Used computers to be imported
Government initiates IT
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Feb 19 - 25, 2001
The Ministry of Science and Technology has initiated various steps for
the development of Information Technology at the grass root level in the country. This
development plan includes import of used computers, assembly of local computers and a
crash training programme for Java developers.
As a part of this programme, the government is actively considering
importing around 30,000-40,000 used computers by this summer from the United States for
educational institutions. These computers, mostly 486Mhz and Pentium-1, would be
distributed through provincial governments. Their import would be in phases of 10,000 each
and cost $50 (Rs3000) per computer. It is believed that the step is being taken in good
faith by the government, however those responsible for this plan to import used computers
should also keep in mind that these computers already outmoded may not deliver the goods.
Being a poor nation, if at all we have to go for used computers at least they should be
Pentium-3 instead of importing the Pentium-1 or 486 lest we spent a considerable amount on
the import of the junk in the face of rapid development in the field of IT.
Steps are also being taken for assembling of the computers at home for
which foreign assemblers would be invited. According to official sources, these locally
assembled computers would cost between Rs12000-15000 and $200 per computer. Earlier talks
for assembling of computers with Greatwall, a Chinese company were dropped, as the company
was demanding $500 per computer Pentium-1 that in locally currency comes to Rs 30,000.
Instead of seeking the expertise of foreign assemblers we should rely on our own young IT
engineers who have great potential to produce or assemble best quality computers at a much
cheaper cost provided they were encouraged with financial assistance by the banking sector
or other schemes like Khushhali Bank or Small Business Finance Corporation etc. The
concept of micro leasing or micro financing can do magic in achieving this goal.
It is unfortunate that the government on its part introduces schemes
for financial assistance to the educated unemployed yet the culture of bureaucratic chains
deeply rooted in our society never allows harvesting a rich crop out of these schemes. An
easy micro-lending scheme at massive scale throughout the country is the need of the hour
for human resource development in this country.
The government is also framing a law through which the foreign
companies' partnerships with the local entrepreneurs in IT, computer manufacturing units
or software houses would be made a compulsory condition.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has launched a programme to
produce 1000 Java developers. An amount of Rs22 million is being allocated to be spent on
the project which is to be completed within a period of 6 months.
The project aims to provide new development tools and information
technology (IT) skills to youth that are at least graduates. It is envisaged that after
training they will be employed in the software development companies.
Shortage of trained manpower in different skills in IT is one of the
factors which Pakistan based IT companies are facing to grab a sizeable share of overseas
The project aims creating a pool of trained Java programmers, which
would help local companies to excel in the overseas market and get overseas software
projects on the strength of trained personels.
According to programme, the eligible candidates would be placed in
three categories for training purposes. In the first category, 100 professionals having
worked in Java will be placed for two years. In the second category 300 programmers having
an exposure to the languages other than Java will be placed. The trained Java
professionals will conduct training of these programmers. In the 3rd category 600 young
persons having Bachelors degree without any knowledge of computer but having an aptitude
for the IT will be provided basic programming skills in Java.
Information Technology Division in collaboration with the Combat
Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) will execute the project. It will supervise the
implementation of the project on behalf of the IT and Telecom Division. The IT experts
have worked out the course details, its contents and qualifications of trainees and
duration of course. The CIIT will identify institutes, which will conduct training
courses. At the completion of the training, the CIIT will conduct an examination and award
certificates to successful candidates. Keeping in view the demands of the IT
professionals, project has to be completed within the current financial year. It is
expected that the training programme would be a great help getting jobs locally or abroad
for the trained Java programmers.
The reasons being that all the IT projects are time specific and demand
driven and the local companies are not in a position to honour commitments of the projects
in time, mainly due to short supply of the trained manpower in the market.