Gates’ welcome offer

IN a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and American business magnate, has expressed interest to invest in the IT and health sectors of Pakistan. The assistance extended by Gates Foundation for eradication of polio in Pakistan is well known and everybody welcomes it. As a result of this assistance as well as the one extended by the WHO and some other friendly countries, Pakistan has been able to reduce significantly its polio cases and one expects that the world institutions will be more forthcoming to achieve the long cherished goal of polio-free Pakistan.
Gates’ letter is also significant in the context that he has also expressed interest to invest in the Information Technology sector of Pakistan, which if materializes, will undoubtedly help Pakistan emerge as a major IT player on the world map. In fact the country has a big potential in this sector. Over the last few years, the IT related exports of the country have increased significantly. According to the data of State Bank of Pakistan, exports of IT and IT-related services increased to $1.067 billion in the financial year 2017-18, as compared to $939 million recorded in the financial year 2016-17, showing a double-digit growth of 13%. These exports can be multiplied if companies such as Microsoft invest in the development of IT sector. Before coming to power, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf also had launched its national digital policy with a vision to transform Pakistan into a knowledge-based economy making IT the top contributor to the country’s exports and job creation. As our country is struggling to push up its exports, IT provides the best platform to give a major impetus to the exports and earn valuable foreign exchange. Just in our neighbourhood, India is earning over 100 billion dollars a year alone from IT-related exports. Therefore, our authorities concerned need to explore opportunities of foreign investment in this important sector and fully facilitate the companies be it the Microsoft or any other. Entry of Gates into Pakistani market will give a major boost to the IT sector in Pakistan and also give confidence to other investors to invest in different sectors of the economy.

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