Islamabad, July 18, 2014 (PPI-OT): Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired the Meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring (CCOR) at the Prime Minister’s Office today. CCoR considered the summary of the Ministry of IT for merger of Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB) and Electronic government Directorate (EGD).
The Finance Minister, while giving approval to the proposed restructuring plan expressed the hope that the new organization ‘National IT Board’ will enhance quality and efficiency of public services, promoting accountability and transparency and optimized utilization of technical and financial resources. He hoped that NITB will also fast track the ongoing efforts for implementing e-Government business process in the Federal Government and across the nation.
Earlier the Minister of State for IT, Ms. Anusha Rahman and Secretary IT, Mr. Azmat Ali Ranjha briefed the participants about the existing IT entities of MoIT (EGD and PCB). The Committee was informed that currently the Ministry has two IT organizations named Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB) and Electronic Government Directorate (EGD) working to implement e-Government projects, execute capacity building programs and to promote Information Technology in every walk of life.
It was informed that PCB was formed by a directive from the Cabinet Division of Pakistan on 12th January, 1971. Subsequently, EGD was established on 19thOctober, 2002, in pursuance to a decision of the Federal Cabinet. Both the organizations were merged in 2012 on the basis of a directive of the Government. However, the merger has not achieved its objectives.
CCoR was further informed that majority of the e-government projects, executed by both entities in the past, failed to achieve their objectives due to in-competency, weak and in-efficient leadership and ill-conceived projects by the aforementioned entities.
Since the inception of EGD in 2002, a total of 49 projects having total cost of Rs. 2599.421 million have been undertaken, but except for a few, most projects failed to deliver the desired results. Last year, an internal audit of 13 projects, having a total cost of Rs. 1632.040 million, was conducted.
In the reports, glaring financial and administrative irregularities were found. These reports were forwarded to FIA for further prosecution and investigation. Another major factor causing failure of projects is the lack of professional management, support and ownership from the client Ministries.
The objectives of the restructuring is to provide standards for software and infrastructure in the field of Electronic Government and promote and integrate Information Technology (IT) in all the National programs by focusing on the technology promotion, successful implementation of e-Governance programs and raising expertise level of the IT human resource.
The National IT Board will be headed by the Executive Director (NITB), supported by a technical team of IT experts which will be hired from the open market on merit through a competitive process. The primary focus of NITB will be on providing consultancy services to all the Ministries/Divisions to supervise and implementation of program through its Project Management Office.
It is important to mention that an efficient team of 60 IT experts is proposed for the NITB who will be technically qualified and will have specialized ICT skill sets. These experts will be hired on contract on market based salaries.
The Minister also enquired from the concerned officials about the status of the reports filed against the officials for financial irregularities and directed Secretary Ministry of IT to pursue all those reports and all those people who have been involved in corruption must be brought to justice. He added that in line with the vision of the PML(N ) leadership we have to adhere to transparency, merit and zero tolerance for corruption.
The Finance Minister further reiterated the guiding principles that the proposals of restructuring should be realistic with the aim to improve efficiency of the government departments. He mentioned that the performance of government departments can be increased by restructuring, capacity building and effective system evaluation of performance. He emphasized on improving government delivery through an effective and efficient system under the frame work of constitution, laws, rules and regulations.
The meeting was also attended by Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Science and Technology, Mr. Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for Education, Mr. Baleegur Rehman, federal secretaries and senior officials of the concerned ministries.
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