Govt willing to fund training any number of IT professionals: Awais
Islamabad, January 04 2006: Minister for Information Technology, Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari on Tuesday January 3 said the government was willing to fund capacity building and training of any number of professionals in any specific area required by the telecom and IT industry in the country.
“The government is keen to train professionals in 10 to 15 niche areas with a view to address the shortage of top-quality human resource required at different levels by the industry,” he said.
He was addressing a seminar on “National R&D Fund Policy Vision” organised jointly by the Ministry of Information Technology, the MIMOS Berhad Malaysia – official consultants for National R&D Fund, and the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences here.
The seminar drew a sizeable participation from all major stakeholders and representatives of the industry who gave in-detail their input and proposals to be incorporated in the R&D Fund policy framework, including preparation of R&D fund policy document, legal, financial and administrative structure, R&D fund procedures and manuals and the concordant set of rules and related documents.
The Minister said the government was aware of the shortage of a top-level human resource which promoted the ministry to allocate Rs. 200 million out of the R&D Fund last year to send abroad 20 talented young professionals to pursue Ph.D degree and another 40 professionals to complete MS programmes in disciplines related to IT and telecom.
“We can also use this fund to provide scholarships to deserving students to pursue master and Ph.D level programmes at premier universities within the country,” he said.
Awais said the ministry was committed to achieve the vision of a highly-educated and self-sufficient Pakistan through expansion of strength in the areas of information technology, telecom and related physical sciences.
He said the current amount available in the R&D Fund account was Rs 2.5 billion, and the balance would top-up through contributions made by operators at one per cent of the gross annual revenues of fixed line operators and 0.5 per cent of mobile cellular operators.
The Minister said the government had also planned to set up a Venture Capital Fund with $ 5 million seed money to be invested into new innovative ideas and products in the ITC area.
He said other players in the industry could also become part of this Fund which would run in an independent and professional manner.
Awais said his ministry had always responded positively to any proposal from the industry to provide training to any number of people required by the industry.
“I invite the industry to come to us and tell us about the number of people they require to be trained for them in any particular area over the next eight or 10 months, and we are ready to do the needful for them,” he said. The Minister said the government was willing to provide financial support for research aimed at ensuring socio-economic benefits, generating employment opportunities and meeting the requirements of the industry.
“It is necessary for the academia and the industry to interact with each and pinpoint areas which require research and development,” he said.
He defended slow utilization of the R&D Fund, citing the low quality of projects and proposals put forward to the board for consideration.
“It would have been a sheer waste of money had we used this fund in abandon to create artificial clouts and nano-technology,” he said, adding the government had deliberately taken time to put in place best international practices and business processes to use the fund in any efficient manner.
Source: Pakistan Observer