The Government of Pakistan has approved an initiative taken to limit the usage of foreign satellite services. The initiative is expected to raise up to $700 million which will go towards the development of the National Space Programme (NSP).
The policy guidelines for the programme were approved by the federal cabinet on Tuesday, the 23rd of June. This cutback on the use of foreign satellite services will ensure that more Pakistani services are used, which could potentially raise $600-700 million by the year 2030.
Only 21% of the total satellite capacity usage of the country (which stands at 2200 MHz) is on Pakistani satellite services – the other 79% that is on foreign satellite services costs the country up to $45 million per year.
Other countries in the subcontinent have been able to cut back on their annual spending by implementing similar policies in the past. India and Bangladesh have managed to successfully limit foreign satellite services usage and have local setups in place. China has also setup similar policies. These countries have financial protection schemes in place to inhibit their own space programmes from having large financial deficits. As of now, Pakistan’s satellite services suffer an annual deficit of $22.8 million.
The Prime Minister of our country has taken recommendations of an inter-ministerial committee – put together for this specific purpose by the PM himself. He has directed the Minister for IT & Telecommunications to work with stakeholders such as the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), and the Cabinet Division and conduct thorough analyses in relevant fields to come up with clear recommendations to present before the federal cabinet.