In 28 years Pakistan will be 100 years old, the country has undergone many changes in these years especially in terms of its economic condition. There have been constant hiccups after a few steady steps but times have started to change now. Some major developments have been observed in the last couple of years which have reignited hopes in the hearts of millions. The evolution of IT sector is one classic example of it. Whether it is emergence of online businesses, digital transactions, E- commerce or Entrepreneurship, numerous opportunities have emerged after the robust growth of IT in Pakistan.
According to the data updated by State Bank of Pakistan, the exports of IT and IT-related services increased to $1.090 billion in the financial year 2018-19 compared to $1.065 billion recorded in the financial year 2017-18, showing a modest year-on-year growth of 2.44 percent. This is the third consecutive record of the IT industry for attaining all-time high record. The country also achieved the highest value of IT remittances in the financial year 2018-19. The value of IT exports is considered as three times more than the remittances reported by the central bank, which means the overall number crossed the mark of $3 billion in the outgoing financial year.
Pakistan’s rising exports to IT and IT-enabled services reflect the growing potential of this sector and the impact it can generate in terms of revenue. Our IT based exports are mainly concentrated by 60 percent to US market. It is followed by European countries with 38 percent share and exports to Middle East’s countries stand at number three.
“In addition to exports, Pakistan’s IT sector has immense potential to grow at local level as well attracting investment and clients from different countries” said Umair Nizam, Vice President, ITCN Asia.
An impressive number of Pakistani IT companies are emerging over the period of one decade with the transformation of different technologies and sectors such as Cloud Computing, Ecommerce, and Mobile Broadband. Now technology has been upgraded with new areas of this sector including cyber security, augmented, virtual reality, machine learning, Internet of Things and etc.
Although the potential is immense yet more needs to be done. There is an immediate requirement for local companies to boost up their capacity through collaboration and integration to develop core strength at a national level. This shall not only attract clients from different countries but also help them to build a strong mark locally. Events like ITCN Asia could prove to be a catalyst in this regard. There is a dire need for such events which can steer intellectual discussions and help bring the entire ecosystem under one roof.
According to the experts, the business of local IT companies is gradually growing as many foreign clients are now increasingly visiting Pakistan due to the improved security condition. Not only big companies but a number of startups are also attracting investments and foreign clients of different countries for potential lucrative profits. This is indicative of the fact that IT could be one sector which could bring in multiple benefits for the economy.
However, this cannot be done in isolation, identification of important stakeholders and active engagement is crucial for a change to propagate. Ease of doing business should be encouraged so more number of creative and fresh minds can enter the field, Moreover, payment methods need to be diversified. The government should work out-of-box way to introduce a payment system to enhance the earning of IT exports through banking channel. These measures will expedite the export earnings in short-term. It won’t be wrong to believe that the IT industry is a gold pot for Pakistan at the moment, tapping it at the right time could enable us to transform the future for better and steer the wave of change in the right direction!