Satellite service will enable country to raise $700m for National Space Programme

The government has decided to increase the use of Pakistani satellite services in the country by limiting foreign satellite services which will enable the country to raise the amount up to $700 million to be used for the National Space Programme (NSP).

National Space Programme will enable country to raise $700m

The government has decided to increase the use of Pakistani satellite services in the country by limiting foreign satellite services which will enable the country to raise the amount up to $700 million to be used for the National Space Programme (NSP).

To this effect, the federal cabinet on Tuesday accorded approval to the policy guidelines which, when implemented, will raise $600-700 million for the National Space Programme till 2030.

The National Command Authority (NCA) headed by the prime minister has already approved the NSP. In absence of regulations, owing to default of users of Pakistani satellite services, the country is braving the annual loss of $22.48 million (Rs3.5 billion).

Countries around the world, like China, India and Bangladesh have restricted or prohibited the use of foreign satellite systems by granting and financial protection to their own space programmes.

Total satellite capacity usage at present in Pakistan stands at approximately 2,200MHz, out of which 21 percent is on Pakistani satellite and rest is on foreign satellite. In financial terms, a minimum of $35-45 million per year is going out of the country.

As per the official summary available with The News, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication has prepared the policy guidelines draft with inputs of all stakeholders.

The documents unfold that in 2004, “Pakistan Program —The Way Forward” was issued by the Prime Minister Secretariat, enshrining parameters and contours for implementation including administrative, financial and regulatory aspects which needs to be implemented in policy frameworks as voids remain especially with reference to regulatory and financial aspects.

The national space assets utilisation could have generated $544 million (Rs85 billion) to date. It mentions that Strategic Plans Division (SPD) initiated a summary for prime minister in March 2019 to address voids, regulatory and financial issues related to sustainability of NSP which is an all encompassing space programme envisaging developments in the field of space, having direct linkages with our strategic programme.

The National Command Authority (NCA) headed by the prime minister has already approved the NSP.

The entire edifice of the space programme is based on reducing reliance on foreign and domestic funding. As such, revenue earning satellite services being provided by Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) need to be fully utilised.

This is not happening at present primarily due to the unregulated satellite domestic market.

Total satellite capacity usage at present in Pakistan is approximately 2200MHz, out of which 21 percent is on Pakistani satellite and rest is on foreign satellite. In financial terms, a minimum of $35-45 million per year is going out of the country and default of users of Pakistani satellites, in absence of regulations, has piled up to $22.48 million (Rs3.5 billion).

Countries around the world, like China, India and Bangladesh restrict or prohibit the use of foreign satellite system, by granting and financial protection to their own space programmes.

The prime minister constituted an inter-ministerial committee under the chair of minister for information technology and telecommunication to come up with any agreed framework and furnish recommendation.

The committee after detailed deliberations recommended adoption of policy measures to maximise use of national space assets deployed by Suparco Pakistan International for satellite service in Pakistan in national and financial interests.

The prime minister after pursuing the recommendations of committee directed the Ministry of IT & Telecommunication in consultation with Strategic Plans Division (SPD), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and other stakeholders, may develop policy with clear recommendations and present the same before the federal cabinet along with an analysis of some key points.

The analysis as desired by the prime minister is placed. Input of relevant stakeholders such as PTA, Pemra, FBR and Cabinet Division has also been included in the draft summary placed in the federal cabinet.

Originally published at The News International

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