ISLAMABAD, Nov 23 (APP): Caretaker Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Dr. Umar Saif Thursday unveiled the nation’s first ever national IT Export Strategy to increase Pakistan’s IT exports, up to $ 10 billion in the next three years.
Speaking as a chief guest at the launching ceremony, he said that the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) under Ministry of IT and Telecommunication (MoITT) in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and other international partners, including faculty from the University of Oxford, developed the strategy closely aligned with the government’s vision.
The minister said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) was the only key that open the door to stabilizing and strengthen the country’s economy.
He said that Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) had a significant role in enabling the sector and removing departmental bottlenecks .
The minister hoped the forum of the SIFC would attract more Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan.
Highlighting about the strategy to increase ICT exports, Dr. Umar Saif said that according to the official figures, IT exports were $ 2.6 billion, the government would add another 200,000 skilled people to the existing IT workforce, which would increase exports to $ 5 billion.
Similarly, allowing IT companies to keep dollars (Dollar retention facility) will increase exports by one billion dollars, while the establishment of The Pakistan Startup Fund will increase the total volume of IT exports by another $ 1 billion to help it meet the target of $ 10 billion.
Dr. Umar called for the strategy’s potential, presenting a vision that prioritizes human resource development, capacity building, the implementation of a freelancers’ facilitation program, a startup funding initiative, and the nurturing of a resilient IT ecosystem.
Talking about the key points of the report, he said that the report confirmed that there was a substantial opportunity for Pakistan to grow its IT/ITeS Export revenues to $10-$18bn by 2028 and would make Pakistan a Global IT hub, with a commensurate increase in the Domestic industry to over $6bn per annum.
He further said this was particularly the case in five priority IT/ITeS market segments, and within those,12 priority sub-segments for the Pakistan IT/ITeS Industry which have been identified as having a combination of a high global market growth rate, significant global market size and a large part of the global market available to exploit as there are relatively few established players.
Additionally, an increase of activity, capacity, and capability of the IT/ITeS Industry will have spin-off benefits for associated industries and the economy at large – for example e-Commerce, Financial Services, or the provision of public services (e-Government).
Growth in Pakistan’s IT/ITeS exports will result from the global growth in IT markets, and to support this, the country needed to undertake a significant training and skills initiative over the next five years.
However, the Export market growth will be sub-optimal if the macro-conditions in the country are not also made more favorable – if this is not done, it is likely the level of ambition for IT/ITeS exports will not be met.
Zohaib Khan, Chairman of P@SHA, delivered a resonant message on the critical role of the IT industry in shaping Pakistan’s economic landscape.
He underscored the pivotal importance of industry participation, emphasizing how the report was meticulously guided by industry insights. Mr. Zohaib Khan also highlighted how industry collaboration is integral to the success of national projects and initiatives.
Gerard Newman, Study Project Director, a former senior partner of PwC UK, shed light on the significant opportunities for Pakistan’s IT/ITeS export revenues. He identified five priority IT/ITeS market segments with significant global market size and relatively limited competition, and the need for an enabling business environment to support the growth of the nation’s IT/ITeS industry.
The ceremony also featured a panel discussion with industry experts, addressing key aspects of the strategy, including challenges and the way forward.
The discussions emphasized unanimous agreement on strategies to remove current constraints and penalties inhibiting the industry’s growth.
The event was also attended by ambassadors of various countries.
The event underscored Pakistan’s commitment to elevating its IT/ITeS export revenues, aiming for substantial growth of over $10 billion annually in the upcoming years.