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IT development, policy facilitation remain government priorities: Minister Pun

B360
B360 June 11, 2024, 5:42 pm
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KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun has stated that the development of IT-related infrastructure and policy facilitation are the government's priorities. 

In his address to a programme titled 'IT Decade: A Way Forward', organised by the Society of Economic Journalists- Nepal (SEJON) in Kathmandu today, Minister Pun said the government recognises and promotes IT as instrumental in achieving economic prosperity.  

“The budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2024/25 has given priority to IT development," said the Minister, adding that agriculture, hydropower, tourism, and IT have been incorporated into the budget as the government's key areas of development. He reminded the audience that the budget for the forthcoming fiscal year has announced an investment decade for the development of the IT sector. The budget is focused on escalating the digital economy and laying the foundation for a green economy, he added. 

Referring to the budget, he said it includes the government's plan to develop Nepal as an IT hub and export IT services worth Rs 3 trillion, creating 500,000 direct jobs and one million indirect employment opportunities over the next decade. "The budget is centred on enabling a legal foundation for IT innovations and the enhancement and regulation of artificial intelligence."

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Government Spokesperson and Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, emphasised the need for collaboration among the three tiers of government to promote IT development. "It is historic that the upcoming budget announced an investment decade targeting the IT sector," she said. 

She also warned of the high possibility of irregularities in the IT sector, as this is a sector relatively unfamiliar to the masses. She acknowledged 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 trillion in the next decade is based on the assessment of experts and the current situation, even though no feasibility study was carried out in this regard. 

The Institute of Integrated Development Studies (IIDS) consultant and IT skills and employment expert Amrita Sharma advised the government to come up with planned endeavours 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 the potential of supplying IT services at a relatively reasonable cost compared to other South Asian nations.

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