Punjab Information Technology (IT) Minister Dr. Arslan Khalid has urged the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to revisit its decision to revoke the payment of $34 Million to international service providers.
In a statement on Saturday, Dr. Arslan Khalid stated that the Pakistan’s IT industry has tremendous potential to increase our exports, contribute to economic growth, create employment opportunities, earn foreign exchange and catapult Pakistan to the forefront of the world. SBP’s decision could be a serious blow to the nascent IT industry already struggling to take off. This is likely to jeopardise the future prospects of IT in Pakistan and the damage maybe devastating and long term.
“If SBP’s decision to revoke the $34 Million payment to international service providers isn’t revised, the international companies will put Pakistan off their radars in making IT investments in Pakistan leading to job loss and a severe trust deficit that will take a very long time to heal ,” stated the minister.
“Pakistan is struggling to embrace IT as part of the vision of Digital Pakistan and the IT sector will be needing tremendous support from all the stakeholders especially the State to allow it to benefit all the social and economic sectors,” Dr Arslan Khalid maintained.
The IT minister further added that the non-payment of outstanding dues to the major service providers will seriously impact the users in Pakistan as they will be unable to access digital banking, e-Commerce, e-Education, e-Health etc which will be a massive blow to the e-Governance.
“In this age of social media, any outage of digital services in the country would tarnish the image of Pakistan on the international level, hence such a situation must be avoided at all costs,” Dr Arslan Khalid added.
It is pertinent to mention here that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has suspended the Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) mechanism, due to which the annual payment of $34 Million from mobile companies to the international service providers remains suspended.
This unfortunate development will force the consumers to add Credit Card/Debit Card details in order to download/upload international Apps from the Google Play store. A majority of cell phone users will be deprived of Google services as the credit/debit card facility is limited to a relatively small number of customers. “I request the senior management of State Bank of Pakistan to immediately reverse their decision in the larger interest of Pakistan and the nascent IT industry”, Minister stated.