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Digital Pakistan making headway

  • Govt must make youth to tech-savvy workers to achieve Digital Pakistan goal

Pakistan’s Information Technology (IT) sector has a huge potential and is progressing as well. IT have a special role to play in the growth and development of a country simply because of its significance in every sector. No sector can operate and grow without progress in the IT sector. There is no doubt that IT and digital economy present new opportunities in all the sectors of an economy and in coming months, we will see a lot of new initiatives. Today, Pakistan’s economy is undergoing fundamental changes mainly because of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) compliance wherein documentation of the economy is going on. Information Technology has a vital role in the documentation of the economy and matters related to FATF. That is why we observe rapid development of information technology sector across Pakistan. In recent years, the dynamics of the development of IT sector and business development opportunities based on the use of Internet technology (4G in particular) have enabled the growth in the IT sector in Pakistan, which in turns is creating new economy or we can say a digital economy.

World economy has changed due to the development and application of the technology. We see, business are forced to survive where the global market is full of competition and they have to diversify their products and services continuously because technology products have a short life cycle. In terms of the digital economy, information technology creates opportunities for specialization and cooperation between companies from different sectors by reducing transaction costs, creating ease of access to the foreign markets and facilitating the development of new models of electronic business.

Federal government is trying to document the economy and it cannot be achieved without the support of the information technology. Hence, there is an importance of information technology in the economy hence a lot of opportunities are currently being offered by the technology to the consumers thus they will have a quick and easy access to the global market. A lot of work is going on in the software sector, but due to various limitations, freelance IT experts are facing difficulty in getting their payments. In this respect, the State Bank is also offering new solutions with the support of the banks and DFIs. Pakistan can attract billions of Rupees in investment and foreign exchange, if the software sector has an easy solution in getting their remittances from abroad.

Once Pakistan converts its economy into a digital economy, the usage of information technology will then provide business with new opportunities to access global markets and will also help developing business activities online. The full realization of these potentials is essential for new companies in Pakistan which will help them competing and creating a competitive advantage globally. Digital economy has a significant implication in business transformation and creation of new digital businesses across the board. Moreover, digital economy offers great opportunities for small and medium enterprises, which are the backbone of Pakistan’s economy.

With the advent of rapid digitalization, many developing countries like Pakistan are focusing on the digital economy. The digitalization of a country’s economy not only drives innovation in its service industry, but it also creates domestic job opportunities, which resultantly enables faster economic growth. In the quest to lower costs and risks, many large corporations in the developed countries like the US, UK and Australia are turning to IT outsourcing to under-developed countries including Pakistan, thus leading to a recent boom in freelancing. Freelancing jobs include everything from computer programming to web design, tax preparation, and search engine optimization etc. This has generated a wide range of new opportunities for young people in Pakistan that did not previously exist. Asia has become the number-one region for providing outsourcing services to the rest of the world and Pakistan is among the top few countries where young graduates are trying to get work from other countries.

Freelancing offers many advantages, including the freedom to choose clients and projects, access to the global market, and flexibility over location. Consequently, freelancing has become a popular career option for many Pakistani people, offering a new and flexible source of income that suits their lifestyles. The rapid digitalization of Pakistan including easy internet access in urban areas and government and non-government initiatives to promote freelancing has contributed to the recent growth of the country.

Different countries focus on different sectors of freelancing services. For instance, technology and software development is mainly dominated by Indian freelancers, but Pakistan is also fast progressing. It can increase its global share if it gets a much needed support from the government institutions. Government initiatives to develop the IT service sector, such as creating a high-tech park, coupled with the low-cost workforce, can made Pakistan a key player in the global outsourcing market. Nevertheless, several challenges hinder the growth of this industry in Pakistan. High cost of electricity is an issue which is affecting the overall economics of the IT sector. A lack of quality internet services, along with higher broadband prices, is another major problem for freelancers in rural areas. In spite of having broadband connections in some areas, freelancers often find it too slow to suit their work. The lack of an easy payment system especially for receiving payments from the foreign clients is yet another problem for this fast-growing industry.

Pakistan is one of the few countries in Asia that has a huge youth population. This vast, young and strong human resource, however, is still lacking in the knowledge necessary to thrive in the competitive global market. Although freelancing as a career has gained popularity over the last few years, thousands of Pakistan’s young people are in need of proper training and government support to help them take advantage of this opportunity. The government should focus on turning unemployed young people into tech-savvy workers and engage them in IT based freelancing. In this way, the government of Pakistan can attain its goal of translating the vision of Digital Pakistan into a reality by focusing on human capital development for the global digital economy.

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