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Digital Pakistan Vision and Challenges

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Pakistan is amongst such fortunate countries where youth Population is 60% of the Total Population. This percentage of the regular users of Digital services such as Digital payments or e-Payments, Internet Access and Professionals in Smartphone usage     Provides infinite  Opportunities to succeed as going digital.

It is the gigantic and innovative initiative taken by Prime Minister Pakistan to upgrade digital  Banking infrastructure and easing the conditions or requirements and exhausting paperwork to avail digital services such as e-payments, online transactions and the issuance of credit cards, and their use at Online stores i.e in-store shopping, Fuel fill-up at stations, online utility Bill payments and Universities Fee Payment  Gateways, but unfortunately, such easy and instant payment facility is currently available to  Elite  Business class and involves too much  Paperwork, guarantees and regulations.

Government needs to overhaul the whole banking infrastructure and encourage businesses, retailers, Fuel Stations, PIA, Railways ticketing, superstores, schools and colleges to introduce payment gateways and banks should offer credit cards to businessmen and especially to government employees since they will use such services when they run short of funds, falling prey to illegal Interest-based lenders who squeeze them financially and socially.

The innovative digital payments will remove their financial constraints and the funds will be utilized based on a credit limit for 45 to 51 days and the bills can be paid through salaries decreasing chances for collateral damage or any default.

It would be great to boost and promote digital services paving the way for International digital bigwigs i.e. Google, PayPal, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo, Alibaba Group, Alipay, Stripe and Apple to enter Pakistani financial markets specially the PayPal, eBay and Amazon are strongly required by Freelancers and authors to get their Payments processed.

At Present, only Skrill, Payoneer and  Traditional IBAN/Swift code or wire transfers are available to Pakistan which is very costly, Time consuming having inflated fees of 10% to 30% plus  Bank charges of local Bank to process the amount.

On the other hand, our neighbouring country India has reaped the benefits digital world as the world’s best companies i.e. PayPal, Amazon and Google are serving the country with their innovative digital products and services.

By giving access to these  Digital Payment   Giants, Pakistan will open doors for  Foreign Direct Investment and it will also reduce the heavily demanded  Paper currency as  People avoid using cash and prefer to use their credit and debit cards at online stores, in-store shopping purposes.

Even Pakistan’s governance Model may go ahead with modernizing and upgrading  Reporting system, Complain Management, Receipts and Payments, Public Sector spending through an electronic dashboard that will refresh automatically if any  Development related or Public sector transaction takes place. Even governance could improve if governance Model is implemented by imparting pieces of training to  Staff, Officers and Officials at  Federal, Provincial and District level so that proper reporting channel may be built to ease the complicated process and ensure transparency.

The Sale and Purchase of properties and estate should be digitized and automated so that revenue records may reflect the history of Property owners to do away with any claim or objection. The Ownership certificates, Heirship certificates, Birth Certificates, Domicile, PRC and all other certificates should be generated online through developing softwares, mobile applications of  Android or ios devices that will reduce the process and improve the productivity of the Public sector Institutes.

The process of employees’ performance evaluation, superannuation and pension may also be automated so that the entire employment record will be available when they reach their point of promotion, superannuation or drawing pensions. The Personal IDs must be opened online through scale-wise Supervisors i.e.  District Accounts Officers, Account Generals of Provinces and Accountant General of Pakistan so that trail may be available to track salary disbursements.

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It is a commendable step by law and home departments to automate the Cause lists of the higher and lower judiciary but it must intimate the petitioners and respondents through SMS and email regarding their case status, date of hearing and disposing of the cases.

Furthermore, the process of voter lists should also be automated and Election Commission of Pakistan must make it available to all the citizens to register their vote when they reach at the age of 18 after getting their CNIC/Smart cards or Form B. This will enable district Election Commissioner Offices to enter the data online and consolidate the voter lists.

There should be central directorate of all the departments so that they may have coordination on digital grounds especially the FBR, AGP, Finance Ministry and Departments, Establishment division, cabinet division, NAB and Intelligence Directorates.  Digital Pakistan vision will have a great impact to attract Foreign Direct Investment, strengthening of Rupee against Dollar, stabilization of the economy and discouraging paper currency that usually falls heavy upon rupee and due to substantial pressure, the rupee gets devalued and inflation jumps up.

