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National Assembly Approves NITB Autonomy Bill

Date: January 14, 2022 Author: Web Desk Category: Market Short URL Comments: 0

The National Assembly has passed the National Information Technology Board (NITB) Bill, which would not only enable the Board to harness the latest solutions ICT’s have to offer but would also induct and mainstream these technologies in the processes of the federal government while promoting the integration of digital technologies across the country.

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication moved the NITB bill in the national assembly that was passed with a majority.

Ministry of IT welcomed the development stating it will promote and accelerate the process of digitization including e-governance in a transparent and effective manner.

The Bill was presented by the Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque on Thursday in the National Assembly, which was passed with a majority of votes.

Talking to ProPakistani, the Minister for IT and Telecom said that the Government of Pakistan gives high priority to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector as an enabler of socio-economic development.

The core objective of the establishment of the National Information Technology Board in 2014, through the merger of Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB) and Electronic Government Directorate, was to create an organization with the technical capacity to promote and integrate ICT programs across the Federal Government.

However, its existing structure (as an attached department) hampers its ability to harness the latest technical expertise, skill sets, and work experience required to deliver on its mandate. The mandate in itself has been long due for reconsideration as well, keeping in view the evolving nature of ICT technologies.

The reorganization of the NITB (as an autonomous body) would not only enable harnessing the latest solutions ICTs have to offer but would also induct and mainstream these technologies in the process of the Federal Government while promoting the integration of digital technologies across the country

It is expedient to provide for the establishment of the National Information Technology Board for e-governance across the country in line with the vision and policy of the Federal Government to serve the public in a more effective and efficient manner through due advisories and consultancies and provision of e-governance software applications to Federal Ministries and divisions including their attached departments, subordinate offices, and autonomous bodies so as to focus on cross-cutting e-governance applications and initiatives that can be replicated across multiple public organizations for better government to government and government to Citizens services and communication, and for matters connected therewith and ancillary thereto?

The composition of the Board will consist on

a. Federal Minister of the division Concerned (Chairman)

b. Secretary of the division concerned (Member ex-officio)

c. Secretary, Finance Division (Member ex-officio)

d. Secretary of the division to which business of Science and Technology Stands allocated (Member ex-officio)

The CEO (NITB) shall be answerable to the Board for all administrative, fiscal, and Technical matters of the Board. The Board may delegate such administrative and financial powers to the CEO for carrying out day-to-day affairs of the Board as it deems necessary.

The Ministry of Information and Technology had earlier asked the federal cabinet to issue an executive order for running the affairs of the National Information and Technology Board (NITB). The NITB has already been declared an autonomous body by the Cabinet. However, the NITB Ordinance lapsed on April 19, 2020, whereas the bill was pending legislation.

In the interim period, legal cover for NITB’s continuation as an autonomous body with an independent board was required through an executive order.

The NITB is providing e-governance services to all Federal Government divisions and departments. These include government to government services, government to business services, government to citizen services, and government to employees services.

In addition to this, the NITB is also responsible for developing standards for ICT services, cyber security, ICT procurement, IT capacity building of federal government employees, building collaborative platforms, and also the provision of consultancy services to federal government divisions on governance.

The federal minister for information and telecommunication in his statement said that the government of Pakistan gives priority to the information and communication technology sector as an enabler of socio-economic development.

He said the core objective of the establishment of the National Information Technology Board in 2014, through the merger of Pakistan Computer Bureau and Electronic Government Directorate was to create an organization with the technical capacity to promote and integrate ICT programs across the federal government. However, its existing structure hampers its ability to harness the latest technical expertise, skill sets, and work experience required to deliver on its mandate. The mandate in itself has been long for reconsideration as well, keeping in view the evolving nature of ICT technologies.

Syed Amin Ul Haque said through this act, the reorganization of the NITB would not only enable harnessing the latest solutions ICT’s have to offer but would also induct and mainstream these technologies in the process of the federal government while promoting the integration of digital technologies across the country.

National IT Board Act 2021 states that it is expedient to provide for the establishment of National Information Technology Board for e-governance across the country, in line with the vision and policy of the federal government, to serve the public in a more effective and efficient manner through due advisories and consultants and provision of e-governance software application to federal ministries, and divisions including their attached departments, subordinate offices, and autonomous bodies so as to focus on cross-cutting e-governance applications and initiatives that can be replicated across multiple public organizations for better government to government and government to citizen services and communication and for matters connected therewith and ancillary.

According to NITB ACT 2021, the Federal Minister of the concerned division will be chairman of the board, whereas the finance secretary, secretary of the concerned division will be ex-officio members of the board. Secretary of the division to which business of ex-officio science and technology stand allocated will also be a member of the board.

The CEO NITB shall be answerable to the board for all administrative, financial, and technical matters of the organization. Board is empowered to delegate administrative and financial powers to CEO for carrying out day to day affairs of the organization as it deems necessary.

The NITB aims to address the operational challenges of all government departments and Ministries. NITB specializes in key automation, design, development, and implementation of robust IT technologies to promote the e-governance culture in all public departments and holistically develop plans, technologies, and infrastructures to boost the performance of the public sector.

Source: Pro Pakistani