ISLAMABAD: Unwise government policies have proved detrimental for the country's computer industry, which is facing serious challenges to its survival.
Leading computer traders of the country on Saturday gathered in Islamabad to devise a strategy for launching a joint fight against the problems, which are getting worse by each passing day as the incumbent government is paying no heed to solve the issues.
The businessmen, involved in the local and international trade of computers and accessories, as a first step elected a new body of the Pakistan Computer Association (PCA) to launch afresh movement for their rights.
Addressing the oath taking ceremony of the body, the founding Chairman of PCA Munawar Iqbal said that the government would have to pay an urgent attention towards the industry otherwise the country will bear huge economic loss.
"The government policies and actions as a whole have damaged our business and we need to convince the authorities that they will have to take revolutionary steps to rescue this business," he said.
"The foremost is the issue of low-quality laptops that were distributed in hundreds of thousands of people by the Punjab government that badly affected the IT business vendors in the market and the laptop market came to a standstill," said Munawar.
Another important issue concerned the anomaly in the import policy of the government imposing zero percent GST on the import of Laptop/Desktop computers while charging the GST on the same component parts used by the local computers assembling industry, which lost its business.
"Although the PCA immediately took the matter to the higher authorities but no relief has been provided so far,”
Similarly, the government imposes no GST on the software’s if brought with an assembled Laptop/desktop from abroad but it is charged if software’s are imported separately, Munawar said.
There is a general trend of online download of software’s without having to pay any duty by the users, which is also badly affecting the software market.
"As per government’s policy, importers have to go through documentation to open LC through SBP after getting custom clearance and have to provide a copy of Airway bill as well custom clearance documents to the bank, while on the other hand software can be downloaded from the internet and no documents have to be provided."
The IT industry is paying huge revenues to the government on computers and software technology and yet being ill-treated and their demands are ignored by the Ministry of Information Technology (MOIT).
"The concerned departments never ask the stakeholders when framing policies for the information technology sector,”
Apart from these policy issues, said Munawar, the current political uncertainty has also contributed in the loss of revenue by computers traders.