Affordable Access

Mar 11, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka will seek to negotiate with international software vendors to try to bring down prices by up to half in its drive to promote information and communication technology business, a report said. Sri Lanka has recently been cracking down on software piracy after being ranked the second worst offender in Asia by an industry body but the government has also said it wants to make ICT more affordable to people. The government also intends to promote use of free software to improve ICT literacy and use among people and businesses, its new information and communication technology plan for 2011-1016 said.

The plan promotes the use of standard software with proper ownership like licenses and ensuring availability of quality software and hardware in the market at affordable prices.

The government will negotiate with “international players to get minimum prices for major operating systems, databases and utilities” with the aim of reducing present prices of software by 25-50 percent, it said.

The plan also proposes maintaining rates of taxes at the lowest possible level during the next six years to encourage the growth of ICT and business process outsourcing ventures which are emerging as an i