ISLAMABAD, Jan 31 (APP):State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan Friday informed the National Assembly that around Rs 21 billion had been spent to provide telecommunication services in un-served and under-served areas under Universal Service Fund (USF) till date.

Responding to question during Question Hour, he said that till date about Rs50 billion was collected from the telecom companies under USF and Rs 21.billion had been spent for development of telecom infrastructure and for promotion of services in different under served areas of the country. USF was established by the Ministry of Information Technology to spread the benefits of the telecom revolution to all corners of Pakistan.

He said that during 2018-19 about Rs 6. 4 billion was collected under USF and Rs 6.94 billion had been spent to provide telecom services to remote areas during the same period. He said that the government through Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) was facilitating local companies in promotion of IT services by way of marketing, and subsidization etc.

PSEB had arranged four international and four domestic exhibitions. He said that state functionaries in consulates and embassies had interacted to accord special focus for promotion of IT exports. The government has exempted Information Technology and IT enabled services from income tax on export till June 2025 to bolster their exports.

The minister said that the IT was emerging as a vital organ of country’s national economy and government was paying great deal of heed to promote this sector. He said two IT Parks were being established in Pakistan with the cooperation of Korean government. He said work on the first IT Park in Islamabad has already been started whilst the second IT Park would be established in Karachi to further strengthen this sector.