Pakistan IT exports could reach up to $10 billion under new policy: minister

Caretaker IT Minister Dr Umar Saif is addressing event at a local hotel in Islamabad on November 23, 2023. — Ministry of IT and Telecommunication

Caretaker Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunications Dr Umar Saif has said Pakistan IT exports could reach up to $10 billion under the country’s first-ever IT Export Strategy.

Speaking as the chief guest at the launching ceremony of IT Export Strategy in Islamabad on Thursday, Dr Saif said that the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) under the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication (MoITT) in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), and other international partners, including faculty from the University of Oxford, developed this strategy which is closely aligned with our vision.

He further said that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is the only key open the door to stabilising and strengthening Pakistan’s economy.

The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) has a significant role in enabling the sector and removing departmental bottlenecks, the forum of the SIFC is paving the way for Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan, he added.

Highlighting the strategy to increase ICT exports, Dr Saif said that according to the official figures, the IT exports are $2.6 billion. “We will add another 200,000 skilled people to the existing IT workforce, which will 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.

The caretaker IT minister emphasised the strategy’s potential, presenting a vision that prioritises human resource development, capacity building, the implementation of a freelancers’ facilitation programme, a startup funding initiative, and the nurturing of a resilient IT ecosystem.

His comprehensive approach extends to the facilitation of business-friendly policies and international marketing efforts, ensuring a dynamic environment that propels the industry to flourish on the global stage.

Talking about the key points of the report Dr Saif said that this report confirms that there is a substantial opportunity for Pakistan to grow its IT/ITeS Export revenues to $10-$18 billion by 2028 and would make Pakistan a Global IT hub, with a commensurate increase in the Domestic industry to over $6 billion per annum.

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