Pakistan’s exports have been increasingly showing the world faith in them. Our IT exports have crossed $1.9 billion for the first nine months of the Fiscal Year 2022. This is a 29% monthly and 24% yearly increase. Last year they were $209 million, whereas this year it has been $259 million. In July-March, the exports were 17%, whereas they increased 20% ($668 million) in March.
The upward trend in IT exports
The pandemic had affected many businesses and forced them to shut down. Remote work and e-learning have increased a lot of freelancing opportunities, which contributed to the increase in information and communication (ICT) exports. The increase was in software consultancy, call centers, and telecom services. The upward trend in IT exports is a good sign, as it will increase the foreign exchange.
E-commerce and distant learning
The pandemic started e-commerce and distant learning to open up avenues for financial technology (fintech) and logistics companies. Global investors, which saw an investment flow approached the firms that were offering digital solutions. Startups were being invested in, from the start to the establishment phase.
Despite the economic instability, there has been a growth in the IT sector. As per the Economic Survey of Pakistan (2020-2021), the IT growth rate was almost 19%. This was the highest growth of any industry. Micro-enterprises, independent consultants, and freelancers contributed $500 million. Whereas, domestic revenue crossed $1 billion.
First quarterly financial report FY22
According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)’s first quarterly financial report FY22, there has been an increase in the exports of the digital services firms and tech entrepreneurs which has also led to the global investments in the tech start-ups. The report added that during the pandemic, 70 million additional people from South Asia became digital consumers. SBP is also facilitating them in all aspects.
Syed Aminul Haq, Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication has directed the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSE) to facilitate achieving the IT exports remittances target. The vision of ‘Digital Pakistan’ encompasses matters related to IT and connecting the youth with the world.
IT Export Remittances
An overview of the exports in Telecommunication, computer, and information services are:
July 2021 to March 2022: $1.948 billion
FY 2020-21: $1.507 billion
March 2022: $259 million
March 2021: $209 million
February 2022: $201 million
July 2021 to March 2022: $1.47 2 billion (75.56%)
FY 2020-2021: $1.126 billion (74.72%)
It is welcoming news that our IT exports are contributing immensely to our remittances. The government support and facilitation of streamlining the system have started to bore fruits and the time is not far when Pakistan would be the leading exporter in the region.