IT Industry Conference: PITB Chairman expresses hope for “IT CPEC”

IT Industry Conference: PITB Chairman expresses hope for “IT CPEC”

LAHORE: (APP) Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board Dr Umar Saif on Thursday said another 'CPEC' of IT was coming to Pakistan in the next few days during Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif's visit to China.

He said this while briefing the media about the fourth Roundtable IT Industry Conference, arranged by the PITB here at the PITB office.

He said there were so many Chinese IT companies in contact with Punjab, adding this was the industry which could provide the national economy with opportunities for further growth.

Umar said after more than 150 meetings with different IT companies of Punjab and other provinces in the last six months, the PITB had formed an IT policy with the consultation of all stakholders.

"India has an IT industry worth $164 billion, while that of Pakistan has far less worth. There are so many opportunities for development of this sector in the country giving a boost to the national economy," he added.

This roundtable, by launching the first nation-wide IT census, would prove to be a significant step in the history of Pakistan's IT sector development, he said.

Dr Saif announced the commencement of the census drive, wherein the first-phase data would be collected from more than 3000 IT companies, 2,500 partnerships and sole proprietorships, 750 startups and more than 5,000 freelancers.

Dr Saif said the IT census would provide reliable and verifiable data to help make accurate projections.

The PITB chairman announced the establishment of IT advisory committees to provide a formal role to the industry, academia and other stakeholders in policymaking. Under the umbrella of IT advisory committee, five different committees were being set up with different agendas including IT Census Committee, Industry-Government Liaison Committee, Academia-Government Liaison Committee, Digital Advocacy Taskforce and Human Resource and Capacity Building Committee.

The PITB partnered with Pakistan Stock Exchange to introduce small cap IPO regime for startups to raise investment from the market.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the PITB and Pakistan Stock Exchange to provide a platform for startups listing for Initial Public Offerings (IPO) for raising investment from the market for those who had funds up to the tune of Rs 20-200 million.

As many as 120 chief executive officers (CEOs) of leading IT companies, vice chancellors representing the academia and notables, attended the meeting and provided support to these initiatives with their presence at the day-long roundtable conference.

Prominent among them were Asif Peer, CEO Systems Limited, Salim Ghauri, CEO Netsol, Nighat Dad, Executive Director of Digital Rights Foundation, Salman Ansari, CEO at Technology Consultants, Imran Moinuddin, Founder and CEO of NexDegree, Faisal Shuja Khan, CEO Ovex Technologies, Dr Fazal Ahmad Khan, VC of UET and Dr Rukhsana Kausar, VC LCWU. The moot concluded with Q & A session.