We are too excited after Tanya Aidrus and Baqar’s statements during Digital Pakistan Vision launch and they were very confident that their sacrifices of higher paychecks for the sake of the country are highly appreciable but they will be facing resistance from the stakeholders who have been misusing the manual system for decades and it is an uphill task to compel such elements to adopt and use this digital Endeavour which will choke their corruption stream but may streamline things for the common people.

The other resistance will be from the provinces where PTI is on opposite Benches especially in Sindh and Baluchistan. It will be a big ask and the challenge that the initiated by  IT and Telecom Ministry will achieve its desired objectives given the challenges of shortage of IT Skilled Staff and messed up the bureaucratic structure. The government should make the digital literacy a compulsory part in every ministry at Federal, provincial and district level by setting up IT Skill development centres to train the supervisory and office staff so that digital communication infrastructure may be implemented. There is no dearth of talent in our youth but they need support and sponsorship to do wonders.

Moreover, the Government should establish a venture capital firm to support, incubate, accelerate and fund the Startups that will ultimately develop and accelerate the mushrooming growth of big startups.

The entrepreneurship courses must be introduced with help of  SMEDA, LUMS, IBA Karachi, IBA, Sukkur, SZabist, NUST, FAST, COMSATS, Virtual University and SDPI  so that entrepreneurs may learn to launch their startups successfully to conquer the digital world.

The Startups such as Careem, Bikea, and Rozee.pk are some the great examples of successful Startups. Globally, the Youth after getting their education, start their businesses to create employment but in Pakistan youth after passing Graduation and Masters, start hunting for a job. That is why Pakistan has a high level of Unemployment as youth avoid entering the entrepreneurship since they lack skills, training and financial resources. Punjab IT Board has done a tremendous job by incubating, funding and accelerating startups in public sector under the Plan9 and PlanX programs but it should be followed by all the Provinces so the proper Startup culture could be developed.

Higher Education Commission, IT Boards, Technical Education, Intermediate education boards should promote digital Pakistan vision by introducing governance, payment solutions and fund the Ideas at School and college level.

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It is a good sign that  Online shopping Sites have experienced a mushrooming growth but mostly they accept the traditional Cash On Delivery Model (COD) which often causes losses if the customer returns the product or unavailable or Unwilling to receive the product.

Epayments ensure that product is shipped to the target buyer or customer who needs it. Though some Online shopping sites such as Popular Daraz.pk and Yayvo.com have started accepting Credit/Debit Cards issued by Pakistani Banks but still the number transactions is very low owing to hassles involved in getting credit cards from the banks.

At present, Only a few banks are issuing Credit Cards with Online Transactions and Point of Sale (POS) Transactions that include  Standard Chartered Bank, unfortunately, limited to big cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Other one include Bank Al Falah which issues Credit Cards on quick processing lasting for 10 to 20 days.

Silk Bank is also the favourite bank of many customers who are interested in digital Transactions. Silk Bank offers a wide range of Credit Cards as per Income Levels of customers. UBL is also offering credit cards but it has too many conditions and terms.

Besides, these banks there other banks that are issuing credit cards such as  HBL, MCB, ABL, Faisal Bank, Askari bank and JS banks. The average interest or Mark up charged   40% which is very high as compared to other countries. The government especially state Bank of Pakistan must direct the public and Private banks to lower the markup ratio and ease the conditions to avail this facility especially suited to salaried class and Businessmen.

In Big cities, credit cards are issued instantly by Commercial Banks to the salaried Employees of Government and Companies but in small cities, the untrained and local managers avoid issuing credit cards to customers since it involves risks of recovery or payment of credit Bill.

I have personally visited many banks where I maintain my bank account, but regrettably, all the managers expressed their inability or forbade to get  Credit Cards since it is very costly and you cannot be issued credit cards in small cities.

Well, one will surely experience such embarrassment and inconvenience at the hands of Non-Professional Managers who are picked to only raise the deposits whereas the quality of service is compromised at the hands of such amateurs.

Therefore, Ms Tanya Aidrus head Digital Pakistan Vision and her team at Digital Pakistan Initiative will have to work out to appease the stakeholders to achieve the desired goals set as per the tenure of PTI so that Pakistanis may reap the benefits from this digital world.

To achieve this goal, the portfolio of IT and Telecom ministry must be given to a professional who should be well versed in IT and telecom preferably a Computer science or IT Graduate to pilot this project to achieve the goals in given clear framework.

There is also a big concern regarding inflated Taxes levied upon the business community which need to be reduced if they use Digital currency since Digital Currency will enable FBR to track payments and appraise the financial strength of the Individuals.

