Need to revisit IT affairs

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The Ministry of Information Technology has again landed in troubles and looks to have gone astray when most recently, in a surprise move, CEO of ICT RandD Fund, just few months after his appointment, has tendered his resignation citing excessive interference and meddling by the Secretary, Ministry of IT. During his service, the Secretary had also reportedly served the CEO of ICT RandD Fund with a show cause notice for not attending a meeting in the constituency of the Prime Minister, who is also the Minister Incharge for the IT ministry. Regrettably, the babu mentality has always been in a dominating position in the whole government affairs. It, no doubt, pains a lot when someone recalls the 65-year history of the country that the bureaucracy took most of the national decisions keeping their own interests without realising that how much loss the country had to face due to their self-styled decisions. There is no iota of doubt that the repeated attempts were made in the past to grab administrative control of the ICT Fund, which has billions of rupees funds – mandatory contributions of the telecom operators – at its disposal to promote research and development in information and communication technologies in the country. Most of the time since its establishment, the IT ministry has kept witnessing bureaucratic reshuffle on top level besides experiencing a crisis-like situation. Consequently, the CEO of ICT RandD Fund last year had suffered a bad experience in terms of the halt on its operations for about ten months. This critical situation had forced the telecom operators to write a letter to the authorities concerned with a warning to stop funding the ICT RandD Fund if they fail to resume the research and development activities in the telecom sector. A huge amount of Rs. 30 billion, available with the Fund, remained unused as a number of ongoing projects were not properly funded rather no new research and development work was done through launching any mega project in the country. In fact, it is the government that continues neglecting the best performing private sector even in the economic downturn but many organizations of the IT ministry including Pakistan Software Export Board and National Telecommunication Corporation do not have full time chief executives. Such attempts were also made in the past to get administrative control of the ICT RandD Fund by various tactics, however, it could hardly survive these negative attitudes on the part of the bureaucracy. The IT sector is constantly witnessing starvation in terms of foreign direct investments since long. At this critical stage, the government needs to revive the confidence of the foreign investors so that this ailing sector is again put on right track.


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