KESC refuses to recognize IT industry
KARACHI- The Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) has refused to recognize information technology as an industry for the last four years.
Well-placed sources said the KESC still billed information technology organizations, such as software houses, Internet service providers and information technology institutes, according to commercial tariff. “The information technology organizations have yet to receive the tariff benefit extended to the industrial consumers by the KESC,” they added.
When the principal information officer of the KESC was asked to explain the position of his organization on the matter, he declined to comment. Information technology was declared an industry over four years ago. Through a notification [No3 (2) 97-INV-IV] issued on March 5, 1997, the ministry of industries and investment had announced: “The government of Pakistan is pleased to declare the computer software information technology as an ‘industry’ with immediate effect.”
At present, there are over 160 software houses registered with the Pakistan Software Houses Association. In addition, there are over 70 software houses working independently of the Pakistan Software Houses Association. Similarly, there are 34 Internet service providers registered with the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan, and a large number of information technology institutes registered either with the Sindh Board of Technical Education or with universities approved by the University Grants Commission. All these organization have been paying bills according to commercial tariff despite the fact that information technology was declared an industry by the government more than four years ago.
A former president of the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan, Sanaullah Boota, told that many people had drawn the attention of the minister for science and technology, Dr Attaur Rehman, at a seminar on Sept 17 at the Finance and Trade Centre to the refusal of the KESC to make any concessions for the nascent information technology industry.
The president of the Pakistan Software Houses Association, Hamza Mateen, said all software houses worked round the clock. “Software houses are fast realizing that they will not be able to operate at a profit if they are billed by the KESC according to’ commercial tariff. That is why some software houses prefer the power produced by private generators than the electricity provided by the KESC at commercial tariff,” he said.