A glimpse of the global recognition of the capabilities of Pakistani IT experts can be seen at the Asia Pacific Information and Communication Alliance Awards held in Hong Kong, where Pakistani IT companies won eight major awards for their performance last year. , these include one Gold and 7 Merit Awards.
According to the World Bank report, “42 percent of Pakistan’s freelancers are related to software development, and this constitutes 10.5 percent of the global number of freelancers associated with software development.” Which is more than Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and many other South Asian countries.”
How have the last few years been for Pakistan’s IT sector?
Kashif Hussain, a researcher associated with the Pakistan IT industry, writes in his research article Adjusting Pakistan’s Tech Sector Priorities, “With an overall growth rate of 30 percent, Pakistan’s IT sector has grown by 178 percent during the last five years, which is very unprecedented.” It is minor.
In terms of growth rate, it has overtaken all other local industries, including textiles.”
According to a report titled ‘Pakistan Eye Industry Overview’ published by the government agency Pakistan Tech Destination, “Pakistan’s IT exports were $655 million, which has grown to an impressive $2.1 billion over five years.” During this time, the number of registered IT companies in the country increased from 395 to 2826.
“According to the report, “Pakistan wants to reach a trillion-dollar IT sector by 2025, and if this journey continues with a growth rate of 15 percent, the target can be easily achieved.”
Mohammad Shoaib Aslam, in charge of industry affairs at Pakistan Tech Destination, told DW Urdu, “Pakistan’s IT exports in December were $303 million, which is 22.67 percent higher than $247 million in December 2022.
This is an indication that the journey of growth is continuing.”
It should be noted that the Pakistan Engineering Council has declared this year as the “Year of IT,” which was announced by Chairman Najeeb Haroon a few days ago.
What is the secret of Pakistan’s rapid growth in the IT sector?
In his article above, researcher Kashif Hussain considers the changing international trade situation after the Corona epidemic to be the main reason for the rapid growth in Pakistan’s IT sector.
He writes, “Pakistani’s historical development in IT was due to the restrictions imposed during the Corona epidemic when most of the affairs started to be done online. In such a situation, the youth gained fame and quickly turned to the IT industry, which not only increased the number of freelancers in the country but also developed the sector.”
Director of Quaid-e-Azam University’s Institute of IT Studies, Dr. Adeel Anjum, while talking to DW Urdu, says, “Most of the global companies did not need full-time employees after Corona.
Online work has also become meaningless as to who is sitting where. Then we have no shortage of talented youth who could do better work for less money. This is how they made their place in the market, and the credit goes to freelancers. In a way, he discovered this market. There are currently around 1 million IT freelancers in Pakistan, who earned over 200 million US dollars in foreign exchange between July and December last year alone.
What steps are being taken by the Pakistani government to promote the IT sector?
The volume of IT exports in Pakistan is 2.6 billion dollars, and the supervising Federal Minister of Information Technology, Dr. Umar Saif, has expressed the expectation that these exports will cross the five billion dollar limit in the next five years.
According to him, 200,000 km of fiber optic will be laid this year to bring 5G to Pakistan.
For the convenience of freelancers, ten thousand e-employment centers will be established where facilities will be available for one million freelancers.”
Shoaib Aslam explains, “The government is setting up various facilities, opening a bank account for freelancers was a problem which fundamental changes are being made to solve. Negotiations are underway with networks like PayPal.
Our organization has now started registration of freelancers and companies related to the IT sector with a fee of just 1000. In return, we are providing them with insurance.”
Continuity in government policies and political stability are indispensable for the development of IT.
IT expert and writer Ali Moin Nawazish tells DW Urdu, “We suddenly introduce a new policy in a sector from which investors and artisans back down in frustration.
An investor has to do business and needs a favorable environment. If you don’t, he will go elsewhere. For example, the policy is that IT exports will not be taxed; suddenly, FBR will issue a notice asking freelancers to pay tax. After some time, the old policy will come again. How is sustainable development possible in such an environment?”
“We are still outsourcing a lot of work,” he says.
We have to build big IT companies, which requires good research centers, training, and more skilled people in this field.”
Kashif Hussain writes, “Political stability is the most important and paramount condition for the development of the IT sector, which will improve the country’s image and facilitate foreign direct investment and trade.”This is the main objective of the ‘Special Investment Facilitation Council,’ but political stability is indispensable for all this.”