Exploit IT potential

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SPEAKING at an event on Wednesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asserted that Pakistan has enormous untapped potential in the Information Technology sector, inviting foreign IT companies to fully explore the indigenous talented youth sector of country.

There is no denying that IT and related fields have assumed a central and enabling role in the emerging dynamics of a modern society and economy.

Pakistan’s startups and technology sector witnessed unprecedented growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021 was a record-breaking year, with technology startups raising $350 million, while Pakistani startups have raised $322 million in 2022 so far.

Another key component of the country’s technology sector is freelance work, where individuals provide technology services to global clients through platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr. This talent pool has experienced a tremendous increase in their earnings in recent years.

The country’s IT sector has emerged as the largest net services exporter in the country, with IT exports more than doubling from $1.19 billion in fiscal year 2019 to $2.62 billion in 2022.

But in our view our IT exports are just peanuts when compared with neighbouring India which is earning hundreds of billions of dollars alone from this sector.

We believe, political instability, inconsistent policies and the lack of understanding amongst government and public institutions is holding back the growth of this important sector which alone has the potential to address all our economic woes provided the right kind of interventions are made in it.

Robust restructuring of IT and other related sectors and their inclusivity in everyday governance will pave the way for not just modern governance but also a financially strong country.

Whilst the government is eying foreign investment in the IT sector, it is important to provide an enabling environment to the companies coupled with the incentives.

Then most importantly, the focus must be on producing more technically sound manpower in this diverse field that comes up to the expectations of IT-related companies.

Apart from gearing up the universities in this regard, we have to set up institutes which produce IT related manpower in a matter of a few years.