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April 22, 2021

Pakistan sees record registration of IT firms

Business

April 22, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has seen the largest-ever number of information technology companies registered during the current fiscal year, a top official said on Wednesday.

Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) Managing Director Osman Nasir said the PSEB is extending maximum facilitation to the IT Industry in order to enhance exports of IT products and services from Pakistan and ensure holistic IT industry growth.

“The multipronged efforts are bearing fruit as the number of IT companies registered with the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan has surged to over 10,000. Fiscal Year 2020-21 witnessed the largest number of IT company registrations, with 2,826 companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan,” Nasir said in a statement.

“This performance is especially laudable in view of the global economic slowdown, demonstrating the resilience of Pakistan’s IT industry ecosystem.”

PSEB MD said Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore have become Pakistan’s major tech hubs leading IT industry’s exports growth. The next phase of Pakistan’s IT/ITeS growth would come from focus on secondary and tertiary cities of Pakistan. PSEB’s office in Quetta would follow an all-inclusive approach for laying the foundation stone of rapid industry growth in the province which would generate sustainable economic growth and job opportunities, he said. Work is also in advanced stages to setup Software Technology Parks in Quetta, Faisalabad, Bannu, Swat, Sukkur and Khairpur in the first phase. Pakistan’s ICT industry export remittances, including telecommunication, computer and information services have risen to $1.298 billion at a growth rate of 41.4 percent during July – February of FY 2020-21, in comparison to $917.840 million during the July – February of FY 2019-20.

The attached department of ministry of IT and Telecom, would be setting up a dedicated office in Quetta soon for the development of IT industry in Balochistan.

The IT sector in the country has shown substantial growth in the last few years. The country’s exports of IT related services have grown by 40 percent in the last six months only. The State Bank of Pakistan proposed changes to the existing foreign exchange regulations regarding borrowing from overseas in a bid to facilitate those fintech and startup companies that intend to invest in the form of convertible debt instead of directly as equity.

A new type of loan may be introduced to meet the specific needs of startup companies keeping in view the issues they are facing in raising capital, in the form of convertible debt, from abroad under current regulations. A company may raise funds from abroad in the form of convertible debt i.e. the lender shall have the option to convert the loan into equity of the borrowing company, subject to the terms and conditions.