The state of digitization in Pakistan
Since the last few years, Pakistan has been turning towards digitization of industries. The shift can be seen in e-commerce and e-government system. E-commerce has grown in Pakistan and it greatly impacts the way consumers interact with businesses. According to a McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, if Pakistan increase usage in digital finances services (DFS), it can experience an increase in its GDP by US$ 36 billion and create around 4 million new jobs during 2016- 2025.
Pakistan’s ”Digital Pakistan Policy” was passed on 23rd May 2018. It contains several incentives for the information and technology and services like the 5% cash reward on export remittances, 5% sales tax on services (domestic), provision of bank loans to IT/ITeS industry, Tech SEZs (special economic zones) to create a digital ecosystem with infrastructure and institutional frameworks for the rapid delivery of innovative digital services, applications and contents.
State Bank of Pakistan in its annual report 2018 states that growing internet penetration is revolutionizing the way consumers and businesses share information, execute transactions, and manage their day-to-day operations. Digitization is tilted in favor of convenience, cost savings, and customized retail experiences. Businesses are also capitalizing on opportunities such as supply chain efficiency, lower transaction costs, and enhanced flexibility in addressing consumer needs.
1. We will ensure full capitalization of digital financial services to supplement digitization of documentation.
2. We will complete electronic mapping of property.
3. We will adopt electronic paper and data archiving of all future legal cases and progressively create an image database for records of the past ten years.
4. We will digitize monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic indicators with performance management capability of district and village councils.
5. We will launch the Digital Transformation Initiative Programme for digital infrastructure, citizen services and other e-government programs.
6. We will create and implement the National Digital Policy to ensure privacy, security, standardization and data sharing across all stakeholders.
We will launch the Digital Transformation Initiative Programme for digital infrastructure, citizen services and other e-government programs.
24 September 2018
The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) has announced the launch of e-challan system the citizens will receive their e-challans at their addresses registered against their vehicle IDs. The fine is to be paid in 10 days or the amount might be doubled. Frequent violations or non-payment of fine will result in confiscation of the vehicle. The traffic violators would be identified with the help of modern Automatic Vehicle Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras which had been installed by PSCA across different roads of the city.
7 October 2018
The Department of Archeology and Museums has completed digitalization of around 3500 artifacts by the help of its Digitalization Centre. It will provide electronic database for scholars to conduct research, preserve cultural heritage and prevent illegal trafficking of the archaeological objects. The digitalized record of an artifact carries all necessary information about the object along with variety of 3-D images in different angles made through the latest cameras.
20 October 2018
The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) introduced an online portal for E-Challans for the ease of the public. The public can access the portal at “echallan.psca.gop.pk” and by giving in their vehicle registration number and CNIC they can view and print E-Challans. PSCA has so far issued 87,000 E-Challans and the collection money of amounted up to Rs11 million is deposited in national exchequer.
22 October 2018
The Department of Archeology and Museums (DoAM) will complete the digitization process of 5,000 artefacts before the end of 2018. Further, the Pakistan Museum for Natural History (PMNH) will build an innovative and modernized forest gallery titled “Botanical Forest Diorama” by the end of the year which would allow researchers and students to explore different species of plants.
13 November 2018
The Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services, Murad Saeed inaugurated the Electronic Money Order and Same Day Delivery Services at General Post Office (GPO) Islamabad. Initially this service is being provided in 25 major cities and gradually it will be extended to other cities. The service will ensure prompt delivery up to Rs. 50,000/- at door step.
24 November 2018
The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) has extended the e-challan scope by including speed-limit and lane violations in addition to the previously included violations of one-way and red-light. The speed radar cameras have been installed at all the e-Challan points. The PSCA is educating public through its visual messaging screens about the speed limits on different roads of Lahore.
28 November 2018
The Federal Minister for IT, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi briefed about Ministry of IT’s achievements during first 100 days of PTI government. He informed that as part of digital transformation drive, process of rolling-out the e-Office suite all across the Federal Government is in active stage of implementation. To provide an automated mechanism for receiving feedback and complaints from expatriate Pakistanis “Call Sarzameen” portal for Overseas Pakistanis and online “NGO registration system” has also been launched. The e-Commerce for Artisan project has been approved which aims to provide online platform to Craft MSMEs from across Pakistan in leather, carpet, furniture, textile, jewelry & pottery. To curtail the counterfeit mobile phone market, Device Identification, Registration & Blocking System (DIRBS), Phase-II will become functional on 1st December 2018.
In order to ensure the effective performance by officers at all levels, the Privatization Commission has started implementation E-Office program. It was inaugurated by Secretary Privatization Commission, Rizwan Malik.
