Hiring of IT staff by 753 local units to create jobs

Published On: January 24, 2018 07:00 AM NPT By: Kushal Basnet.

Each IT officer to receive minimum Rs 40,000 salary per month 

KATHMANDU, Jan 24: Local governance units across the country are hiring information technology (IT) officers of late, creating a wave of job opportunities in this sector which had long been seeing low manpower demand. Job announcements for IT officers are frequently seen in daily newspapers as almost all the 753 local units are hiring at least one IT officer on contract. 

This unprecedented demand has come after the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) on November 3, 2017 directed the local levels to do the hiring. Each local body is to hire at least one IT officer. But the local units won't incur any extra financial burden as MoFALD is to foot their remuneration under its regular Local Governance and Community Development Programme (LGCDP).

MoFALD officials said  MoFALD has allocated a budget for the purpose. There are 753 local bodies in the country. The IT officers will be crucial in making the services of local units more effective through better record keeping, among other things, said MoFALD officials.

“IT officers are being appointed by all local units across the country as part of  LGCDP,” said Purushottam Nepal, joint-secretary at MoFALD. “IT officers are important for digitizing services, maintaining transparency, and managing information exchange amongst the local bodies,” said Nepal adding that the new hiring will set the ground for IT-friendly local governance. 

According to MoFALD, the IT officers will get a monthly salary of Rs 40,000, excluding allowances like remote area pay. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in Computer or Information and Communications Technology or related subjects are in demand.

Officials of some local units Republica talked to on Tuesday expect that the mostly young IT officers hired will help to convert to paperless digitized services that are quicker and more effective.

“Although financial support from LGCDP is temporary, we expect a positive impact from this program on our office work,” said Naindra Raj Rai, chief administrative officer at Khangsang Rural Municipality in Sindhuli. “Almost all the IT officers at our office are IT illiterates. Having a properly qualified  IT officer would ease our  work by eliminating most of the paperwork.”

Meanwhile, IT experts have appreciated the efforts of MoFALD and the local units to create jobs for individuals with  IT qualifications.

“IT is an emerging sector and hiring in numbers would encourage young people,” said Rajan Raj Panta, an IT specialist and former controller at the Office of Controller of Certification under the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

“The benefits of having an IT officer are clear. Such expertise can revolutionize service delivery,” added Panta. According to officials of the ministry, a pilot project, Municipal Administration and Revenue System (MARS), was introduced in some local units in the capital and this will be extended across the country in the near future. 

“MARS, which was previously launched in Kathmandu, will soon be extended to other local units as well,” added Nepal. 

Binod Dhakal, former president of the Federation of Computer Associations of Nepal (CAN Federation), said offices cannot operate without the use of computers but added that he was not excited by the new hiring. “It depends on how the implementation of IT is done,” he said.  

Madan Dhungana, an IT officer associated with a software company in Kathmandu, said this is a big opportunity for the sector. “But I suspect the unclear job description may put off some  IT people,” he added.

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