The e-Currency spectrum will help reduce the  crime rate, tax evasion, hoarding of money as  People will use credit cards and digital wallets such as  PayPal, Ali Pay, Google pay  those  can easily be tracked and monitored through digital systems,

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Analysis

BITCOIN IS A HUMANISTIC ALTERNATIVE TO TECHNOLOGICAL SALVATION

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Bitcoin will shape the future of humanity in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2008 financial meltdown, with subsequent bank bailouts and a cycle of austerity, led to the weakening of the public’s trust in governments and institutions. Bitcoin emerged as a response to this global crisis of legitimacy.

Now, more than a decade later, the economic damage created by the pandemic has triggered a further breakdown of the system. As the Federal Reserve’s infinite money printing creates high inflation, Bitcoin steadily increases its popularity as a safe haven.

At the same time, as the old economy is being destroyed, the leading global institutions have stepped forward to reboot the entire system. The key organization, the World Economic Forum (WEF), with the theme of “The Great Reset,” prepares for the rollout of the central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

CBDC VERSUS BITCOIN

Agustin Carstens, head of the Bank for International Settlements, explains CBDCs as programmable money that gives issuers the power to control every transaction. Using these powers, issuers can restrict what ordinary people are allowed to spend money on.

Now, Bitcoin and CBDCs, two different types of digital currency with contrasting features, race toward a global adoption. The crux of this competition involves different visions of the world. The outcome of this race will determine the future of humanity.

SHIFT OF AUTHORITY

The crisis of legitimacy triggered by the financial panic of 2008 signaled the demise of the Western liberal democracy. This has begun to create a shift in the locus of authority in our society.

The idea of democracy that inspired the birth of the United States was based on a humanistic worldview. In the past, authority was placed in the gods, and the sacred text. People sought answers from the external. They turned to religion, the Bible and Popes for their decisions.

A move towards democracy brought a shift in values. It placed authority in human hands, putting emphasis on the individual. People who were seeking behavioral norms outside of themselves began to rely on their personal experience.

THREAT TO DEMOCRACY

Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli public intellectual and historian, talks about how, in this crisis of democracy, a threat to the humanistic worldview is now emerging from laboratories and research departments in places like Silicon Valley.

Harrai, who is a lead advisor to Klaus Schwab, head of the World Economic Forum (WEF), points out ways in which science is challenging the story of humanism.

He explains that scientists are saying there is no such thing as free will and that freedom is just another myth, an empty term that humans have invented. He defines feelings as biochemical processes of calculation and contends that there is no reason to consider them the highest authority in the world.

TECHNO-RELIGION

Harari, who has been praised by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, and celebrated by tech workers in Silicon Valley, explains how in this twilight of democracy, authority is now once again moving away from humans. This time, he states it is not some gods above the clouds that control human destiny, but algorithms, and data in the clouds of the Amazon and big tech giants.

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He describes a new revolution happening around this shift of authority. It is led by a “techno-religion”, the ideology that technology provides salvation. He explains that this techno-religion is a data religion within which “data and information becomes a supreme source of authority and of meaning in the world.” It makes us believe that technology knows more about us than we do ourselves. It tells us, “Don’t listen to feeling or gut intuition. Just turn to data.”

Acting as a spokesperson for this new sect of techno religion, Harari predicts a coming of a future without humanity. He states that humans like you and I will disappear and that the earth will be dominated by very different kinds of beings or entities. Under the new authority of algorithms, Harari describes how human beings are viewed as no longer spiritual souls, but become “hackable animals.”

WARNING FOR HUMANITY

Some saw what was coming and warned about the potential machine takeover of the world and the elimination of human beings.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks publisher and one of the notable Cypherpunks, was aware of this trend from early on. He called on those who are technologically capable to take up strong cryptography as a non-violent weapon to defend individual liberty.

Assange warned us: “The future of humanity is the struggle between humans that control machines and machines that control humans.”

As central planners try to deploy CBDCs to push their techno-religious movement, a breakthrough in computer science has brought us an alternative vision of the future of humanity.

VALUE OF INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM

Bitcoin, in its 14 years of existence, has provided a response to the crisis of Western liberal democracy, allowing us to truly embody humanistic values.

There was an inherent weakness in the system of representative democracy. The mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto recognized that this system was not adequate by itself to secure the value of freedom and the place of individuals as supreme authority in the system.

