ISLAMABAD - Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) has congratulated Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif for procurement of 100,000 laptops fully in accordance with PPRA rules.The Rs 4.5 billion contract was signed between the government of Pakistan and Haier China, Monday, for supply of laptops under Prime Minister’s Youth Programme (PMYP). Meanwhile, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, chairperson Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, held a meeting with a delegation of Haier Pakistan, comprising Khalid Afridi COO Haier Pakistan, Tristan Wong, GM Haier Computers, along with MD PTV.During the meeting, Maryam directed the visiting delegates from Haier Pakistan to install local laptop assembly plant in Pakistan in order to cater to the development vision of Prime Minister Sharif under Prime Minister’s Youth Programme. She highlighted that the local assembly of the IT equipment and laptops would play a key role in the development and use of ICT in education, research and human and social development of the country.The laptop product coming out of the local assembly line will have label saying “assembled in Pakistan”, whereas the same Haier model which is currently imported will be produced locally having same quality standards. The local assembly though is of small number but this would certainly act as a seed initiative for the IT manufacturing industry.It is expected that the government’s intent to continue this project for next four years, as per the original plan, would help achieving the overall objectives and larger benefit of the nation. For this purpose, a summary has already been forwarded to the prime minister through the chairperson PM’s Youth Programme.Though the concept is approved in principle, once the project for next four years is approved, the project will open up a new avenue towards full-fledged local assembling of IT equipment and flourish IT industry at large, but also have significant economic impact.Local assembling, which is expected to expand towards manufacturing, will contribute towards GDP and the re-export of the IT equipment out of Pakistan would bring significant economic impact as well as convey soft image of Pakistan internationally through a product labelled as “made in Pakistan”.In the long run, the overall per unit cost of laptops is expected to decrease substantially and so will help leveraging ICT for socio-economic development of Pakistan. Local assembly line will help in knowledge and technology transfer; job creations; manufacturing of some components locally; or may be Silicon Industry in Pakistan someday.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 06-May-2014 here.