Pakistan is fast becoming a major IT player in the global IT industry. Information communication technologies have the potential to reduce distances, transcend borders and bring people together. For bridging gaps to create new opportunities for the growing and emerging digital economy of Pakistan to explode its Internet Infrastructure to play a catalytic role in realizing the dream; Internet Society – Asia Pacific (ISOC-APAC) in collaboration with Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) held three days INET Islamabad in this week – Pakistan’s first-ever conference on the Digital Economy and the role the Internet can play in sustainable development.
The three-day conference running from November 16-18 is featuring national and international speakers and ICT experts. INET Islamabad aims to promote the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world. After the closing ceremony, I personally had an opportunity to directly ask few questions to the man who was behind this Mega-Tech event of the year Mr. Rajnesh D. Singh regional director Internet Society Asia Pacific.
Q: Is it your first time in Pakistan?
A: No, but this has been the longest I have ever in Pakistan. I have been here previously for different meetings, etc. It’s my third time. I have been to Taxila this time which was really amazing.
Q: Why did you organize INET conference in Islamabad? Why not Karachi or Lahore?
A: Well, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is in Islamabad and one of the goals of this conference was to give a message directly to the government of Pakistan. The conference was policy focused. In future, if we organize a business oriented conference in Pakistan then it would definitely be in Karachi.
Q: Do you think Pakistani Digital Economy has to the potential to lead?
A: Potential is definitely here as people here love what they do but I see problems as well. Such as there’s no proper funding system for startups. Startups are usually funded internationally. Another major downfall is that Pakistan doesn’t have PayPal service. Access is improving but has yet a long way to go. Introduction of 3G services has boosted the utmost of core of Pakistani IT industry. Meanwhile, government needs to introduce proper and transparent funding system for people – I have heard R&D funds aren’t being delivered which itself is another step back.
Q: How can government give a boost to the startups environment?
A: I would greatly suggest government should introduce tax concessions for start-ups in the first three years of operating – the same taxation changes were adopted by Singapore and look where it is now but the story is alternative here; Tax constantly increases for start-ups.
Q: As an individual share something new you learn or experience in Pakistan?
A: I have been here before but I now have friends in Pakistan. I won’t forget the warm experience of the Pakistani ‘Mehman Nawazi’.
Q: Any word of wisdom?
A: Sell and exploit your skills.