Enhancing IT exports

MINISTER of State for Information Technology and Telecom Anusha Rahman has said that the IT Ministry is rigorously pursuing accelerated digitisation and is committed to increasing IT exports to $10 billion by 2020 through dynamic and vibrant policy measures. Chairing a meeting of Pakistan Software Export Board, she said that the Government has created an enabling environment for the IT industry and small and medium enterprises in the information technology sector.
No doubt, the Government has been trying to provide enabling environment for IT sector to grow and these included tax exemptions, investment on creation and augmentation of relevant infrastructure, encouragement for innovations and above all announcement of Digital Pakistan Policy. The IT Sector has shown improvement and it fetched about $1 billion in export revenue but there is universal consensus that this is peanut if seen in the backdrop of what our neighbouring country India has achieved in the field, which earned $108 billion through documented software exports in 2016 besides additional $20 billion of undocumented exports. We have a Software Export Board and a full-fledged Ministry and they must have introduced revolutionary ideas to increase IT exports as this is need of the time in view of falling overall exports, increasing imports and yawning trade deficit that has rung alarm bells among different circles in the country. Unfortunately, instead of identifying real causes we are hiding behind the excuse that IT exports are under-reported and that most of the money is parked abroad. The Ministry and the Board should have brainstorming sessions with experts and stakeholders for thorough analysis of the situation and suggest measures for meaningful increase in IT related exports. The target of $10 billion for the next three years is itself not ambitious as the country has the potential to earn much more in view of IT infrastructure and abundant availability of highly qualified manpower.

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