ISLAMABAD - March 31, 2015 - The honorable Minister of State for IT, Ms. Anusha Rahman, chaired the 29th meeting of the Board of Directors of Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) to assess the state of the IT industry of Pakistan and to evaluate the steps being taken to bolster long term growth of the IT Industry, to boost IT exports, and to attract investment for the IT Sector. All members of the Board of Directors attended the meeting including Secretary IT and MD PSEB. Private sector was represented by CEO Netsol and Chairman P@SHA.
The Minister stated that Ministry of IT has already declared the current year as “the Year of IT”. Hence, PSEB should focus on capacity building of IT companies and international marketing of IT products to further strengthen Pakistan’s IT sector. She said that capacity enhancement of IT the sector though public private partnership will certainly enhance the volume of IT exports. Initiation of CMMI certification program of PSEB will go a long way in improving the quality of IT companies and their products and services.
MD PSEB, Mr. Asim Shahryar Husain, apprised the board regarding recent achievements of PSEB starting with a 35% growth in IT exports over last year with a forecast of $500 million in IT remittances for 2014-15. He reported that the number of software houses and call centers registered with PSEB has increased by 12% during the first 8 months of 2014-15. He mentioned that PSEB had setup a Pakistan Pavilion for the first time in the history of Mobile World Congress 2015 in Barcelona where mobile apps companies of Pakistan demonstrated their expertise in design and development of mobile apps and games. Around 110 leads were generated from the event with an expected business value of $1 million. He also mentioned that a Saudi group is exploring the option of acquiring different IT companies of Pakistan and then taking them public through IPOs. PSEB is their strategic partner and roadshows will be organized in Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi in end of April for this purpose.
Minister of State for IT, Ms. Anusha Rahman, directed PSEB to explore new incubation projects on the pattern of Google’s TechCity, etc. which could be financed through SAARC Development Fund. The Minister further directed MD PSEB to concentrate on the CMMI certification project and that PSEB may train 5-6 auditors initially and then these auditors will audit and certify maturity level of IT companies with exports potential of $1 million a year or more.
The minister applauded PSEB’s efforts for reducing bandwidth tariffs by 35% for IT companies and hence reducing their cost of operations. The Minister directed PSEB that every project proposal must be submitted with clear timelines so that its progress and results could be monitored on a regular basis in order to get optimum results. She asked PSEB to focus on capacity enhancement of IT companies and directed PSEB to explore ways and means to help starts ups and young entrepreneurs. She further directed PSEB to launch capacity enhancement programs for IT companies which could prove to be instrumental in boosting IT exports of Pakistan.
ISLAMABAD - March 04, 2015 - Pakistan on Tuesday won “The 2015 Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award” for successfully auctioning spectrum for 3G/4G services in Pakistan in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands, April last year.
The awards was received by State Minister for IT and Telecom Anusha Rehman in the Mobile World Congress Conference, being held in Barcelona, Spain.
More than 1,200 key government and regulatory representatives from around the world are meeting with industry leaders to discuss specific regulatory issues relating to innovation and development of mobile communications. This year, the Ministerial Programme has attracted more than 160 delegations and international organisations, representing all regions. According to a press release from GSMA, the Government Mobile Excellence Awards, this year, comprised of two categories. The first was government Leadership and second was Spectrum for Mobile Broadband.
According to GSMA officials The 2015 Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award was presented to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, for its significant achievements in driving growth in the use of mobile services and maximising the socio-economic impact of the mobile industry in the country.
Since the auction, there has been a rapid uptake of 3G services, bringing significant benefits to consumers and the national economy and providing huge growth potential for industry players including operators, device manufacturers, application developers and distributors, the officials noted, adding, the rapid roll-out of 3G and 4G services is boosting growth and efficiency in all sectors including education, banking, media, health and retailing, as well as being a key enabler for innovative e-services such as e-medicine and e-education in rural and remote areas of Pakistan, the officials noted.
The Government Leadership Award 2015, was presented to the Government of Brazil and the Minister of Communications, Ricardo Berzoini, received it.
Brazil was awarded in recognition of number of policy approaches adopted in 2014, which, underpinned phenomenal growth in the broadband subscriber base and have led to Brazil having the highest proportion of 3G connections in Latin America, the release said.
While announcing the award, GSMA officials highlighted both countries commitments in the sector.
“The governments of Brazil and Pakistan have demonstrated a clear commitment to putting mobile at the top of their digital agendas,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “We encourage administrations from around the globe to be inspired by their achievements and adopt similar best practice measures in order to encourage greater mobile industry investment, support innovation and increase the provision of mobile services for their citizens,” he added.
