Prime Minister Gilani inaugurates Ministry of Information Technology’s projects in Bahawalpur

Islamabad: The Prime Minister of Pakistan; Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani inaugurated three major projects of the Ministry of Information Technology in Bahawalpur on Thursday. These include the Universal Service Fund’s (USF) basic telecom services in Bahawalpur division’s unserved areas, launching the Pakistan Software Export Board’s (PSEB) web portal it.org.pk, and distributing merit certificates and medals to graduates of PSEB’s internship programme for Bahawalpur and Multan divisions.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the present government just in three years is proud to have set in motion a programme that is ensuring the provisioning of basic telecom services to the unserved population of Pakistan in the remotest regions of the country. The USF’s project in Bahawalpur manifests his government’s policies. He added that when his government took charge in early 2008, there were 888 unserved mauzas in the districts of Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan. Now every village in these districts enjoys basic telecom facilities. He hoped that PSEB and USF, under MoIT’s leadership, would continue to implement programs to strengthen Pakistan’s IT industry, and increase access to ICT technologies to all Pakistani citizens. He also congratulated Telenor on efficiently completing the USF’s rural connectivity project in record time.

The Prime Minister went on to say, “Skilled and trained human resource is absolutely essential for industrial growth and PSEB has been playing an active role in capacity-building of Pakistan’s IT industry. Mobile Software, gaming and animation segments are growing at a phenomenal rate across the globe and this present enormous opportunities for Pakistan’s talented IT companies Specialized training and relevant education is the key to succeed in this competitive industry. PSEB’s recently organized advanced gaming, visual art and animation development training for selected IT graduates and IT industry professionals is a step in the right direction. I am pleased that the IT graduates of rapidly-developing cities such as Bahawalpur and Multan have had an opportunity to benefit from such capacity-building initiatives of Ministry of Information Technology”.

I applaud Pakistan Software Export Board for developing its web portal for the IT industry. Increasingly buyers of IT products and services look suppliers on the Internet and this portal will serve as one stop shop for global IT buyers. Through extensive coverage of Pakistan’s IT industry this portal will play a positive role in facilitating local IT companies, and highlighting Pakistan’s positive perception in the international arena.

My government is committed to the development of Pakistan’s IT industry. The incentives provided by the government, such as state-of-the-art deregulated telecom and Internet facilities, software technology parks, tax holidays, foreign ownership, and repatriation of profits are among some of the major measures taken to attract both local and foreign investment in the IT sector. ”

The ceremony was attended by notables of the area, political representatives , Federal Secretary Information Technology, Saeed Ahmed Khan; Additional Federal Secretary Information Technology, Nadeem Ashraf; Member Telecom, Syed Ismail Shah; USF’s CEO, Parvez Iftikhar; PSEB’s Managing Director, Zia Imran; Telenor’s CEO, Christian Albech and USF’s GM (Projects and Technology), Syed Asif Kamal.

PSEB supports IT industry through its programs in capacity and human resource development, international marketing of Pakistani IT companies and commissioning of IT Parks. PSEB’s Centre of Excellence in Applied Software Technologies and Open Source (COEASTOS) actively works with industry to identify key areas of needs and implements HR development programs in areas of high need including trainings in emerging high potential areas such as mobile software, computer gaming, animation, social media application programming and advanced software design. PSEB’s also runs several internship and apprenticeship programs to bolster the skills of fresh IT graduates by imparting training in high demand areas and placing them for 3-6 months at IT companies. PSEB pays interns a stipend during the internship period. The program has been very well received by the IT industry and over 90% of the graduates placed as interns are retained as full time employees.

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