importance of “institutionalising” dollar retention accounts and introducing IT corporate debit cards.
These measures aim to facilitate the seamless flow of funds in and out of retention accounts. Additionally, the ministry plans to address tax-related concerns and train a whopping 200,000 IT professionals add a substantial $5 billion to IT exporters.
Saif also highlighted the ministry’s intent to bring global payment platforms, PayPal and Stripe, to the nation, as well as the establishment of co-working spaces for an impressive 500,000 freelancers is on the cards, potentially boosting their earnings by an additional $3 billion annually.
Another shark tank-sounding initiative announced by the minister aims to lure top-tier international Venture Capitalists to Pakistan, potentially enabling a staggering, government-backed, $1 billion VC investment in local startups.
To gear up for the 5G auction, the ministry is also set to introduce active spectrum sharing, forward-thinking taxation policies, and incentives for the telecom industry, according to Saif, who adds that the anticipated 5G auction is a mere 10 months away – a time near enough but still beyond his time in office.
An enthusiastic Saif has promised what the Pakistani tech demography has been demanding for a long time, but keeping these promises will require superhuman hard work on his behalf to fulfil.