IT export growth needs policy continuity, incentives

IT export growth needs policy continuity, incentives

Pakistan’s IT exports surged to over $2 billion in the first 10 months of current fiscal year 2021-22 – the highest-ever export number for the said period.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) data, IT exports increased to $2.2 billion during July-April 2021-22, as compared to $1.7 billion in the same period of previous fiscal year, showing a growth of 29% (or $498 million) on a year-on-year basis.

“The growth in IT exports needs continuity of policy and incentives of the previous government in the present setup, which will generate long-term benefits on a sustainable basis,” said Rabia Azfar Nizami, a senior IT professional while talking to the media.

All stakeholders, including regulators and exporters, should review the current situation and adopt a unified line of action to achieve a realistic target of exports for the IT industry, she added.

She underlined that all the major “IT exporters are working under one umbrella in contrast to the previous situation when they worked separately without a long-term plan and goal”.

The country surpassed the $2 billion mark for the first time last year and exports would likely reach nearly $3 billion this year and are expected to touch $5 billion in the next fiscal year, she projected.

“Pakistan has immense potential to tap the developed markets in European countries,” noted Nizami, who has been associated with the IT industry for over two decades and is working as the country head at Jaffer Consulting.

“Countries like the United Kingdom (UK) and Denmark are popular for outsourcing various projects to the companies of different origins,” she said and added that Pakistan could capture its share in the IT market through providing high-demand services to foreign clients in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, blockchain, etc.

“Pakistani exporters usually work in specialised areas with a high price tag as compared to different countries with a common nature of business against low price tags,” she mentioned.

“At present, the industry is witnessing a gap between demand and generation due to shortage of required human resources in the country,” she noted.

“We have to work on skill development of the human resources to grow our penetration in foreign and domestic markets,” Nizami emphasised.

Karandaaz Pakistan Chief Risk Officer Ammar Habib Khan was of the view that “IT export growth has only started, and if the right incentives and digitisation initiative continue, IT exports will soon overtake the merchandise exports”.

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