ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar gave orders for the closure of NADRA Technologies Limited (NTL), a subsidiary of NADRA, while members of the board of NADRA and other officials resisted the move.
NTL had been getting many lucrative projects internationally; however, transparency within the entity remained suspicious
NTL was set up in 2003 as a corporate body of NADRA with an aim to execute foreign projects and other revenue earning projects such as bill payments in collaboration with mobile phone companies. It was mandated to provide identity management solution to private, public, local and international clients.
According to sources NTL has been serving as an offshore account only. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) regime hired its associates through NTL when NADRA had a ban on fresh inductions.
Nowadays, NTL’s prime focus is bill payment mechanism and verification system given out to banks and other institutions where the credentials of Computerized National Identity Cards (CNIC) are verified. The corporate body earns a commission on verification for these facilities. According to sources, 400 people are currently working for NTL and it is financially quite stable.
NTL did not see much success in foreign projects; however, some of the directors had been enjoying luxurious travel abroad on its expenses. Since NTL was not a department working directly under government, many loopholes helped its officers to enjoy different perks and privileges while some government officials also benefited from its autonomy.
On the basis of the knowledge about the flaws of this company Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan gave orders for its shutdown. NADRA officials, resisting the move, presented the balance sheet of the company to the interior minister showing that the company has been earning Rs25 million per month from its projects whereas its expenditures stand at Rs18 million.
The officials also expressed concern for the future of NTL employees after its closure. The arguments, however, did not convince the minister.
In the present circumstances it is likely that either NTL would be closed down completely or it would be absorbed by NADRA.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2016.