Those who gained control over the production of money have created an economic system that works to their advantage. Concentration of economic power in a few hands turned democracy into a system of control. With sophisticated methods of persuasion, through use of propaganda and PR under the guise of democracy, the population was subjected to manipulation of their feelings.

By challenging the monopoly of money, Bitcoin — cypherpunks’ holy grail — has enabled economic liberty. With the principle of “don’t trust, verify”, this technology places the source of legitimacy with individuals, for the first time in history.

Rather than residing in the clouds of tech giants, authority is now descending into the human heart.

REVIVAL OF HUMANISM

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Image source

The birth of Bitcoin has helped creativity and freedom of expression to flourish, creating the resurgence of the arts. It now inspires a new renaissance of humanism.

Before the Renaissance, history was seen as being shaped by divine forces. With the advent of the Renaissance, beginning in the 14th century in Italy, this view shifted.

The Renaissance placed human beings at the center of life. A man was regarded as a partner in the creation of Gods, to actively engage in shaping the course of their own lives.

Just as the Renaissance placed emphasis on the individual, now, the Bitcoin Renaissance 2.0 creates sovereign individuals, enabling human beings to truly come alive.

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A PATH OF SALVATION VIA PROOF-OF-WORK

People from all nations, with different backgrounds, started to align themselves with humanistic ideals that exist at the core of Bitcoin. Through meetups and conferences, they are now finding one another. They begin to speak the same language and share values.

Transcending their cultural differences, they have become Bitcoiners. They are bearers of humanity, beginning to claim the source of authority in human imagination.

This is now creating a humanistic movement, generating a force strong enough to counter the techno revolution.

Between Bitcoin and CBDCs, we are now presented with a choice.

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Worshipers of machine intelligence offer a promise of salvation, through which we once again are made to rely on authority outside of us, this time, on external algorithms.

Bitcoin presents an alternative model of salvation via proof-of-work, where we no longer need to trust authorities outside of ourselves. Through each individual voluntarily participating in a network of consensus, each of us can engage in validating our own truth.

While a path of technological salvation moves a society toward the post-human era, Bitcoin, pro-human technology inspires each individual to create a new world of humanism.

EL SALVADOR (“THE SAVIOR”)

El Salvador, the country that first declared bitcoin legal tender, has become a center of this Renaissance 2.0. They are leading the way.

Using Bitcoin as a tool, the President Nayib Bukele began to stand up against the central banks and their financial imperialism.

As the leaders of G7 members are trying to launch centrally controlled digital slave coins, Bukele engages in efforts to increase Bitcoin adoption to open up a path of self-determination.

This is attracting creative minds and talents from all over the world.

Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex, the world’s leading digital asset exchange is working to provide a platform for financial freedom. Along with his efforts to expand Bitcoin adoption, he aims to maximize decentralization by developing Keet. io, peer-to-peer Chat Apps that are built without any central server.

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Image source

Can El Salvador, under Bukele’s leadership and his policy of economic liberty, engage people in proof-of-work — to organize a network toward the salvation of humanity?

Positive changes are already happening. Bitcoin Renaissance 2.0 inspires new ideas, bringing in investors and capital to help people build alternatives to big data and centralized cloud products, to enable freedom.

SECURING THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY

We human beings share our destiny. The life of all species is intertwined. Our choices and actions affect one another.

With the accelerated speed of technological advancement, as we are being quietly transported into a virtual reality, are we leaving behind our own body and our soul? Without human beings who can feel, what would happen to the earth, ecosphere, trees, rivers, and all of animals?

We Bitcoiners are custodians for this planet. By practicing self-custody and running full nodes which maintain the ecosystem, we preserve the autonomy of individuals. We can work toward securing the future of humanity.

A network of messiahs created through technologically-empowered men and women coming together starts to form a formidable defense against the transhumanism agendas.

Bitcoin presents a humanistic alternative to technological salvation.

Hyperbitconization has just begun. The dawn of new humanity is near. With hearts that beat every 10 minutes, we human beings can claim our freedom and responsibility to steward mother earth and all of her creation.

Via Bitcoin Magazine

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Fintech NayaPay Secures $13M As It Rolls Out Digital Payments In Pakistan

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NayaPay, a Pakistan-based fintech platform, has raised $13 million in one of the largest seed rounds in South Asia. Bringing together a diverse mix of leading global institutional and angel investors, the round was led by Zayn Capital, global fund manager MSA Novo and early-stage VC Graph Ventures from Silicon Valley.

