Digital growth is key to good governance Aminul Haque.

ISLAMABAD -- IT and TelecommuniAcation Minister Syed Aminul Haque on Wednesday stopped short of criticising the finance ministry and said that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) needed to understand the issues faced by the IT and telecom sector.

'Digital growth is not only essential for the overall strengthening of the economy but one of the basic conditions for modernisation of the governance system,' he added.

Addressing the launch of the 'Smartphone For All' initiative in collaboration with GSMA and a local company KistPay, the minister responded to repeated criticism by all the stakeholders that Pakistan has the highest taxes on mobile calls, internet and mobile sets in the world, while the return on investments was among the lowest.

The event marked the sale of mobile phones at easy installments for low-income people under the initiative.

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Under the scheme, mobile phones valued between Rs10,000 to Rs100,000 can be purchased in 3 to 12-month installments with a 20-30 per cent down payment.

The minister lauded Kistpay for the launch of the scheme and said that the scheme will help spread smartphone usage that will eventually encourage people to become small entrepreneurs and enter e-commerce businesses.

He said that the prerequisite of this initiative is to have local smartphone manufacturing and there are currently 29 such companies assembling mobile sets in Pakistan.

The minister said 28 projects worth Rs65 billion had been launched by the Universal Service Fund (USF) to give access to telephony, broadband and internet across the country compared to only 4 projects that were launched up to four years ago.

'These schemes are connecting people of...

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