ISLAMABAD, Feb 5: Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) failed to achieve the target of increasing exports by at least $50 million in 2004-05, an official source told Dawn.

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication had assigned certain goals to the board and one of the major targets was to increase the country’s export by at least $50 million during 2004-05.

Though the PSEB bosses claimed that the total exports through IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES) from July 2004 to May 2005 were $44.73 million, there were no details to substantiate this claim, the source said.

The board is only quoting $44.73 million from the State Bank figures showing it as its own performance, the source said, adding that without company-wise break-up of the total exports, the board’s contention could not be accepted.

On the other hand, a PSEB spokesman said they had achieved 98 per cent of export targets during 2004-05 and that the export figures of IT and ITES received from the SBP data were reliable, as the bank provided the details of export earnings of only those IT companies registered with the board as exporters.

However, the government officials still believe that the bureau had furnished a misstatement to the government showing “fake” performance.

The bureau failed to achieve the target, the source said, due to mismanagement, highly-paid contractual appointments at higher level without given target or job description and lack of maintenance or complete database of IT companies and internal control.

Established in 1995, the board was charged with the task of accelerating growth in IT and ITES without replicating what other countries had done.

The board’s role was to adopt the best practices from the successes of others and tailor these to suit ground realities in the Pakistani marketplace.

The significant elements of the PSEB strategy include offering innovative incentives to the strategic foreign partners and approaching multinationals, which already have significant presence and investment in Pakistan, by focussing on selected areas of outsourcing like accounting, insurance claims processing and medical billing/records.

The goal also includes supporting the domestic software industry by encouraging government and other entities to outsource software projects to local companies and strengthening academic research and development with emphasis on linkages with industry and defence.

The global paradigm shift from customized solutions towards use of pre-packaged software implies that Pakistani companies should look at developing products as opposed to looking for projects that involve custom software development.

The failure on the part of PSEB shows that its top management is more interested in securing their contracts and foreign trips than showing results through hardwork, the source said.

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