Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) has said that Korean side took eight months in approving evaluation report of Technology Park, worth $88.383 million, in Islamabad.
While briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, the 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 to $76.31 million from Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) from EXIM Bank of Korea @ 0.1 percent for 40 years with 10 years grace period.
The committee 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 the project while saying that it was approved in 2016 but no work on the ground has been done so far. The committee was informed that the 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.
The committee expressed serious concern to Federal Minister for MoITT Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui over non-compliance with its recommendations, saying that 18 meetings were held during the last one year but not a single recommendation was complied with. 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 the 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 Rs 16,475 million has been made against these schemes with Rs 9,814 million for new schemes and Rs 6,661 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 members of the committee unanimously agreed upon recommending to all the Senate's 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 the payment has been approved.
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 in Malakand Division and asked the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and USF to ensure that franchises are allowed there only when the services are provided and take strong action against the companies which are not providing the services.
The committee expressed serious concern over the poor services or no service of Ufone in Malakand Division, saying that SIMs are being sold among the people with an average of 3,000 per month, which is tantamount to a fraud. The committee directed the PTA to investigate the sale of SIMs with no service in the area. The committee recommended for national roaming in the area to facilitate general public and tourists.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Rubina Khalid here at the Parliament House 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.