ISLAMABAD: The digitisation of government started long before, but the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of transformation to an unprecedented speed, said speakers at the “Digital Government Summit” held at the President House, Islamabad on Monday.
The digital summit was organized by Tech Valley, Abbottabd in collaboration with Google.
Digitization in silos at the ministerial and departmental level has been in practice for years but now it’s a time to explore the “whole of government” powered by emerging technologies for collective and collaborative transformation across the board, the speakers added.
Addressing the digital summit, President Dr Arif Alvi stressed that adapting innovative technologies will help the government to run better, transparent, efficient and improves citizen-centric service delivery across all the institutions.
The President asked the line ministry in collaboration with Tech Valley to collaborate with Google on the feasibility of establishing Google’s Data and Service Center in Pakistan and asked representatives from Google to extend their support.
Google Cloud Managing Director Paul Wilson shared industry expertise and the experience that Google carries across the globe successfully transforming the public sector using emerging technologies over Google Cloud.
Federal Ministry of IT & Telecom Aminul Haq mentioned that tele-density has reached over 85 per cent and continues to expand. It’s time to focus on the application layer and build a strong foundation for data-driven government by adopting the data localization strategy for the public sector.
Haq while sharing the government’s vision of a digital Pakistan said his ministry would collaborate with Google Cloud and Tech Valley in adopting the cutting-edge technology in areas, including block-chain technology, artificial intelligence, finding industrial solutions and building smart cities.
Taking the challenge of Covid-19 lockdown as an opportunity, the IT minister said steps were taken to improve connectivity in ensuring facilities in e-education, e-health and e-finance.
The IT minister said the country witnessed exports worth $2.1 billion in the last fiscal year and the target for the next year has been fixed up to $3.5 billion.
The spectrum auction was important to increase the broadband, which would help gain $1 billion in the future, adding that 100 million people are using broadband at present, the IT minister said
After achieving export target of $2.1 million, the ministry has set a target of $3.1 to achieve for next fiscal year, he added.
The IT ministry is going to launch 5G technology and Whatsapp like Beep in the country soon, and work on these areas was in progress, adding that initially the app will be used for the government employees only.
Federal Minister for Education & Technical Training Shafqat Mehmood thanked Google and Tech Valley for leading the remarkable initiative of transforming schools under ICT to explore teaching resources through Google for Education to inspire creativity, encourage hands-on learning, and equip students with digital skills.
He mentioned that the Prime Minister’s vision of Single Curriculum is currently in execution phase and now it’s a time to have a unified robust technology platform to reshape the future of education in Pakistan.
While mentioning about the workforce of the future, he stated that this is the perfect time for Google to come forward and launch a national level “Skill Program” for the youth, similar to the ones Google executed for other countries in the region.
Federal Minister of Railways Azam Khan Swati emphasized on the adoption of emerging technologies to run transparently and efficiently.
The Railways minister said innovative technologies are transforming public sector of Pakistan in collaboration with Google.
He said that digitalization is one of the top priorities for the railways and its future.
Swati asked the technology providers to come forward, join hands and guide us in adopting emerging technologies like cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, blockchain, GIS, real-time monitoring of rolling stock and infrastructure, improving accuracy of passenger information, predictive maintenance planning, and most importantly, seamless journeys integrating with other modes of transport.
Tech Valley Co-founder and CEO Umar Farooq said that being a citizen of this beautiful country, we feel socially responsible to pay back to our motherland by serving as a conduit between pioneer technology providers and the government for a collective transformation drive across the country.
He stated that “The presence of all the stakeholders and senior leadership from Google at today’s summit clearly reflects the commitment and assurance that we all believe in the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital Pakistan.


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