The Policy Committee and Research and Development Fund of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications on Monday principally approved a budget of Rs 32.13 billion for the Universal Service Fund (USF) and Rs 3.75 billion for the National Technology Fund (Ignite) for the financial year 2022-23.
The approval was given in a meeting of the committee, which was presided over by Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Syed Amin-Ul-Haque, said a news release.
USF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Harris Mahmood Chaudhary and Ignite CEO Asim Shahryar briefed the meeting on the performance of their respective organizations and shared the details regarding the budgetary allocation for the both departments.
IT Minister Amin-Ul-Haque said the USF had done record work for providing broadband services in the last four years.
“In the 13 years from 2006 to 2019, the number of USF projects was limited to 59, after which directives were issued to speed up number and enhance the performance. As a result, 65 broadband service and OFC projects were launched from 2019 to date, which is a record,” he added.
Syed Amin-Ul-Haque said as a result of telecom policies and provision of broadband services to un-served and under-served areas, the number of telecom subscribers had reached a record level of 193 million by May 30, 2022. Similarly, the number of 3G and 4G subscribers in the country had crossed 114 million while the number of those using broadband services reached 117 million.
“It is necessary to relax strict conditions, including tax enforcement, and give maximum relaxation to the IT industry and freelancers, otherwise, it is feared that if IT companies and freelancers were not given facilities, including tax incentives, the industry will shut down soon,” the minister observed.
The meeting was attended by Secretary IT Mohsin Mushtaq, additional secretary finance, member telecom and other officials.