IT development, policy facilitation top priorities of government: Minister Pun

KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Barshaman Pun has said that the development of IT-related infrastructure and policy facilitation are the priorities of the government.

In his address to a programme entitled “IT Decade: A Way Forward” organised by the SEJON Nepal here today, the finance minister said the government acknowledges and promotes IT as an instrumental in achieving economic prosperity.

“The budget for the upcoming fiscal year has accorded priority to IT development, according to the minister who also said that agriculture, hydropower, tourism and IT have been incorporated in the budget as the government’s key areas of development.  He reminded the gathering that the budget for the fiscal year 2081-82 BS (2024-25) has announced an investment decade for the development of the IT sector.  The budget is focused on the escalation of the digital economy and building a foundation for the green economy, he added.

Referring to the budget, he said it includes the government’s plan of developing Nepal as an IT hub and exporting IT services worth Rs 3,000 billion with the creation of 500,000 direct jobs and one million indirect employment opportunities in the next decade.  “The budget is centered on enabling a legal foundation for IT innovations and the enhancement and regulation of artificial intelligence.”

Government Spokesperson and Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, insisted on the need for collaboration among the three-tier government to promote IT development. “It is historic that the upcoming budget announced an investment decade targeting the IT sector.”

She also cautioned about the high possibility of irregularities in the IT sector as this is a relatively less familiar sector to the masses. She admitted that the government’s Digital Nepal Framework, intended to integrate IT development with the delivery of civic services, has not been effectively implemented.

Finance Ministry’s joint-secretary Dhaniram Sharma said the plan to supply IT services worth RS 3,000 billion in the next decade is based on the assessment of experts and the present situation though no feasibility study was carried out in this regard.

Institute of Integrated Development Studies (IIDS) consultant and IT skills and employment expert Dr Amrita Sharma advised the government to come up with planned endeavors to meet its objective of promoting the IT sector in the next decade.

She suggested a high potential for exploring the IT market for Nepal in Europe, advising the government to consider potential of supplying IT services at a relatively reasonable cost than other South Asian nations

 

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