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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology’s (MoIT) lack of interest has delayed the award of internship to nearly 400 information communication technology graduates across the country.

Approval for project’s implementation was accorded by a board meeting, chaired by State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rahman Khan, in November.

The MoIT and the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) launched the ‘National ICT Internship Programme’, in collaboration with the National ICT R&D Fund Company, with the aim of placing 800 internees in the ICT industry for four months.

In the first phase, the PSEB had awarded 400 ICT graduates four month’s internship in the year 2013-14, an official told Dawn.

Sources said that over 60 per cent of the 400 internees had already secured full-time employment in the ICT Industry. However, a few internees Dawn spoke to claimed that they had not been paid the stipend for the internships.

In view of the success of the programme, Ms Anusha Rahman – who is also the chairperson of the PSEB’s Board of Directors – had directed that the programme be continued.

But the National ICT R&D Fund Company has not given PSEB the go-ahead to continue the internship programme for reasons unknown. This has meant that the placement of the remaining 400 internees has been on hold since Nov 2014.

The PSEB and National ICT R&D Fund Company are private limited companies, each with its own board of directors headed by the IT minister. The board takes policy decisions, which are implemented by the company’s operational side.

The source said that the PSEB had requested the National ICT R&D Fund Company to allow them to continue the programme, but to no avail.

PSEB Managing Director Asim Hussain Shahryar told Dawn that the company was without its head and that delayed the implementation of the internship programme.

He said that a new chief executive was appointed in January and it is expected that the board would approve the project soon.

The project requires funds to the tune of Rs40 million.

“This is a huge sum which requires the approval of the ICT R&D Fund Company’s board,” Mr Shahryar said, adding that implementation might start from March.

An official from the MoIT, however, said that the ministry had nothing to do with the execution of the project. According to him, the ministry has already approved its continuation and there are procedural issues which are causing the delay.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2015

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