As compared to the present $2.8 billion IT exports, Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) has indicated an increase of $5 and $10 billion by 2020 and 2025 respectively. Although PSEB has projected such growth in the IT export, but it has been unable to provide any road-map to achieve the target yet.
Managing Director PSEB, Asim Shahryar Hussain provided a briefing about the IT exports at the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication. He stated that only ¼ of the foreign revenue out of the projected $2.84 billion is kept with Pakistan. The remaining amount is used to cover the financial state of international setups and marketing.
$200 Million Freelancing Exports Each Year
PSEB official declared the projected IT and ITaS exports to be around $661 million till 2017. Committee insisted on providing a road-map for achieving such objectives for IT export which PSEB failed to present.
On Tuesday, the committee had a meeting with Capt. (Retd) Muhammad Safdar.
The committee discussed the comparison of IT exports between the neighboring countries China and India where Pakistan lacks far behind. Moreover, PSEB explained the country’s image being the major reason behind low exports. However, the committee felt otherwise. Committee stated the following main reasons which are causing low IT exports:
- Capacity building
- Ignorance of commercial councilors abroad
- Lack of quality software
- Standard certification systems
The committee asked the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication for a performance report of commercial counselors. This report can be found in foreign Pakistani Embassies related to IT sector.
The committee further discussed the issue with Commerce Minister and directed to recruit trained and experienced officers in IT sector. In addition, the committee also said that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) estimated $561 million IT exports while the PSEB official stated it to be $2.84 billion. The specified reason of such difference is due to unregulated sector and companies not registering with PSEB.
Country’s First Ever Information Technology (IT) Park
The officials confirmed the country’s first ever state of the art Information Technology (IT) Park has been approved. Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) has permitted to establish the IT Park in Islamabad.
Although Pakistan is full with skillful IT potential and young talent but it has not been utilized to its potential. The reason behind it is the present improper infrastructure of IT sector.
The committee was also informed of the suspension of membership of AXACT Company from PSEB after its case. Committee was highlighted a high amount of money that was being stored abroad by AXACT’s remittance of $24 million per year. The committee was also informed about the growth in number of IT companies and call centers being registered. During the last three years, there has been 81.8% growth with an increase of 681 in 2013 to 1238 in 2016. The number of registered companies is projected to touch 1330 in 2017.
Chief Executive Officer, National ICT Research and Development Fund gave a briefing on the performance of IT sector. He stated that 60% out of 800 interns placed by PSEB got jobs during the period of 2014-16.
PSEB and National ICT R&D Fund have decided to place 3000 IT graduates as interns in 2017. These graduates would be placed in IT companies and IT departments of non-IT organizations to meet international standard in IT and Telecom Sector.