ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Thursday disclosed that Pakistan is providing IT (information technology) services to over 190 countries.

“We are exporting IT and IT-enabled services to more than 190 countries. Our IT industry is an integral part of the knowledge economy thereby earning repute as a leading offshore outsourcing destination through innovation, availability of talent, government incentives and other initiatives for the IT sector,” the premier said while addressing a Tech Destination Pakistan event which featured the launch of E-Rozgar Centers in the country.

“With over 90 per cent tele density, Pakistan was recently ranked as the second most financially attractive destination in the world for offshore outsourcing of IT and IT-enabled Services. Pakistan was also ranked as the third most popular country for freelancing,” he added.

“We believe that development of IT sector will bring huge benefits to the nation. It will help in creating more employment opportunities, increase revenues, lift service sector exports and boost foreign reserves,” he added.

Caretaker PM reveals Pakistan offering IT services to 190 countries; E-Rozgar centres launched

Mr Kakar said Pakistan with its talented and skilled human resource base, digital infrastructure, entrepreneurial spirit, and vision to digital transformation was all set to become a knowledge-based economy.

He told the gathering of diplomats, civil and military officers, industry leaders, freelancers and entrepreneurs that the Pakistan Software Export Board had increased the number of software technology parks (STPs) from eight across Pakistan to 30 now. “We are in the process of establishing another 40 software technology parks in the smaller cities across Pakistan.”

The caretaker PM said the government had envisioned bringing economic prosperity and citizen empowerment through digital transformation as it was working on the vision of “Digital Pakistan” through multiple cross-sectoral digital transformation initiatives.

The PM said the government was taking every step possible to facilitate the IT sector by creating an enabling environment and an ecosystem through a broad range of legislative, policy, regulatory and operational initiatives with a focus on inclusion to help reap full benefits of digitalisation.

Pakistan has experienced significant growth in the information and communication technology sector in recent years, he stated, adding, “The country’s ICT industry has become an important contributor to economy, generating revenue, attracting FDI and creating jobs”.

PM Kakar pointed out that the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and its various committees had already started to perform their role in an active manner. Among other priority sectors, bringing the IT sector under the umbrella of SIFC demonstrates the commitment of the government to further promote the ICT industry.

Highlighting the milestones achieved by the government, he mentioned 50 per cent foreign exchange retention, up-skilling and re-skilling of 100,000 individuals, centralised test for IT students, establishment of 10,000 Pakistan e-Rozgar Centers, Pakistan Startup Fund, approval of Digital Economy Enhance­ment Project, approval of Telecom Infrastructure Sharing Framework, Establishment of Telecom Appellate Tribunal, and National Space Policy.

“The establishment of e-Rozgar/Co-working centers across Pakistan, supported by interest-free loans and assistance in training costs, aims to enhance partner capacities. This initiative aims to create an ecosystem where talented individuals can thrive,” he remarked.

In his address, caretaker Minister for IT and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif said the event was the continuation of the journey started six months ago under the Tech Destination initiative.

He said the government, under the SIFC, had taken some radical steps to facilitate the IT firms which helped increase IT revenue by 13 per cent during last month. He said 65 E-Rozgar centers were already working in Punjab which had so far trained 80,000 people.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2024

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