Pakistan ICTs services exports increase in FY 2017-18

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Pakistan ICTs services exports increase in FY 2017-18

ISLAMABAD: The exports of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services and related sectors have registered a double digit growth of 14.5 per cent, surging to US $ 252 million during first quarter of this year.

During same period of July to September 2016-17, the exports recorded in this domain were US $ 220.2 million.

The statistics issued by State Bank of Pakistan have showed that local companies and startups related to Information Technology (IT) and similar sectors have continued to expand their market share in foreign market as value of exports recorded double digit growth.

Pakistani companies usually export ICT services to United States, Middle East and North African countries. Major heads of exports included software and hardware consultancy, telecommunication services, call center services and export of software.

In last financial year 2016-17, IT exports and related services touched nearly US $ 1 billion reaching an all-time high. It is expected that exports will cross the US $ 1 billion mark this year.

According to Pakistan Software Exports Board (PSEB), Pakistan's has been showing a healthy growth rate of IT & ITES exports in South Asia during the last three years. It grew by 71 per cent from June 2013 to June 2016.

In last financial year as well, Pakistan's IT and related services exports have grown at a faster pace than India and Sri Lanka. Pakistan's growth rate during 2016-17 was 16 per cent whereas Sri Lanka was at 5 per cent.

The statistics of IT services exports are usually labelled as remittances under IT sector but the industry strongly believes that overall exports are three times higher than the reported numbers which includes exports of services by freelancers and various IT services in different sectors such as financial and textile sectors.

Accordingly, the exports of IT and related services stand US $ 756 million by end of first quarter of 2017-18, which will likely to touch a mark of US $ 3 billion as per estimates.

In this regard, the central bank is working to bring IT companies and service providers on-board. It has designed a reporting structure of inflows that will help in increasing inflows of IT sector in future if companies follow this pattern.