According to officials of Pakistani delegation, State Minister for IT and Telecom, Anusha Rehman while accepting the award on behalf of the Government of Pakistan said that the award was an indication of the global community reposing its trust in the Telecommunication Sector policy practices of the Government of Pakistan.
In a short span of 6 to 8 months, after the launch of 3G/4G service, the mobile broadband subscriptions for 3G stand at around 10 million. The Spectrum auction for next generation mobile services has not only enabled the people of Pakistan to gain access to mobile broadband services and be at par with rest of the world in terms of mobile broadband technology but has also successfully encouraged investment in mobile networks in Pakistan, Rehman said in her key note address.
She added that her government has accorded highest priority to the development of ICT infrastructure and applications for the provision of quality services, education, employment generation and women empowerment.
The awards were presented as part of the GSMA’s annual Ministerial Programme at Mobile World Congress. More than 1,200 key government and regulatory representatives from around the world are meeting with industry leaders to discuss specific regulatory issues relating to innovation and development of mobile communications. This year, the Ministerial Programme has attracted more than 160 delegations and international organisations, representing all regions. The 2015 Ministerial Programme is sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services.
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.
Anusha Rahman Khan is leading a delegation of Pakistan at the annual GSMA Mobile World Congress. She is accompanied by Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Managing Director Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB). According to Ministry of IT officials, besides other bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event, Rehman also participated in the Ministerial Roundtable on “Digital Inclusion - Role of e-Government” and shared her plans with the global technology and policy leadership on utilising the concept of E-governance for good governance and for ensuring all inclusive socio economic opportunity for the people of Pakistan through affordable and innovative ICT services. Ministry of IT has also facilitated PSEB for setting up fist ever Pakistan pavilion at the mobile world congress showcasing Pakistan expertise in IT sector. The Pakistan pavilion attracted lot of attention from visitors.
Affordably and effectively replace manual attendance management with a Robust Solution at 20 different locations in 11 cities of Pakistan.
The manual, paper-based attendance management system in use by Kidz N Kidz was insufficient for the growing needs of their Human Resource. Kidz N Kidz required a turnkey, automated solution to simultaneously track and audit employee time & attendance, at 20 different locations in 11 cities of Pakistan.
Proposed Solution: TimeTrax-Cloud based HCM Software & TT-PT7 Biometric Fingerprint Devices
After evaluation of a variety of HR Solutions and vendors by Kidz N Kidz, they were impressed by the interface, user-friendliness, intuitive nature and wide-ranging features offered by TimeTrax. Keeping in mind the HR challenges faced by Kidz N Kidz, the eAttendance module and TT-PT7 Biometric Fingerprint Devices of the TimeTrax were proposed by the HR Consultants at EfroTech:
Selecting the TimeTrax Solution immediately resolved several issues that were hindering their workforce productivity. With TimeTrax - The Intuitively Managed Employees' Tracking system - Kidz N Kidz has experienced great benefits, ranging from true attendance picture at each outlet, elimination of buddy-punching and most importantly relief to HR personnel from tedious task of gathering and compiling branch-wise attendance data. Thus allowing them to take the organization towards its true HR potential.
They are maintaining employees' late arrivals & early departure details conveniently & completely. Issues in managing employees’ attendance have been eliminated. They have got centralized attendance management in place for 20 remote branches, in 11 cities throughout the Pakistan.
Commenting on implementation of the TimeTrax HCM Solution, Javed A. Rahat (Manager Finance & Accounts/I.T) notes,
“We got TimeTrax cloud-based eAttendance software along with a reliable TT-PT7 Biometric Fingerprint Devices few months ago for our time & attendance management, we approached several companies but eventually we decided to go with TimeTrax the best among the rest and rightly so. It is an amazingly smart and easy-to-use Solution that is adaptable and affordable for any business. Most impressive of all is their customer service, they continue to provide quick support when needed, now Kidz n Kidz has gained true visibility into the entire staff and tracking over 200 employees at 20 different locations, in 11 cities across Pakistan. As per our need rises we are highly convinced to take remaining modules of TimeTrax since it is a complete HCM Software for any company and a highly recommendable too.”
eAttendance Module from the TimeTrax-Cloud based HCM Software
TT-PT7 Biometric Fingerprint Devices
TT-Cloud 2.0, ASP .Net Framework 3.5,
Crystal Reports & Microsoft SQL Server 2005
Barcelona, March 4, 2015. Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the biggest telecom event of the year and is happening in Barcelona, Spain from March 2nd to 5th this year. Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), an apex body of Ministry of Information Technology, has setup a Pakistan Pavilion with leading mobile applications companies of Pakistan at the exhibition. “For the first time in the history of MWC, a Pakistan Pavilion has been facilitated and setup by the Pakistan Government. IT companies are showcasing their expertise in mobile applications development through demos of their different mobile apps such as retail mobile apps, health care mobile apps, games, mobile cash and self-care applications.
