As per estimates, half of computers in Pakistan are those old/refurbished/discarded computers that are dumpmed from European and US markets. These 500,000 computers that are imported each year in the country, hurt local industry and also creates environmental and health hazards – but at same time, they are blessing for common people who are able to use the technology at affordable cost.
Either to buy such computers or not, was discussed in a round table discussion called “Cost effective or technology defective” held in Islamabad yesterday.
The speakers from both public and private sectors gathered on the occasion to deliberate on the hazards of used/old computers and its plus sides.
Panalist for this discussion included
Sidra Iqbal – Moderator
Zainab Ansari – CEO, Xenith PR
Ashar H. Zaidi – Country Manager, Intel Pakistan Corporation
Asma Aziz – Marketing Programs Manager, Intel Pakistan Corporation
Mudassar Hussain – Director Telecom, Ministry of IT
Naeem Siddiqui – Executive Member, ICCI
Zubair Kasuri – Editor, Flare
Umair Satti – Editor, Ibex
Khushnood Aftab – CEO, Viper Technologies
Irfan Ahmad – COO, Anadigi Systems
Representatives from computer manufacturers, obviously, voiced against the idea, backed by some facts such as used computers are health and environment hazardous, moreover they consume more electricity; these computers come without warranty and so on.
However, question remained unanswered on how to bring down the cost of new computers in order to make them affordable for a common person, whose budget is already tightening with time. Questions were raised on why computer manufacturers do not invest in Pakistan for assembly plants in order to make new computers less pricey. Or maybe they can get a recycling plant in Pakistan to refurbish computers that comes from abroad to make it health, environment and electricity friendly.
Representatives from computer manufacturing companies revealed that these dumped computers (also termed as e-waste) are shipped to countries like Pakistan, because it is inexpensive to export them instead of dumping them in Europe or US.
It was interesting to learn that USA and European vendors actually pay used computer importers (from Pakistan) for shipping this e-waste out of their countries.
It was discussed that Intel has introduced a low priced computer, which is actually not anywhere near to the price of used computers. It merits mentioning here that Atom based Intel computer that costs Rs. 12,950 contains 80 GB hard disk, 512 MB Ram and built in processor on motherboard with clock speed of 1.5 Ghz, that’s not the Celeron, but shopkeepers suggested that its speed equals 1.6 Intel Celeron. Moreover, monitor display is not included in Rs. 12,950.
While on the other side, you get P4, with 2.8 Ghz clock speed, 1 GB ram and other similar specs system unit (without monitor display) is priced at Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 7,000.
Evidently, used computers are half of the price, then why one would go for new computers – unless he is not incentivized with better cost.
Panelists discussed that used computers come with no warranty while new computers offer 3 years warranty, which was quickly responded by another panelist that he has been using a used computer for five years that he had purchased from Hafeez Center Lahore.
Conclusively, I would say, computer manufacturers should understand the ground reality that people of Pakistan won’t compromise over the price – moreover, they need to know that there are plenty of families living upon the business.
They need to invest something in order to bring in the money and job opportunities and furthermore to cut the cost of new computers down.