Singapore-based Saison Capital, Waleed Saigol’s Maple Leaf Capital, and Warren Hogarth, CEO Empower Finance, also participated in the round, alongside a major investment from the sponsors of the Lakson Group – a Pakistani conglomerate with interests in media, telecom, industrials, financial services as well as controlling stake in Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan and McDonald’s Pakistan.

NayaPay is the first fintech of its kind in Pakistan having recently secured the first E-Money Institution license from the central bank, State Bank of Pakistan. It is on a mission to make financial services simpler and accessible to millions of Pakistani users. NayaPay aims to be at the forefront in the digitization of Pakistan with its two-sided platform for the underbanked.

Pakistan presents a significant market opportunity for NayaPay, where over 50 million adults are unbanked and only 33% of women have a bank account. With 70% of the population under 35 years old, there is a significant mobile-first generation.

Almost $4tn payments are made each year but only 1% of these are made digitally currently. On the merchant side, the majority of SMBs in Pakistan are unregistered, have traditionally dealt primarily in cash, and have very limited access to business banking.

The fintech has launched its chat-led super app targeted primarily at students and freelancers, and is building a SaaS-based platform called NayaPay Arc offering universal payment acceptance and financial management tools for SMBs.

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NayaPay’s platform strategy will harness the network effects between consumers and merchants, as seen in platforms such as Square Cash/Square, WeChat Pay, AliPay, and Venmo in their native markets.

NayaPay CEO and Founder, Danish A. Lakhani, commented, “NayaPay is empowering young Pakistani adults starting their financial journey, from students stepping into adulthood to freelancers and entrepreneurs taking an active role in managing their finances. In many senses, it’s a coming-of-age moment for many and our goal is to continue to innovate and build functionality to become a part of their daily lives, for the rest of their lives.”

Danish A. Lakhani added, “Micro, small and medium businesses make up 90% of the merchant base in Pakistan, and yet they are underserved when it comes to access to basic financial services. NayaPay Arc will provide universal payments acceptance and a range of business financial management tools to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

“The tools are intended to give business owners visibility of their cash flows, pay suppliers and grow sales. Our goal is to enable them to focus on growth while we take care of the rest. By helping small businesses harness the power of technology, we believe we can transform the Pakistani economy,” he added.

Faisal Aftab, Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Zayn Capital Frontier, said, “We are very bullish on fintech in Pakistan. While just beginning to emerge, Pakistani fintechs have the advantage of learning from peers and placing better informed strategic bets.”

“We were impressed by the completeness of the vision of the founding team at NayaPay, and their differentiated platform-based strategy — first focused on servicing the needs of underbanked consumers and SMBs with specific use cases and building out from there. With a proven ability to execute on the ground, the founder has an impressive track record of building and scaling businesses in Pakistan, including the country’s largest fiber broadband service (StormFiber),” he added.ADVERTISEMENT

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Omar Siddiqui, General Partner at Graph Ventures, added, “We are excited to partner with Danish and the NayaPay team as they scale their leading digital payments platform for consumers and merchants in Pakistan. We have been early-stage investors in 300+ companies over the past decade in the United States, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, and we are excited to see the mobile and fintech technology trends that have empowered consumers in these markets also emerge in Pakistan.”

“NayaPay already offers the most robust solution for consumers to access next-generation financial conveniences in Pakistan, and we look forward to working with the team as they roll out new products and grow their consumer base,” he further said.

Danish A. Lakhani concluded: “Customer trust is a key pillar of any platform’s success. At NayaPay, we are consumed by our obsession to simplify the lives of both consumers and merchants with our app and NayaPay Arc while supporting our customers with robust and scalable technology and fanatic customer service. We are also partnering with leading banks to provide additional value and convenience to our mutual customers, eventually leading to a full digital banking experience.”

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The Digital Economy

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The economy and society are undergoing profound changes as a result of digitalisation. It fuels entrepreneurial innovation, regional economic growth, and productivity. Additionally, it has consequences for economic growth, the labour market, and political engagement. And it imposes new educational and training requirements – not just in the realm of information and communication technologies.

Today, as the world prepares for 5G technology, the IT think tanks in Pakistan must seriously consider efficient ways to catch up with the world and maximise economic benefits.

