A recent study conducted by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) has uncovered the significant economic impact of internet shutdowns in Pakistan.
Titled “The Economic Cost of Internet Closure,” the study highlights the toll these disruptions take on the country’s economy. PIDE estimates that a 24-hour internet shutdown results in a direct loss of Rs1.3 billion, equivalent to 0.57% of the daily GDP average for Pakistan.
The study emphasizes the fundamental necessity of the internet in modern times and calls for substantial improvements in Pakistan’s internet infrastructure, which lags in quality and coverage.
The study’s key findings include a 97% reduction in rides for online cab services during internet shutdowns, translating to a daily loss of Rs29 to 32 million.
Online food delivery services experience a 75% reduction in orders, resulting in a significant daily loss of Rs135 million. Freelance workers face over $1.3 million in lost revenue, equivalent to Rs390 million, when denied orders due to internet disruptions. The suspension of 3G/4G services for a single day causes a loss of Rs450 million to the telecommunication sector alone.
Dr. Nadeemul Haque, Vice Chancellor of PIDE, emphasizes that high-quality internet access not only offers opportunities for youth, especially in remote areas, but also bridges the gap between the privileged and the general public.
Online tools for education and professional purposes empower rural youth to compete nationally and internationally. Internet shutdowns disrupt daily life and have severe economic consequences, affecting various sectors and individual livelihoods.