Friday, June 26, 2009

Govt sets $280m IT exports target for 2009-10

Pin It By Ijaz Kakakhel ISLAMABAD: The government set a target of $280 million earning from export of Information Technology products during the fiscal year 2009-10. However, this amount was very low as compared to IT exports by other regional countries, according to the Annual Plan 2009-10.
For increasing the software and IT exports, besides attracting large multinational businesses in the country, local entrepreneurs and investors in large numbers should be attracted through incentives and infrastructure support.

For this purpose, development of IT incubators to establish IT companies and venture capital funds should be encouraged by providing them with ‘one-window-facilitation’ to start their business. A government-backed programme to establish IT incubators should also be designed.

To attract large international businesses, the local IT companies need to complement their expertise as well as augment their capacity through clustering as well as mergers/acquisitions on successful business propositions. Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures with foreign software houses also help in the promotion of software development, software business and transfer of technology.

The system needs to be put in place a proper mechanism of incentives. This would enable the local companies to transform into world-class companies.

For the development of IT sector in the country, the government had allocated Rs 2.3 billion in PSDP 2009-10 for 65 projects. The PSDP earmarked for 2009-10 would further enhance the human resource development, IT industry development, e-government, infrastructure development, and would create employment opportunities in the IT sector.

For development of IT sector, the government would initiate several development schemes including.

National ICT Scholarship Programme: The target for the year was to provide foundation training to about 9,000 students. About 700 successful students from this foundation’s training would get scholarships (target for five years is 3,500 scholarships) for 4-year Bachelor’s degree programme in various national universities.

IT Training for Elected Lady Representatives (Phase-II): Approximately 1,500 elected lady councilors would benefit from this training programme. The project would be completed in March 2014.

Pakistan Software Export Board: The board plans to place 400 interns in various companies in the next year. The project will be completed in December 2009.

Pakistan Computer Bureau: The bureau plans to provide basic IT training to 3000 government employees.

IT industry development: In PSDP 2009-10, emphasis on improving the IT infrastructure would continue so that more international IT companies were attracted to do business in Pakistan alongside the domestic IT companies. In this regard, some of the important projects included in PSDP 2009-10 are:

Phase-II of standardisation of Pakistani IT industry would further strengthen the capacity of IT industry to attract international business. The target for the year was to support 50 companies to attain CMMI level 2, thirty companies CMMI level 3 and 15 companies CMMI level 5. The proposed cost of the project is Rs 290.7 million.

Next phase of strengthening of Pakistani IT industry through international certifications will offer opportunity to Pakistani companies of achieving twenty certifications of both ISO 20000 and ISO 27001. The proposed cost of the project is Rs 170 million.

IT parks construction projects consultancy for both Karachi and Lahore airports would be launched. These parks would facilitate more IT firms to establish their businesses in the country. These projects would cost the government Rs 50 million.

E-government: Machine readable passport/ machine readable visa project (MRP/MRV) Phase-II: The MRP/MRV system would be deployed at 10 RPOs and 40 foreign missions in the year 2009-10. The project would be completed in January 2011.

Replication of e-office (basic common applications) at 45 divisions of the federal government was being implemented. In the next year, e-office will be deployed at establishment, interior and health divisions.

Automation of Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) would facilitate its investors and improve public service at its business units. This would also provide value added services including ATM, Internet and mobile banking etc to the clients of CDNS in future.

Upgradation of NADRA Data Warehouse would further enhance and upgrade the existing system to cater for future needs of NADRA.

Land revenue records management system for Punjab had been revised with an increased scope to cover all 36 districts of the province and an improved implementation methodology focusing at Tehsil level instead of Kanoongoi level to improve the efficiency of land records management and facilitate the citizens to have better access to land records at an affordable cost.

Prime minister’s initiative for providing video conferencing facility for federal and provincial governments would be launched. Overall, there was a provision for providing video conferencing facility at 50 sites in the project based on high definition technology.

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