ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday approved diversion of funds from information technology research to cybersecurity and imposed an additional charge of Rs1.72 per unit on K-Electric consumers on electricity consumed in peak summer months of 2023.
These decisions were made at an Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet meeting, which also raised Light House Charges on shipping agents by 200 per cent, extended a Rs100 billion guarantee limit to Pakistan State Oil for another year to meet international payment obligations for fuel imports.
The meeting, chaired by caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar, was informed that the country’s digital information infrastructure required to be strengthened due to repeated cyberattacks on Pakistan’s ICT infrastructure and cyberspace by international enemies, posing security threats.
Therefore, the Digital Information Infrastructure Initiative (DIII), was prepared by the IT ministry, telecom authority, and relevant law enforcement agencies to mitigate the challenges of cyberattacks. The DIII intends to enhance technical capabilities to proactively identify potential cyber threats on the national critical information infrastructure and block cybersecurity incidents in real time.
However, all stakeholders reported the non-availability of funds worth Rs5bn in the absence of budgetary allocations and IMF restrictions. Legal challenges were also present for permanently diverting funds from the research and development fund collected from telecom companies. A solution was found for temporary diversion, enabling an immediate Rs5bn transfer to the DIII as ‘one-time bridge financing.’ The Ministry of Finance is mandated to recoup this amount in the last quarter of the current fiscal year.