ISLAMABAD: Exports of information technology and related services surged around 39 percent during the first five months of the current fiscal year, ministry of commerce said on Wednesday.
In November, IT and IT-related services exports increased 51 percent year-on-year, this was informed during a consultative meeting of the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood with the ministry of commerce.
“Ministry of commerce is actively engaging in a dialogue with the stakeholders of the IT sector for promotion of the IT sector exports,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Pakistan is the new destination for startups venture capital as youth are engaged in entrepreneurship and geared to find innovative solutions. Growth in domestic market will further ramp up exports in the coming quarters.”
The commerce ministry didn’t disclose the actual number of IT exports. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics also didn’t segregate exports of IT services in a separate head in its latest data for the July-November period.
Pakistan holds one of the world’s largest freelancing community and as independent contractors people provide knowledge services abroad and receive remuneration that is mostly accounted as remittances. Since remittances and IT exports are exempted from income tax, there seems to be no need of dividing the inflows. But, it may be important to build IT ecosystem and devise IT sector-focused policy.
The central bank said the ministry of commerce has already facilitated enlisting more than 30 exporters on the world’s leading online marketplace Amazon.com on a trial basis. On a successful completion of the test-run, this will provide an opportunity to more domestic firms to sell via Amazon and expand their outreach to global markets.
“This could potentially open a new avenue for Pakistan to increase its exports and create new employment opportunities locally,” the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said in annual report of the state of economy. “Going forward, the cross-border B2C ecommerce regulatory framework developed by the SBP and the web based one customs ecommerce module that is to be developed by the FBR, will help facilitate online sales of exporting firms by allowing hassle-free documentation and shipment of export orders.”
The British American Tobacco recently agreed to set up its business shared services organisation hub—the BAT global business services for Asia Pacific and Middle East Region—in Pakistan. This will serve as a talent incubator and will give boost to Pakistani IT exports. Business shared services are a specialised form of business process outsourcing.
The meeting was informed that the National Ecommerce Council has held three meeting so far to ensure enabling environment for ecommerce. During the meetings, challenges faced by the private sector are discussed with all the relevant government institutions with regular follow-ups.