IT Ministry still lacks plan to promote apps

mobile-apps-300x200KARACHI: Even after a year of 3G/4G revolution in Pakistan, the Information Technology Ministry has failed to launch any comprehensive programme to encourage apps development in the country, Daily Times learnt.

The ministry declared the current year as “the Year of IT” and ordered Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) to focus on capacity building of IT companies and international marketing of IT products to further strengthen Pakistan’s IT sector.

But, it is irony that despite being Pakistan’s IT authority the ministry failed to launch its official mobile android app and also could not assist other state owned departments and ministries to develop their android mobile apps.

For example, many public service departments including Pakistan Railways (PR), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and others did not launch their mobile apps.

Interestingly, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), a watchdog, also failed to launch its own official mobile app. On the other hand, private sector responded positively to the introduction of next generation technologies in Pakistan as private banks, hospitals and several other sectors have launched their mobile apps.

Similarly, media industry welcomed this technology wholeheartedly as the largest part of the mobile data is consumed by news channels and newspapers’ apps in Pakistan.

E-Commerce is also taking full advantage of the 3G/4G services as rising E-shopping trend on social media has been observed since Pakistan’s top fashion brands and designers are launching their mobile apps frequently.

Commenting on this, Information Communication and Technology Think Tank (ICT3) President Sohaib Sheikh said that unfortunately the government, other than engulfing millions of dollars (in licence fee), has done nothing so far in this regard and in fact negatively impacting the sector by imposing taxes and tightening regulations.

Moreover, he added, the absence of cyber law, expired policies, right of ways for infrastructure rollout and plethora of other predicaments are hurting the industry most, so the time has come for the authorities concerned to get serious with the work they are doing.

According to the data, during the first year 3G/4G users in Pakistan have reached to 13 million while total number of 4G consumers in Pakistan now come to 141,177 with Warid leading the ranks with its 79,213 4G-LTE users.

Industry experts believe that the public has full right to have access to the information in this modern era and in this regard the government should develop apps of following ministries included Planning and Development, Commerce and Textile Industry, Communications, Defence, Foreign Affairs.

Housing & Works, Industries and Production, Justice Law and Human Rights, Petroleum & Natural Resources, Ports and Shipping, Railways, Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony, Science and Technology, Water & Power, and Prime Minister’s youth Programme.

Apps development is the process of developing software for small devices such as enterprise digital assistants or personal digital assistants. Apps are either pre-installed on phones, or downloaded by customers from various mobile software distribution platforms.

International research shows that mobile users today are spending 86% of their mobile time on mobile apps. Not only are they using apps to access daily information, but their engagement with brands is likewise migrating to apps, with 68% of mobile users engaging with brands via apps.