9 December 2018
The KP of digitalization of first information report is in progress and so far, 154,458 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been computerized throughout the province. The KP Police also prepared a central database for the record of all police stations’ FIRs. Direct access to the FIR is via the CNIC mobile phone and house address of the concerned person. In Peshawer 28,520 FIRs have been digitized, followed by Mardan with 18,185 FIRs, Charsadda 7,525, Nowshera 4,484 and Swabi 6,699. All records of the criminals have been centralized due to online computer record and all policed stations of the province have access to them.
21 December 2018
The Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that the government’s top focus is on digitizing Pakistan. He was chairing the first meeting of Prime Minister Taskforce on IT and Telecom. It was decided that IT and Telecom sector is to be declared as an industry. The meeting formulated with consensus three sub-task forces on IT, Telecom and Human Resource Development. These sub-task forces were directed to submit their recommendations in six weeks’ time period.
29 December 2018
The Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services, Murad Saeed, inaugurated the Pakistan Post Mobile App for Services. The app will handle complaints, real time track and trace, e-commerce delivery, tariff, post Office Locations, post codes and information about postal services.
1 January 2019
The Pakistan government has introduced the first electronic grave that functions with a QR scan technology and has used it to turn the grave of known humanitarian Dr Pfau’s digital. She dedicated her life to leprosy patients in Pakistan. She died in 2017 in Karachi and is buried in the ‘Gora Cemetery’. The electronic grave has a QR imprinted on it which the visitors can scan through their mobile phones in order to access the deceased’s personal and professional information.
15 January 2019
The online portal system developed for mobile IMEI registration will be ready by 25 January 2019. The online portal system verifies the IMEI against database to ensure it is unique, not duplicated/cloned or reported stolen. Upon verification, the system white lists the unique IMEI. To facilitate international person to register their mobile devices on arrival in Pakistan, some more options are being developed with the help of FBR and Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs). This will include registration by web, registration through mobile device system and registration through Cellular Mobile Franchisee network.
21 January 2019
The President of Pakistan, Dr Arif Alvi has directed to complete the digitization of data in the National Archives of Pakistan and connect it with universities, research institutions and government departments.
28 January 2019
Department of Archeology and Museums (DoAM) has completed the digitalization of 5,000 artifacts through its Digitalization Center. It is now in the process to make 3D images of the selected objects of unique nature which will be completed till the month March 2019.
6 February 2019
The Supreme Court decided to introduce e-court system to provide video link facility for lawyers’ arguments between the principal seat in Islamabad and its four branch registries of the country. It further aims to reduce the backlog of 40,535 cases.
12 February 2019
The e-challan system in Lahore has resulted in 66 per cent reduction in traffic rules’ violation in the last four months. Because of less violations, there is 25 per cent reduction in travel time of travelers, causing reduction in fuel consumption and improving the environment.
13 February 2019
The online tax collection system was launched in Balochistan by the Excise and Taxation Department. Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani said that financial resources of the province will be enhanced from the current Rs15 billion to Rs40bn per annum in the next few years by making tax collecting machinery more effective.
14 February 2019
The Sindh government has planned to introduce smart cards for the registration of motor vehicles across the province which replaces the present system of registration books.
11 March 2019
The Prime Minister’s Task Force on Austerity and Restructuring Government has started considering introduction of the Corruption Sniffing Bots (a computer programme) for government functionaries to prevent any chance of their living beyond their known sources of income. The bots will sniff the anomalies in encrypted data of employees. The programme would first notify the employee of any inconsistency, allowing him/her to take a corrective action before any punitive action.
17 March 2019
The FBR has announced that it will replace the existing manual tax collection system with a digital system in a year or two to detect tax evasion and avoidance.
27 March 2019
The Directorate General Immigration and Passport has decided to introduce an innovative E-Passport System within the next two months to ensure maximum facilities to applicants. The system is fully automated and is developed at a cost of Rs534 million.
We will ensure full capitalization of digital financial services to supplement digitization of documentation.
19 October 2018
The Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar asked the central bank to review its rules and regulations to make them more attractive for foreign digital payment operators, including PayPal.
8 December 2018
The PTI government has started the process of establishing a digital platform named the National Single Window (NSW) to facilitate traders in filing import and export documents at one place instead of 42 places as used previously. Currently, Pakistan clears an import consignment in an average of 11 days at a cost of $726. NSW Programme Director Imran Mohmand said that new system will cut annual import and export cost by $800 million if Pakistan manages to improve the cross-border trading system by 3%. It has helped Singapore save $1 billion annually. Similarly, Costa Rica has reduced the time for documentary compliance from 27 hours to 2 hours.
We will create and implement the National Digital Policy to ensure privacy, security, standardization and data sharing across all stakeholders.
20 December 2018
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government announced its digital policy for the next five years (2018-23). It outlined in detail the measures for financial inclusion and equitable digital bonuses for women and marginal communities. It focuses on governance, economy, skills and increased public-private partnership for facilitating digital transformation of the province. It also focuses on the provision of digital access to the people of tribal districts of former FATA. KPK has become the only province in Pakistan to have the digital policy.