ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s IT exports dipped almost three per cent year-on-year to $195 million in February.

However, Pakistan Software Houses Association for IT and ITES (P@SHA) blamed government policies for the decline in exports and demanded that several restrictions imposed over the flow of capital out of Pakistan should be eased.

According to those affiliated with software and IT industry, the export proceeds dropped because most of the software houses were not bringing their earnings to the country.

They also revealed that majority of those affiliated with this industry park their earnings abroad, mostly in Dubai, and manage those bank accounts digitally.

“The key reason is inconsistent government policies and lack of trust in the system especially since the start of current fiscal year,” said chairman P@SHA Zohaib Khan.

He referred to the directive issued by the State Bank of Pakistan on Jan 13 to facilitate freelancers to boost the exports coming from software and IT related services.

“The directive was to allow the IT service exporters to retain 35pc of their export earnings in special foreign currency accounts,” said Mr Khan, adding that the biggest trouble is that most of the banks do not have the required software to implement this directive up till now, and the facility will expire on March 31.

Mr Khan said the key changes made in the IT export policies by the incumbent government made it mandatory to keep payments to international platforms like Google App in order to purchase software and applications, and increased duties over IT exports as well.

However, the exports of IT sector have increased by 1.72pc to $1.71 billion during July-February 2023 of the current fiscal year, compared to $1.68bn in the same period of FY22.

Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2023

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