Minister of State for IT, Ms. Anusha Rahman receiving the GSMA Spectrum for mobile broadband Award 2015 at Mobile World Congress Barcelona Spain.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Information Technology, Mrs. Anusha Rahman Khan, said that “MWC is the biggest telecom event of the year for telcos and mobile apps companies. This is the first time Pakistan set up a pavilion displaying expertise in Pakistan in the IT sector and we will inshaAllah setup an even bigger pavilion in 2016 with more participation of the IT companies of Pakistan. Talking about the ministry’s vision, Mrs. Khan said, “Our vision is to put in place an accelerated digitization ecosystem to enable socio-economic development, to expand knowledge-based economy and to spur the economic growth. I invite IT investors and customers to consider Pakistan’s IT industry for investment and outsourcing at substantial cost savings for the same IT service quality and standards as in other countries and to capitalize on the economic growth in the local economy.” The Pakistani Pavilion attracted a good number of foreign visitors and it is hoped that the exhibition, which will run till March 5th, will create significant awareness about Pakistan’s IT and mobile apps industry.
Mr. Friday C. Ndhlovu, Managing Director, Investrust Bank, shared some of his observations during a Business Recorder interview about working with AutoSoft as a Pakistani company and explained why the Bank had chosen AutoBANKER over so many other solutions available.
January 12, 2015
BR Research: Investrust Bank and AutoSoft Dynamics have been working together for two decades. How did a Zambian bank and a Pakistani IT company come to establish such a long-term and persevering relationship?
Friday C Ndhlovu: In the 1980s I was working as the managing director of the largest bank in Zambia. After a change of government caused upheaval in that government-run institution, I left that position and went on to establish a new bank. Thus we established the Investrust Bank in 1995. As we were establishing that bank, we recruited a managing director who in turn introduced us to Mr. Lutfullah Khan whose company had developed a software solution for banking.
In the early days, the bank's funds were limited and we had to be quite careful in our allocations and expenses. We were convinced in favour of the software because it encompassed workflows of the various banking operations, it was already working well for other banks in Zambia and Yemen and was also relatively inexpensive. Since that time our relationship has evolved and strengthened.
The relationship has not always been easy. Over the years there was some pushback from stakeholders within the bank who did not feel that working with a company based in Pakistan was the best alternative due to the security and political risks. As the bank grew and our requirements also scaled up and changed, AutoSoft was consistently able to deliver. I firmly believe that we made the right choice then and over the years AutoSoft Dynamics has worked consistently to help us meeting all emergent challenges.
BRR: It is well established that the cost of production in Pakistan is generally low. Is that the single most important determinant for working with AutoSoft Dynamics?
FCN: We have studied various other banking solutions over the years and have compared their strengths and weaknesses to our existing solutions. Although most banking services are more or less uniform across the international market, each institution has unique internal processes and work flows. In our experience, any IT solutions provider that sets out to provide a solution for any banking operations must first comprehensively understand these processes, requirements and scope. Only after thoroughly internalising these can they provide an adequate software solution for the bank.
But the world's leading enterprise software solutions are not specifically tailored for an institution or even for the banking industry as a whole. The implementation of those solutions would mandate the bank to change its internal processes instead of being customised to suit these work flows. Trained, experienced and affordable resources here in Pakistan enable us to automate operations tailored to our business needs.
BRR: Tell us about the size and business scope of the bank and the industry in Zambia.
FCN: Investrust Bank has 26 branches and a workforce of about 500 personnel. We are a local bank with a capital of about $20 million and we are experiencing strong growth in recent years, offering a gamut of services from retail and corporate to leasing and trade finance, etc. We are managing a portfolio of close to $1 billion at this point in time. Banking penetration is relatively low in Zambia as about 60 percent of the adult population has bank accounts. The total population of Zambia is about 15 million people, similar to the population of Lahore and its suburbs put together.
Banking penetration in Zambia is on the rise and various industries are exhibiting strong growth. Both Investrust Bank and AutoSoft Dynamics have been able to capitalise on this growth through our mutual relationship. As such, they have been able to expand their clientele in Africa while we have also been able to acquire more business from Pakistani firms and individuals. Overall there are great business and investment opportunities between Zambia and Pakistan.
BRR: How do you view the growth of Islamic banking in Zambia?