Despite considerable expansions of ICT access prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the ICT availability and use remained far from universal. The COVID-19 crisis expedited advanced economies’ digitalisation and made catching up more difficult for nations or areas trailing before. We must explore the current state of digitisation in Pakistan, its economic impact, and how should we pave the way for future technologies.

Digitisation is regarded as the fourth industrial revolution. However, in Pakistan’s case, we may not be at par with the world. The biggest challenge that the country faces is the overall readiness to completely make use of digitisation. According to the World Bank 5G readiness plan, the Government of Pakistan (aligned with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority) must devise a strategy to attract multinational organizations to invest in a digital transformation infrastructure. There remain multifaceted challenges to Pakistan’s adaption of 5G technology. Despite a huge growth potential, we see that the Foreign Direct Investment in the telecommunication sector has dropped from a staggering US$763 million in the FY 2019-20 to a meagre US$202 in the FY 2020-1. The primary reason for this drastic drop in investment is the poor adaptability of technology amongst the population.

The economic contribution of the mobile industry in Pakistan might reach $24 billion by 2023, accounting for 6.6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

5G technology offers endless economic and industrial benefits. Up to $3.5 trillion in revenue is expected to be generated by the 5G value chain by 2035, with up to 22 million employment being supported.

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The Global GDP growth will increase by $3 trillion cumulatively between 2020 and 2035, according to projections based on 5G deployment. By 2035, 5G-related services, such as mission-critical services, increased mobile broadband, and enormous IoT improvements, would be worth over $12 trillion, according to estimates. Retail, healthcare, education, transportation, and entertainment are among the areas projected to benefit from 5G technology.

According to the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA), the country has over 98 million 3G/4G subscribers or 43.51 per cent penetration. Despite network advancements such as the addition of new 4G towers, over 90 per cent of mobile devices constructed or manufactured in the country are only compatible with 2G technology. At the moment, roughly 53 per cent of all SIM subscribers utilize 2G devices. The experts believe that for a successful transition to the 5G technology, at least 60 per cent of the population must be connected to the 4G technology.

The broadband penetration is only about 46.4 per cent in Pakistan, which must be expanded drastically to ensure economic benefits. Amongst many challenges that hinder the technology adaption in Pakistan are, “the lack of large contiguous blocks of the affordable spectrum”, “broader access to fibre backhaul” and “widespread availability of affordable 5G smartphones and other devices.”

Pakistan’s IMT spectrum management policy has been identified as the primary impediment to the sector investing fully in 4G development and sector competitiveness.

The current government does seem to have a good plan of action to boost the 5G technology in the country – some of which include:

o Tax rebate, tax rationalization, and elimination of duty tariff on import of all components of high end 4G and 5G devices;

o Duty-free IMT/5G network-ready equipment imports to facilitate 5G readiness and mobile broadband to support wider mobile broadband and 5G networks deployment;

o Special incentives for global Telecom equipment vendors to establish assembly and production lines in Pakistan to promote local assembly of IMT/5G and IoT ecosystem devices including chipsets, and

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o Licensee shall establish at least one 5G Innovation and test centre/lab to scale up 5G ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurship activities at their own cost for citizens.

All these are indeed solid items on the action list but the Mobile Economy Asia Pacific Report 2021 projected, “Pakistan will be at the lowest end in terms of smartphone users as well the 5G coverage among the selected countries of Asia Pacific region by 2025.” According to the GSMA estimate, the economic contribution of the mobile industry in Pakistan might reach $24 billion by 2023, accounting for 6.6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. The same report estimates, smartphones will account for over 80 per cent of all connections in the Asia Pacific by 2025, up from 68 per cent in 2020. However, Pakistan was near the tail-end of the list of 12 major countries, just above Bangladesh, and it is expected that neither of these two countries will meet the 80 per cent target in the near future.

The 5G technology will be a game-changer for Pakistan. The Small and Medium Industries could benefit greatly by adopting online selling techniques, reaching global markets, and learning from international best practices, supply chain, and business operation strategies. Pakistan’s education and medicine industry is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the 5G technology with its low latency and widespread applications, which can help overcome the poor student-teacher ratio that currently stands at 29 to one.

The truth is that it is not as easy as it may seem to the officials, from 2017 through 2035, the world will need to invest $3.7 trillion, or 4.1 per cent of global annual GDP per year, on infrastructure to overcome existing gaps. Of this amount, 54 per cent will go towards meeting the needs of Asian countries. Therefore, experts in Pakistan must carefully consider their approach to resolving the challenges in 5G technology and adopting a single national strategy.

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