Prohibition of used computers' import: KEDA terms ban a direct threat to IT education of poor students -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Prohibition of used computers’ import: KEDA terms ban a direct threat to IT education of poor students

ANWAR KHAN

KARACHI: The proposed ban on import of second hand computers is largely seen as a direct threat to IT education of poor students, whose academic growth in technological professions has been exemplary during the last decade, President and General Secretary of Karachi Electronics Dealers Association (KEDA) said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference at KEDA’s office, President Muhammad Idris Memon and General Secretary Abdul Rasheed Noorani said that “multinational computer manufacturing companies and capitalists are the keen lobbying elements behind the proposal to the federal government for imposing ban on the import of used computers systems.” They expressed serious concerns over the rising situation in the wake of possible ban on the import of second-hand computers, saying that the government’s anti-poor move will lead the country towards disastrous consequences.

Lauding the efforts of former federal minister for science and technology, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, they said that he had first allowed the import of used computers in the country through revolutionary policies, which provided people with low-cost computers ranging between Rs 6,000 and Rs 8,000. “Such a policy made the computer systems accessible to the lower class of the society and helped reach education in the country’s backward areas,” they observed.

Resultantly, talented student in the field of IT immediately brought Pakistan to eighth position in Asia, enabling the country to produce and export software worth $300 million, they added. Idris and Noorani pointed out that the country receives about 20,000 graduates in IT subjects and about 0.1 million students with diplomas every year, and expressed apprehensions that ban will significantly reduce them.

“A new branded computer system is available for Rs 30,000 to Rs 45,000, which is far beyond the reach of an ordinary student to buy,” they said, adding that surprisingly Pakistan is the first country in the world considering a ban on import of used computers. On the other hand, they say, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is spreading IT education by denoting such second-hand computers to the world’s poor nations.

Similarly, computer-producing companies of Australia, England, Canada and the US are selling old stocks of computers to other needy countries, they maintained. Dispelling the impression, they said that if these imported computers were environment hazardous, US and European nations would never have exported them to any country as their federal and business laws ban trade of such anti-environment devices.

About too much electricity consumption by the old computers, Idris and Noorani term the impression as false, saying that the new one eats up 400 watts of electricity whereas the old one consumes only 200 watts. They alleged that the elements who are keen behind the expected imposition of ban are threat to the nation’s IT education growth and primarily pursuing this for their own financial gains. The move will also leave thousands of families destitute whose primary source of income is indebted with second-hand computer business in the country. The move is also feared to further give rise to unemployment and street crimes, they added.
Source: Business Recorder
Date:3/26/2010