FCN: In Zambia, the banks are generally willing to lend at high rates; generally a nominal rate of 24 percent as compared to inflation levels around nine percent. That is a considerable spread as compared to here in Pakistan. Islamic banking is now legal and the regulator has listed requirements for the industry. About 10% of the population is Muslim and we believe there is appetite for Islamic banking there, because of its emphasis on asset backing. The economic profile of Zambia and Pakistan is similar and the mushroom growth of Islamic banking here is inspirational for its potential back home.
BRR: Experience in Pakistan versus the prevalent perception.
FCN: Although my association with this country has spanned over two decades thanks to AutoSoft Dynamics, this is my first visit to Pakistan and it has given me a whole new perspective on this country and the people that live here. It is a beautiful country with splendid weather and great people. There is poverty here but overall the conditions here and generally much better than the prevalent perception. The infrastructure in and around Lahore, Islamabad, Muree; places I visited, is also well developed. I came in as a stranger and I am going back as an ambassador of Pakistan.
BRR: Tell us about your own career path and the genesis of AutoSoft Dynamics.
Lutfullah Khan: AutoSoft Dynamics was established in June 2000, but was derived from a predecessor by the name of Automation Software Services. I had been working with BCCI and when it closed down; I inadvertently became an advisor to the liquidators on all the bank branches which became banks when BCCI shut down. I had been working on the concept of a solution that would help us replace the much more costly proprietary hardware that was running at these banks at that time. The idea was pitched to a couple of banks in Yemen and Zambia.
Upon completion of AutoBANKER, developed using UNIX and COBOL, we offered it to clients in Zambia and Yemen. Initial licenses were signed with Union Bank of Zambia and Yemen Commercial Bank whereby the system offered its clients core retail banking, with subsequent modules covering various optional functionalities.
In 1994, I joined Prime Commercial Bank (PCBL), a Lahore-based institution as Executive Vice President with a clear understanding from the Bank that Automation Software Services would continue to provide services to its overseas clients. The bank at the time decided to take the AutoBANKER IT system, and also took all AutoBANKER related modules as those were developed. Overseas Clients of Automation Software Services ie UNION Bank Zambia, Investrust Bank Zambia, Yemen Commercial Bank Sana'a and Watani Bank for Trade and Investment, Yemen, also continued to take services from our team.
In 1998, AutoSoft Dynamics was initially conceived as a joint Collaboration project with Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz Family (owners of National Commercial Bank Jeddah and also sponsors of PCBL) to be formed with a US $1 million capitalisation. It was agreed that NCB would eventually outsource its software support to AutoSoft in Pakistan. The project never however materialised due to the take-over of NCB by the Saudi Government.
In 2000, we decided to start the operations of AutoSoft Dynamics and the operations of Automation Software Services were merged with AutoSoft Dynamics and on July 1, the company signed PCBL as his company's first customer. 18 members of the bank's IT team joined AutoSoft to form the initial team of the Company.
An architecture was adopted which capitalised on cost effective scalability that cutting-edge technology made possible. AutoBANKER IT was created as a centralised system based on N-Tier architecture thus requiring minimal branch deployments while allowing banks to perform real-time reconciliation across a large number of branches.
BRR: Tell us about the range of IT solutions offered by the company and its impact on banking industry as a whole.
LK: AutoSoft's product suite automates both simple and complex processes for banks. Simple tasks include opening accounts, issuing cheque books, checking balances, processing deposits, transfers and ATM withdrawals. More complex automation provided by AutoSoft includes trade finance (import, export and export refinance activities) and treasury automation (foreign exchange, money market and corporate office transactions). Additionally, modules that automate administrative tasks such as human capital and fixed asset management are also part of AutoSoft's offering.
Aside from conventional banking products, AutoSoft has a strong portfolio of products catering to the fast-growing USD1.5 Trillion Islamic Banking industry. Islamic banking products are based on distribution of profits and losses of investments as opposed to interest based computations in conventional banking. Islamic Banking products require highly specialised processes and transactional workflows that must be compliant with Islamic jurisprudence (Shariah). AutoSoft was one of the first banking software automation companies to develop and deploy a fully Shariah compliant product suite.
AutoSoft 's management and core development team have decades of experience in the local and International banking industry and its Automation. AutoSoft provides its clients a full spectrum of products and services that cater to meet the ever-changing needs of the financial services industry.
At this time, its systems are being used in 13 National and seven international financial institutions in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The company has been profitable since its inception and at this time, AutoSoft's solutions have over 1000 banking site installations and are used to support over 2 Million banking customers and transact a deposit portfolio of more than Rs265 Billion and an advances portfolio in excess of Rs125 Billion. The company houses over 120 employees with offices across three major cities of Pakistan.