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Pakistan’s IT sector hits spotlight in UK

June 13, 2019

LONDON: Pakistan is emerging as a preferred source of software developers, programmers, designers, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) specialists and ranked third most financially attractive location in the world for offshore services, a diplomat said.

“We are a vibrant economy of 220 million consumer market with 64 percent young population and a rapidly digitising and an ever-growing appetite for technology and innovative services,” Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, High Commissioner to United Kingdom, said while speaking at "Tech Pakistan 2019 Initiative, the next big opportunity".

The high commissioner in collaboration with Seers Digital Group and Retail Direct Group, took this initiative to formally represent Pakistan at London Tech Week, an annual feature that attracts 55,000 tech-loving people, with a social media outreach of 297 million.

Zakaria highlighted that global enterprises like Bentley, Ciklum, IBM, Mentor Graphics, S&P Global, Symantec, Teradata, and VMware had established consulting services centers, research & development facilities, and BPO support services centers in Pakistan.

“There were more than 6,000 IT (information technology) & allied companies currently registered in Pakistan,” he added. Pakistan, he said, was ranked third most popular country for freelancing in the Online Labour Index published in July 2018 by Oxford Internet Institute (OII).

The high commissioner said Pakistan's IT sectors had a promising future, brimming with talent and with a potential to become the largest export industry of the country from currently $3.5 billion to $20 billion.

"So make a move today to claim your share in the windfall that awaits you,” he remarked. He also highlighted Pakistan’s incentives for IT industry like tax holiday for venture capital funds till 2024, zero income tax on IT exports till June 2025, income tax exemption to Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) registered IT startups for three years, with no or minimum withholding tax, incentivising entrepreneurship and innovation in the country.

Besides this, Zakaria said there was 100 percent equity ownership allowed to foreign investors with 100 percent repatriation of capital and dividends. He said Pakistan’s startups were gaining international recognition and investment, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) businesses were driving innovation, economic growth and job creation.