Jazz brings you another edition of Conversations@Jazz! This special episode took place at IBA Karachi with ex-Finance Minister of Pakistan, Dr. Miftah Ismail, Dean and Director at IBA Karachi, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, and esteemed journalist for Dawn News, Ramsha Jahangir. Hear Aisha Sarwari, Head of Communications and Sustainability, discuss digitalization and its impact on Pakistan’s economic growth with the panelists.

“As of April 2019, there are 161 million cellular subscribers and 67 million 3G and 4G subscribers in Pakistan. What’s interesting is that this has grown very rapidly in the past few years,” Ramsha Jahangir comments. She emphasizes how while the numbers are still growing, Pakistan is lagging on the gender parity index and the quality of internet services.

Then Dr. Miftah elaborates that the outlook of the country needs to improve to fully capitalize on the opportunities presented by the digitalization. “I never see business as an opportunity for us to make money, but to bring employment,” Dr. Miftah says.

Dr. Farrukh also talks about room for improvement and adjustment. He emphasizes a linear approach to problem-solving. He also speaks about how regulatory mechanisms in the telecommunications sector have progressed considerably but also states that the taxation policy needs to be made more favorable towards the digital industry.

All speakers agreed, in order to foster entrepreneurship and attract FDI based projects, financial regulations need to change. Dr. Miftah states that the digital industry should not be eyed as a taxation opportunity, but as a source of economic growth. He emphasizes that a more enabling environment would prioritize the digital sector and direct resources to develop prospective skills in young people. This is essential for uplifting Pakistan’s digital industry.

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