ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haque on Tuesday said the telecommunication industry had attracted about 6.1 billion dollars Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from first July 2018 to 30 March, 2022.
In his message on the occasion of ‘World Telecommunication and Information Society Day’, The minister said that revolutionary steps were taken in IT and Telecommunication sector in last three years which had made it most attractive sector for the local and foreign investors.
The number of active mobile SIMs have reached 193 million by March 2022 due to reforms in Telecom sector and the number of mobile and fixed Broadband witnessed 39.4 percent increase, he said.
The federal minister said that projects were started through Universal Service Fund (USF), the attached department of Ministry of IT and Telecom, for the provision of broadband services across the country. Over 37 projects of worth Rs 31 billion were launched by June 2021 and up to 50 to 75 percent work has been completed on most of these projects, he added.
The minister said that Rs 6.47 billion were being spent on nine different projects of optical fiber and broadband services in Punjab and nine projects of worth over Rs 8.48 billion were also underway in Sindh for provision of high speed internet and laying of fiber optical in the province.
The number of projects for the 14 districts of Balochistan is 11 costing Rs 8.43 billion. Over 7.08 billion rupees are being spent on 8 different projects of broadband services and optical fiber in fourteen districts of KPK, he noted.
Syed Amin ul Haque said that Rs 29 billion were also being spent on 28 projects for provision of broadband services in far-flung areas during current financial year.
Work is also going on on nine different projects for laying of fiber optic cable in all four provinces. Total 4,746 kilometres long cable is being laid which will cost Rs 13.14 billion, he said. He said that USF completed projects for provision of mobile network on 1,929 kilometres main highways.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country is one of the top most priorities of the government.
The prime minister said this while talking to a delegation of Chinese company Sinovac that led by its General Manager Qiang Gao called on him on Tuesday.
Highlighting the ideal friendship between China and Pakistan, the prime minister said the government welcomes the investment offer made by Sinovac and would extend all possible cooperation in this regard.
The Sinovac delegation expressed keen interest in setting up a joint venture for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases by investing in Pakistan.
The prime minister welcomed Sinovac over its keen interest for a joint venture to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases by investing in Pakistan and said the government will extend all possible cooperation in this regard. He directed the minister for health to immediately form a task force in this regard so that Sinovac could start work on the project soon.
The prime minister was briefed about the vaccines provided by Sinovac to Pakistan during the Covid-19 vaccination campaign. Sharif said that Pakistan values Chinese assistance during Covid-19.
The meeting was attended by General Manager Sinovac Qiang Gao, Director International Business Kevin Zhang, Federal Minister for Health Abdul Qadir Patel, Executive Director National Institute of Health Major General Professor Amir Ikram and relevant senior officials.