Sunday September 24, 2023

Govt eyes $3bln from freelancing IT exports by 2024

By Our Correspondent
September 05, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government on Saturday forecast the freelance IT sector’s export revenues to touch $3 billion mark in next three years.

"The federal minister for IT (Syed Amin Ul Haq) set the target of $3 billion in export remittance inflows from Pakistani IT/ITes freelancers in next three years and asked to prioritize all possible measures to ensure sustainable growth of gig economy in Pakistan," said a statement issued on National Freelancing Conference 2021 organised by Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB).

Pakistan's current freelance market consists of more than one million individuals working in various specialized fields. Various reports from different sources have ranked the country quite high in terms of the growth of freelancing individuals as the industry can offer lucrative earnings at times.

They are well-integrated into the global gig economy. In fact, at the global level, Pakistan is host to the third-largest number of freelancers working on the most popular web platforms for contractual jobs.

Pakistani freelancers are spread across various fields like content management, search engine optimisation, social media management, creative design, and website development, etc.

Most of the projects received are through websites like Upwork, Fivver, and PeoplePerHour, which offer gigs and projects for freelancers to work on. Other individuals also work on a temporary or part-time basis with international as well as local clients. Minister Haq said freelancers were playing a pivotal role in the growth of the IT sector and their issues were being resolved on priority.

The conference was aimed at obtaining feedback on the National Freelancing Facilitation Policy draft from Pakistan’s leading freelancers and associated stakeholders.

The conference obtained input from all stakeholders on the National Freelancing Facilitation Policy to work towards measures that would help Pakistan become a gig economy powerhouse, the statement said. The policy, officials said is aimed at facilitating freelancers. The minister said connectivity is very important for freelancers and his ministry is "taking every possible step for provision of broadband services both in unserved and underserved areas of the country”. He also urged women to come forward in the field of freelancing.

Pakistan’s exports of information technology grew by 47.4 percent to cross the $2 billion mark for the first time in the country’s history in FY2021. In absolute terms, the IT exports reached $2.12 billion in 2020-21 as against $1.44 billion in the preceding year.

The government had offered several incentives in taxes and procedures in the budget 2021-22 to encourage IT exports.