Statistics identified that Pakistan, which has about 60 percent of its over 200 million population in the 15 to 29 age group, represents an enormous human and knowledge capital. The country has greater than 2000 IT firms & call centers and the number is growing yearly. It is also identified that the country has also greater than 300,000 English-speaking IT professionals with expertise in current and emerging IT products and technologies, 13 software technology parks, and more than 20,000 IT graduates and engineers being produced each year coupled with a rising startup culture.
In accordance with Pakistan Vision 2025 and the Digital Policy of Pakistan 2018, the experts recorded that the ICT industry size is targeted to reach $20 billion by 2025. No doubt, the country has not only braved the fatal strains of the Covid-19 pandemic but has also emerged more formidable by the turbulent year-and-a-half. Both the ICT sector and the regulator worked as enablers alongside the government of Pakistan, facilitating the management of Covid-19 and supporting economic recovery.
Statistics showed that the country’s IT sector is exporting products and services to the world’s largest entities in over 120 countries. Furthermore, it is also identified that the IT export remittances fell by 0.3 percent during the first quarter of the current fiscal year 2022-23 and remained at $633 million as against $635 million during the same period of the last fiscal year.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) data shows that IT exports remittances fell by around 10 percent on a month-on-month (MoM) basis in September 2022 and stayed at $206 million as against $228 million in August 2022. On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the sector exports remittances declined by almost 5 percent as against $215 million in September 2021. ICT export remittances, counting telecommunication, computer, and information services, reached an all-time high of $2.616 billion, a growth rate of 47.43 percent in the fiscal year 2021-22 as against $2.108 billion in the fiscal year 2020-21.
The Government of Pakistan stated in the past that the IT exports target of $5 billion would be attained through June 2023. Sources recorded that the government of Pakistan is taking all possible measures to ensure a long-term IT sector growth trajectory and improve this sector’s exports to $5 billion by 2023.
Greater than 6,000 Pakistan-based IT companies were offering IT products and services to entities in over 100 countries. Strong incentives are being offered to this sector, and there are various projects intended to facilitate and assist the sector in its growth trajectory and to ensure continued upward momentum in local and export earnings.
Statistics also showed that the first month of this fiscal year (2022-2023) was great for Pakistan’s IT export sector as it earned $199.100 million through offering dissimilar IT services in many countries largely comprising of Freelancer payments. This shows a growth of 1.58 percent as against the $ 195.996 million earned by the provision of services during the corresponding period of the last fiscal year 2021-22.
During the first month, i.e. July, computer services increased by 5.77 percent as they surged from $150.456 million the previous year to $159.140 million during July 2022. The Computer services exports of software consultancy services recorded a fall of 27.40 percent, from $0.219 million to $0.159 million this year while the export of hardware consultancy services however rose by 8.77 percent, from $53.830 million to the $58.551 million
Pakistan’s ICT sectors are expected to continue getting this growth as it already has registered remarkable growth over the past decade, boasting an average annual revenue growth rate of 20-30 percent. Sources recorded that digital technologies could create up to Rs9.7 trillion ($59.7 billion) worth of economic value yearly in Pakistan by 2030. Over the last decade, Pakistan has emerged as one of the fastest-growing IT exporters in the world. It is one of the few industries that provide tangible benefits to the country without importing anything. In the Fiscal Year, 2022(FY22) Pakistani IT sector made a record-breaking remittance in this sector of $2.616 billion, shattering the records of all the last years. The previous year’s revenue from this sector of Pakistan was $2.108 billion, which has risen by 24 percent this year. The Government of Pakistan has set a target of $5 billion for the next year, FY2023.
The government holds massive plans for the upcoming years for this sector of Pakistan. The government official reviewed that the catastrophic floods had compounded the complexity but the Government of Pakistan was confident that through prudent strategies, the challenges to Pakistan’s economy will be overcome. The government also appreciated the interest of Pakistani-American tech entrepreneurs in strengthening Pakistan’s IT sector.
Pakistan’s IT sector is now a well-organized destination in the global IT sector for outsourcing and investment. IT resources in Pakistan are obtainable at almost 70 percent annual savings when compared with Europe or North America. Pakistani IT companies have expertise in different IT services including high-end, enterprise grade software development, systems integration, mobile apps, gaming, animation, consulting and BPO services like telemarketing, technical support, medical transcription and billing. Pakistan’s IT exports have grown exponentially over the last 5 years with a growth of 137percent.
In the last, I would like to mention here that Information Technology has assumed an enabling role in the emerging dynamics of a knowledge society and knowledge economy. It is a key lever of economic development. This sector has a promising future, brimming with talent, and the potential to become the largest export industry in Pakistan.