Digital economy vital to ensure sustainable development: Asad

ISLAMABAD, Dec 03 (APP):Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar Tuesday said that digital economy was vital to ensure sustainable development of the country.

“Businesses in Pakistan are controlled and influenced by those who have access to policy decisions and capital markets however, the advent of digitalization has the potential to break this barrier”, he said.

He was speaking at the introductory plenary of 22nd Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) under the overarching theme of Sustainable Development in a Digital Society”, organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here.

The minister said that revenue generation and documentation of the economy was the biggest challenge and only the digitalization of economy can help solve this challenge.
Transparency and accountability can be ensured through the use of technologies where the educated youth can hold the government accountable, he said, adding that there has emerged digital divide the world over and to bridge this divide, we need a consolidated approach.

He also stressed the need for coordinated efforts and revisiting the government practices at all levels.

SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri called upon the government to fast track decision-making, productivity, and institutionalization of its mechanisms so that a policy framework might be devised to embark upon digital revolution.

He urged the government to bridge the digital divide through budgetary allocations and financial inclusion for the remote and digitally deprived areas to promote the digital technologies.

Dr Abid said that the government also needs to train its civil servants on new skills and technologies and build the capacity of the state institutions for better future results.
Managing Director, StarTimes Communication Network Technology, China George Gu said that ICT products and services are contributing significantly in the GDP growth rate around the world and millions are being employed.

He said digital technology is changing the social environment upon which human beings depend, therefore, technologies like digital broadcasting is changing and revolutionizing the education and e-learning in remote areas, such as in hundreds of villages of Africa.

Chairperson of SDPI’s Board of Governors Ambassador Shafqat KakaKhel said that digital revolution has transformed our lives and society with immense opportunities and daunting challenges. To take full advantage of this digital revolution on socio-economic fronts, we require comprehensive coordination and cooperation among institutions and governments in the region and the world over, he added.

He called upon the government to realize the challenges of 4th Industrial Revolution and must prepare its institutions for a digital change.

Former Chairman of Board of Investment Haroon Shareef said that the developing countries are now using and adopting new technologies, but they need to invest and develop their own indigenous thinking models.

Shareef stressed the need for re-profiling the job industries amid the digital revolution and the skilled labour force. Also, he said, the developing countries need to work on and improve their competitiveness through the use of technologies.