CM addresses Peshawar Civic Hackathon arranged by KPITB

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Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak Friday said that the provincial government is making all out steps to turn the province into a hub of information technology and transparency. Addressing the ceremony of Peshawar Civic Hackathon jointly arranged by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IT Board (KPITB) in partnership with Peshawar 2.0, Code of Pakistan, University of Engineering & Technology (UET) and The World Bank (WB).The chief minister said that during next period of six months to one year, no IT graduate in the province will be jobless as from right now they have more than 70 registered IT companies and with tremendous response the number will soon cross 100 companies. 

Provincial Minster for IT Shehram Khan Tarakai, Dean UET Dr Zahid Mehmood, Managing Director KPITB Siddiqullah, Director Marketting Shanaz Shaswar and other IT experts also addressed on the occasion who highlighted importance and various aspects of 3-day Hackathon aimed at speedy IT solutions.

The chief minister invited the youth of the province to take full advantage of the steps, facilities and policies of present provincial government and start their own IT businesses and thus create opportunities for investment and jobs to contribute in development and prosperity of this province and its people. He rejoiced that our number is significantly high, if we compare it with less than 400 companies in Punjab. Interestingly, the average age of IT companies in the province is relatively young and most companies are owned by entrepreneurs of age group 25-45. Many countries, he said, prefer outsourcing IT persons from Pakistan because they find them intelligent, hardworking and committed. He said that they provide their services at low price which enables us to bring in good investment opportunities in our country. This scenario is very helpful making more job opportunities available in the country and our province, he added.

“In order to improve the situation in our province and to address poverty, healthcare, education and wide range of additional civic needs, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is in need for such activities and is looking towards the ICT solutions for service delivery problems”, Pervez Khattak said adding that no doubt, such kind of competitions would help a great extent to reveal talent, innovations and hard work to crack today’s civic problems. 

The chief minister regretted that most of the developing countries including Pakistan have not developed the quality and pace of service delivery to the public and same is the case of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which he linked to lacking for strategy for service delivery, continuous improvement, precise management, effective operations and technology and discipline and standardization. He said that these and many more can be improved and developed using efforts like KPITB has arranged.

He said software development is a high growth industry and forms a major segment of the vast information technology market and will continue to do so in the future. A developed software industry with a focus on exports (in addition to the local market) would mean better employment opportunities, reduced ‘brain drain’, foreign exchange earnings, improvement in per capita income, and higher standards of living leading to a better quality of life. A developed local software industry will not only meet KPK’s own needs, but will also serve as a training ground for capturing export markets.

The chief minister said Information Technology has emerged as a top factor to change and revolutionize any economy. “It is the key enabler of change in today’s rapidly evolving business environment. IT revolution has brought tremendous changes in the life style of people in every part of the world. It has eliminated the geographical distances and due to advance communication facilities, the entire world can be viewed on a palm top screen by just a click of a button. The effective use of IT is an essential element of competing in a fast-paced, knowledge based economy”, he maintained.

He said economic history has witnessed transformation from Agriculture to Manufacturing based economies. A similar transformation is now taking place to knowledge based economy. I would say, the miracle has already been on its peak in most of the developed countries. Today ICT and automation are used in almost all fields of life and sectors like Education, Health, Banking, Businesses and Industry beside household usage. We are expecting 3G technologies in coming year that will help to bring billions of business to Pakistan.

An important challenge for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments is how to seize greater benefits of information and communications technology (ICT) for economic growth and development, how to computerize government departments, how to facilitate citizen by providing e-services/citizen services. “To facilitate both private and public sector, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has decided to further streamline its two bodies, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board and the Directorate of IT respectively”, he added.

He said KPITB has established two IT Parks in Peshawar and Abbottabad that are hosting about 71 companies. The 80% subsidies to these companies and free dedicated broadband for high speed connectivity are efforts and investments by government to make our province the hub of IT/ICT in Pakistan. In our own modest way, much of our effort towards building a knowledge-driven economy is focused on massive investment in e-government projects, investment friendly policies & incentives and e-youth strategies. In e-youth strategies, we are offering paid internships and subsidized trainings/certification to the youth of the province. We believe that an investment in today’s youth would yield the best returns in the not-too-distant future. The chief minister appreciated the KPITB, World Bank representative, University of Engineering and Technology and Code of Pakistan for organizing such a wonderful Civic Hackathon.

Source: The Frontier Post.