Bureaucratic procedures may prevent Pakistan’s participation at Gitex Dubai

October 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm 16 comments

Up until now the Pakistan IT industry believed that our government did not realize the importance of the ICT sector. Unlike other countries in the region and elsewhere in the world, our government is unable to recognise that the IT sector delivers across a wide spectrum, hence ‘silo’ mentality treatment is inappropriate. We thought they were oblivious to the fact that IT not only brings in revenues and provides well-paid employment to young people, but is also responsible for the improved efficiency of all other business sectors, of education and healthcare institutions and of government.

This week we have realized that a few things that the industry relied on the government for, are also being withdrawn due to idiotic bureaucratic procedures.

One event that the Pakistan IT industry has been participating in for 10 years is Gitex Dubai. Companies  have found that it is a great place to showcase their work, network with potential customers and partners from the Middle East and Africa and pick up business. The Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) has subsidized this participation each year.

Yes there are last minute hitches now and again and complaints are lodged about inefficiencies in arrangements and business matchmaking sessions but overall it has been an activity that has helped several companies in growing their businesses.

The process of shortlisting companies for this year’s Gitex took place a couple of months ago and companies sent in cheques amounting to Rs. 1.4 million to PSEB toward their participation. They then embarked on creating customized collateral for the event, fixing up meeting pre and post event and booking airline tickets and hotel rooms (anyone who has been to Gitex knows that this needs to be done well in advance).

On Friday participating companies were informed that all these weeks of preparation might be for nought. Apparently the PSEB which we are told has been set up to promote and increase the IT exports from Pakistan has not yet had their budgets for the year approved. They have been functioning on self-sustaining funds generated through the sale of fibre optic connectivity while they wait for the funds to be released.

Participation in Gitex would not have happened if not for the PSEB MD getting permission for the Federal IT Secretary to use the existing funds towards this event. This could then be replenished once the budgets were released. Okay so the problem seemed to have been sorted out, right? Noooooooo. The PSEB then had to apply to the Ministry of Finance so that it could purchase dollars to pay for the stall space at Gitex. The Ministry of Finance is not in a mood to grant that permission or is at least dilly-dallying over it until the extended deadline for payment has passed. Remember Gitex takes place Oct 17 – 22, 2010 in Dubai  so we are already well behind in terms of payments.

If the Ministry of Finance does not give PSEB the clearance to purchase dollars today, participation in Gitex will not come about. Companies will not only have tied up their funds for this period of time, they will also have wasted money and time preparing collateral, booking tickets, hotel rooms and arranging meetings.

Can we appeal for good sense to prevail and for the Ministry of Finance to grant the permission PSEB needs? As it is PSEB has not been able to run most of its programs – apprenticeship, internship, CMMI, ISO, training programs etc because of the delay in the release of the budget. If the government really does not think that this organization needs to operate, and is of any benefit to the industry, then why does it exist?

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16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Yaser  |  October 4, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    what a waste…..

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  • 3. Faisal Rahim  |  October 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    This is unfortunate!!

  • 4. Zohaib Khan  |  October 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    By not participation in GITEX, there is a big loss of selected IT Companies who are selected to participate in GITEX Dubai and ICT Industry of Pakistan. …

  • 5. Irfan Suleman  |  October 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    miserable PSEB…

  • 6. Raza Zaidi  |  October 5, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Finance Ministry Would Have Commented On MoIT / PSEB & Co. “Lack Of Planning On Your Part Does Not Constitute Emergency On Our Part” 🙂

  • 7. Asif  |  October 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Just an out of the box thought.

    Blink Blink

    Times have changed. The route to growth as an industry is no more via Gitex or alike.

  • 8. Sayyed Paras Ali  |  October 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Any update about PSEB participation in GITEX?

  • 9. Raza  |  October 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Anyone has any update on what happened further ?

  • 10. Yaser  |  October 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    good news, PSEB takes itself out of her misery and cancel’s the trip.. they could have waited till the day of the exhibition

  • 11. farzal  |  October 10, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    what is the update on this?

  • 12. Abu Hamza  |  October 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    So, is PSEB/ PASHA going to GiTex?

  • 13. Yaser  |  October 18, 2010 at 10:18 am

    i dont think so. some of the companies might have gone to Gitex on there own but not through PSEB

  • 14. Abu Hamza  |  October 18, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Its confirmed. No official presence of Pakistan at Gitex. What a shame.

  • 15. Nabeel A. Qadeer  |  October 27, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Well Jehan Ara, I was at GITEX for the entire 5 day event. There was no presence of any Pakistani company, at least not that I could find any.

    In my humble opinion, GITEX is a great place to be for any IT enthusiast. I have been visiting as a Conference Delegate for three years now, and the event never dissapoints me. Its a great place to interact with people who love technology, and considering “Business meets IT” is my area of interest, I get to find the best minds there to discuss things with. Interestingly enough, I also got the opportunity to speak as a make-shift speaker at one of the conferences at the event this year. ‘Was a great experience!

    I think, we need to create more awareness about the importance of GITEX to our IT sector, if not in the government than at least in the general public in some way or the other interact with technology on a daily basis.

    Not seeing the “Green & White” camp was quite a dissapointment. If I can be of any assistance in the process of getting things done more effectively for next year’s event, feel free to let me know.


  • 16. Raza  |  October 28, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Nabeel, You should have visited us in Sheikh Saeed Hall right next to Nokia Ovi Store … But i agree there were hardly 2-3 companies from Pakistan at max !

    We have been exhibiting for 2 years now and this year we decided before hand to go out of Pakistan pavilion and exhibit independently.

    Incase any IT/software company needs advice on how to go about doing things at Gitex and ROI, feel free to contact me.

    I would even suggest, that companies can pool together to form a pavilion for Pakistan even if government is not spending it.

    We can’t and should not wait for government to do things ! Let’s do it ourselves !

    Small album I uploaded of the trip, look at how beautiful pavilions each country had:



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