Pakistan IT exports potential set at $10 billion annually with millions of new jobs

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Pakistan IT exports potential set at $10 billion annually with millions of new jobs

The digitizing of the key segments of the economy could boost IT export to $10 billion annually, provide significant growth to GDP, attract billions of dollars of foreign direct investment (FDI), and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs within a short time, said Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) in its report titled, “OICCI Recommendations for Digital Economy.”

The report emphasized the much-needed shift required to capture the opportunity of Digital transformation happening within and outside Pakistan through a new economy mindset.

OICCI Digital Recommendations highlight the importance of the shift to skill development from academic degrees to ensure productive and effective participation of Pakistani talent in a new economy that is growing much faster and attracting capital globally. ------------------------------

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Highlighting the potential for the IT export, OICCI President, Haroon Rashid, commented, “Whereas IT exports from Pakistan are only $1 to $2 billion; the Philippines – with half the population of Pakistan – exports IT services of about $30 billion, India’s IT exports are over $190 billion and many other Asian countries are also well ahead of Pakistan.”

He said that this should be a cause of great concern to the authorities, adding, “But at the same time could be a motivational factor as Pakistan has great potential to boost its IT exports with focused short and medium-term strategy, and its delivery by the key stakeholders, as recommended in the OICCI Recommendations for Digital Economy report.”

The OICCI report further highlights the importance of stable and inclusive regulatory practices, to ensure effective participation of global players in the platform economy to attract FDI, make a significant positive impact on GDP growth, and also connect Pakistan to global e-commerce and create economic opportunities.

It has appreciated the Special Technology Zones (STZs) recently inaugurated by the PM, which hopefully will benefit the country in the medium to longer term. However, for immediate gains, OICCI has recommended the need to establish a digital mechanism to provide Ease of Doing Business coverage in Public-Private Partnership to bring 5-10 million sq ft space quickly in utilization through Virtual Authority.

The OICCI report highlights the FDI potential by creating an enabling environment for investment in the platform and high-Tech ecosystem so that Pakistan can attract global IT platform players and Venture Capital funding to accelerate innovation.

The OICCI Digital recommendations cover six key areas:

- Connectivity - Digital Financial System - Export Growth and Digital Skills - Platforms and E-commerce Ecosystem - Innovation & Regulatory Environment - Digital Governance and Citizen Services.

Other recommendations include the need to massively improve the quality and stability of connectivity by pushing fiberization drive in the country, accelerated focus on Digital Financial Services by removing existing friction, enabling the country to be integrated with global chains, and improved citizen and business services, through digital governance, which can help significantly in terms of service efficiency and image of the country. ------------------------------

With a highly improved security environment, duly recognized by independent sources, and very attractive operating cost, in terms of hard currencies, following the massive devaluation of the Pakistan Rupee (PKR), OICCI once again emphasized the need for sustained and structured efforts for improving the global image of Pakistan as an attractive destination for FDI, including for large international technology players.

The recommendations report was prepared under the auspices of OICCI by its member companies, including IBM, SAP, Teradata. These members actively contributed towards the development of these Digital Economy recommendations and offered to run one Integrated technology training program for up to half a million Certified Resources in Pakistan using global courses successfully being run in many advanced countries.