Syed Aun Abbas, chief of the Information and Communication Technology, Research and Development Fund (ICT R&D) – an independent government body – is displeased over bureaucratic interventions in day to day operations of the fund and has emailed its board of directors that his resignation is a possibility, The Express Tribune has learned.
The Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT), in a circular available with The Express Tribune, directed Abbas and the heads of departments that come under its umbrella that all official meetings be “preapproved by the Secretary IT and reports be provided to the Secretary IT of those meetings”. Unpleased with the development, the CEO expressed serious reservations over the issue and proposed that the board members consider his resignation.
“Since the new management has taken charge earlier this year at the MoIT, the Fund has started to experience a number of issues that have significantly impacted the operations of the Fund,” Abbas wrote in his email to the board of directors of ICT R&D.
“If [the] above direction is accepted, the role of the CEO of the Fund would merely be that of an administrator who takes instructions from the Secretary IT – who [is] also the board’s chairman – on all implementation decision[s],” Abbas wrote. “After having experienced the dynamics over the last few months, I have lost any hope for improvement in this regard,” he added.
“I have also concluded that I will not be able to continue servicing the Fund for my whole tenure anymore and tender my resignation in front of the board for [their] kind acceptance,” he added.
He sought the board’s opinion and asked whether the mode of operation suggested by the MoIT is to be followed.
The board members, according to sources familiar with the matter, have suggested to Abbas to keep fighting the bureaucracy. “ICT R&D is an independent body and its chief has his own powers,” said a board member, who requested anonymity. However, resignation is not the solution to the present problems, he added.
“The CEO should resolve the issues by holding dialogues with the secretary,” the board member said. “He should take [a] stand and the board will back him,” he said, “in case of irregularities, the board members will back their chief”.
It merits mentioning here that in a similar development, joint secretary MoIT took additional charge of managing director of the Pakistan Software Export Board – a move that, according to spokesman Pakistan Software Houses Association Jehan Ara, brought the entire industry’s progress to a standstill.
The poor governance of the IT sector, as well as increasing bureaucratic interventions, were also reflected in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Information Technology Report 2012. Pakistan’s IT industry dropped by 14 points to 102 in a global ranking of 142 countries, the report said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.