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Event Title :
The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications
Published Date :
Aug 8,2018

Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunicationsto discuss implementation status of recommendations regarding installation of E-services software at CDA premises and projects being launched by Universal Service Fund

The Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications was held on Wednesday. Chaired by Senator Rubina Khalid, the meeting was attended by Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi, Senator Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Senator Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Sana Jamali and senior officers from the Ministry of IT (MOIT), Central Development Authority (CDA), National Information and Technology Board (NITB), Universal Services Fund (USF) and FIA. Representatives of LMKT were also present.

The meeting commenced with discussion on the implementation status of recommendations made by the Committee in its meeting on 21st and 27th February, 2018 regarding installation of e-services software at CDA premises by LMKT Pvt. Ltd.  While listening to the arguments presented by all stakeholders, Chairperson Committee, Rubina Khalid showed concern on whether or not CDA possessed the capability to use and maintain the software. She stressed that the purpose of involving the FIA was to fix responsibility for delay and determine whether embezzlement of funds took place.  According to Deputy Director FIA, Islamabad the project began in 2007 and in 2008 75 percent imbursement was made.  He asserted that ten years down the road no progress has been seen.  He revealed that the FIA received a formal complaint in this regard in 2014. He stressed that according to intelligence reports that they gathered on the case a meeting was held in February 2018, in which it was decided that LMKR should be given the opportunity to redeploy and reinstall the software so that national resources are not unnecessarily exhausted. 

He further stated that later another committee was formed jointly by the LMKR, CDA and NITB, according to which NITB would submit a report for redeployment and reinstallation. Meanwhile LMKR submitted a petition to the High Court. Resultantly the honourable Court granted three months time.  The objective once again was to save national resource.   The Court ordered the NITB that after three months it must ensure that redeployment and reinstallation is completed; if not NITB must report back to the High Court and fix responsibility. 

He asserted that as far as the investigation conducted by the FIA is concerned it is dependent on these reports.  Secretary, Ministry of IT was of the view that NITB and CDA must report on deliverables ahead of the next meeting, so that the Committee may move forward on this case.  Chairperson Committee Senator Khalid seconding the suggestion recommended the same.

In a briefing conducted by the Universal Services Fund (USF) regarding its objectives, policy, rules fund position, achievements, projects launched during the last fiscal year, Chairman USF informed the Committee of the various projects in which the USF was involved.

Chairman USF was of the view that despite massive growth there were many areas that remained underserved.  The challenges, he asserted, that the USF faced were rugged terrains, sparse population, harsh weather, lack of electricity, no backhaul, and poor logistics.

While discussing telecommunication coverage status, Senator Sana Jamali enquired why certain areas such as Jhal Magsi, Dera Bugti, Nasirabad and Jaffarabad were not being catered.  Chairman USF revealed that a major hurdle in expansion was security clearance in these areas without which things cannot move forward.

While discussing various projects being run by the USF it was revealed that special programs have been launched to empower women. The Chairman revealed that 100 ICT labs have been established in Women Empowerment Centers run by Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal in which 100 master trainers have been trained by Microsoft.  In addition to this, he asserted that special ICT projects have been launched for the disabled in the last financial year. 

While discussing Ecommerce Craft MSME/SME Project, Chairman USF informed the Committee that as a result of the project 1000 artisans will be selected and this e-commerce portal will be used to portray their products. Chairperson Committee, Senator Khalid commended the project and said that it would be a great help for artisans in Pakistan. 

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