Committee on IT & Telecom Expressed Serious Concerns over Technology Park Islamabad Project Delay

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) said that the Korean side took eight months in approving evaluation report of the worth $88.383 million Technology Park Islamabad.

While briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, Project Director said that MoITT got approval for establishment of Technology Park at Islamabad at estimated cost of $88.383 million with a loan amounting $76.31 million from Economic Development Co-operation Fund (EDCF) loan of EXIM Bank of Korea @ 0.1 percent for 40 years with 10 years grace period.

The committee which met with Rubina Khalid in the chair was informed that consultant procurement would be completed next month after which the project design would be completed in six months while the overall project is expected to be completed in 44 months.  The committee expressed serious reservations over the delay in project while saying that it was approved in 2016, but no work on the ground is done so far. The committee was informed that Ministry had submitted evaluation report to the Korean side, but it was delayed on their part due to changes in management and took eight months to approve it. The committee demanded full details with implementation and completion period in the next meeting.

Committee on IT & Telecom Expressed Serious Concerns over Technology Park Islamabad Project Delay

The committee expressed serious concerns over the non-compliance of its recommendations before the Federal Minister for MoITT Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui while saying that 18 meetings held during the last one year, but not a single recommendations was compiled of. The Minister assured the committee that all the pending matters would be disposed of soon.

The Ministry also briefed the committee on Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects for next fiscal year 2019-20, while saying that a total of 23 schemes are proposed out of which 8 are ongoing schemes and 15 are new schemes.

A total demand of Rs16475 million has been made against these schemes with Rs 9814 million for new schemes and Rs 6661 million for ongoing schemes.

The Committee was told that the flagship project of the ministry is ensuring e-offices in the government departments and so far 27 out of 45 ministries have reached level 2 of the e-office setup and 15 are in process. The project will also include automation of record in not just executive but Parliament as well. The members of the Committee unanimously agreed upon recommending to all Senate Standing Committees to take compliance status of their respective ministries on e-offices.

The Committee was also told that, on the advice of the Committee, the matter of release of payment to pensioners of Telephone Industries of Pakistan (TIP) was taken up by the Board and has approved the payment.

Arrears will be paid by June and the deficit will be re-appropriated from other heads of budget. The Committee took strong notice of lack of proper telecommunication services by telecomm companies in Malakand Division and asked PTA and USF to ensure that franchises are allowed there only when the services are provided and to take strong action against the companies who are not providing the services.

The committee expressed serious concerns over the poor service or no service of Ufone in Malakand division while saying that SIMs are being sold among the people with an average of 3000 per month, which is tantamount to a fraud. The committee directed PTA to investigate the sale of SIMs with no service in the area besides, recommending for national roaming to facilitate general public especially tourists in the area.

The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Rubina Khalid here at the Parliament House on Tuesday and was attended among others by Senators Rukhsana Zuberi, Dr. Ashok Kumar, Abdul Rehman Malik, Fida Muhammad, Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Sana Jamali, Kalsoom Parveen, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Secretary Information Technology and Telecommunication, CEO USF, Member Enforcement PTA, and officials from the ministry.

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Fizza Atique

Fizza Atique is a Tech writer specializing in the intersection of tech and culture. She likes photography, VR, electronic music, coffee, and baking.

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