ISLAMABAD: The export of services grew nearly six per cent in the first five months of 2022-23 on a year-on-year basis mainly on the back of IT sales.

The country achieved this growth at a time when the exports of commodities have been in decline for many months, according to the latest data compiled by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

In absolute terms, the value of export of services reached $2.8 billion in July-November from $2.74bn a year ago.

In November, the export of services was up 14.04pc to $650.01 million from $569.99m last year.

The export of services grew 17.2pc to $6.97bn in 2021-22 from $5.94bn in the preceding year. The services export target was set at $10bn while that of commodities’ export was $35bn for 2022-23. The highest-ever growth in IT-related services pushed up the overall export figure.

Foreign sales of services grow 14pc in November on an annual basis

Services exports also include finance and insurance, transport and storage, wholesale and retail trade, public administration and defence sectors.

For promoting exports, the Pakistan Software Board has created an IT Export Strategic Framework and is executing programmes for the development of infrastructure, human capital, company capability, global marketing, strategy and research, and promotion of innovation and technologies.

The services sector has emerged as the main economic growth driver by contributing 61pc to GDP in 2020-21 from 56pc in 2005-06.

The import of services posted a negative growth of 15.51pc to $3.76bn in July-November against $4.45bn in the corresponding period last year. The import of services in November fell by 26.51pc to $715.11m from $973.04m a year ago.

The import of services rose 43.52pc to $12.14bn in 2021-22 against $8.46bn in the preceding year.

The trade deficit in services declined 49.5pc to $865.43m in July-November against $1.71bn over the corresponding months of last year. In November, the trade deficit in services dipped 83.85pc to $65.1m against $403.04m in the preceding month.

The trade deficit in services increased 105.73pc to $5.17bn in 2021-22 against $2.51bn in 2020-21.

The previous government announced several measures in the budget for 2021-22 for the promotion of the export of services, especially the IT sector.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2023

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