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Banks to be asked to invest 20-30 percent in information technology sector: minister

KARACHI (May 06 2003) : Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari, Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication has said that his ministry would soon draft a proposal asking the banks and financial institutions to invest 20 to 30 percent in IT sector as they are flushed with liquidity.

He was speaking here on Monday at the launching ceremony of TRG Pakistan Ltd, the first and only IT company to be listed at Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE).

He said the ministry has asked the PTCL to provide restored bandwidth at no extra charge.

It means that the PTCL is now getting extra bandwidth on satellite to back up the requirements.

This would continue on Satellite till a second landing of optical fibre comes about in the next 18 months or so.

“We have also instructed the PTCL to rationalise the pricing of international leased circuits and try to give a one-stop shop for both parts of the half circuits and, if possible, to team up with other operators.

Leghari said that several entrepreneurs have approached the ministry and expressed desire to set up Call Centre 'hotels' and wanted to tap other avenues in the telecom centre.

These entities would get full support from the government, he added.

He said that the ministry has planned to bring the prices further down for domestic and international bandwidth.

The minister said a new initiative for stimulating local call centre industry has been put together.

This would include the reduction of duties and other tax incentives for companies, which can provide jobs to a large base of people.

However, the most exciting part is to reduce the charges on the 0800 services to make this cost so low that the local call centre industry jump-starts.

The minister said, “we are working with capital providers” to help them understand the human capital opportunities in Pakistan.

“We are investing in the mass education of our workforce and would also encourage companies to train and educate the staff hired by them,” he added.

“We must provide a regulatory framework that encourages free entry of our entrepreneurs in the market for telecommunication services,” he said.

“If our telecommunication network is expensive, unreliable or hard to obtain the world will turn to other providers whether right across the border or to other avenues like Philippines or South Africa,” the minister stressed.

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