ISLAMABAD: The IT and IT-enabled Services (ITeS) export remittances comprising computer services and call center services have surged to $1.003 billion at a growth rate of 23.42 percent in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2019-2020 (July-April), compared to $812.648 million during the same period of 2018-2019, according to performance report of Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), an organization under the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication.

The ministry spokesman said that on the direction of the Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication to promote Pakistan's IT industry and to enhance its exports, all possible steps are being taken to ensure sustainable growth of Pakistan's IT Industry including strong incentives, tax breaks, capability and capacity improvement of the IT industry among others.

Over 6,000 Pakistan-based IT companies are providing IT products and services to entities in over 100 countries.

Strong inventive are being provided to the IT industry and there are several projects intended to facilitate and assist IT industry in its growth trajectory and to ensure continued upward momentum in local and export earnings.

Pakistan was ranked the 3rd most popular country for freelancing in the world, and Pakistani IT companies are providing products and services to the world's largest companies.

Pakistan's ICT Industry has been a resounding success story for Pakistan, having achieved a stellar remittance inflow growth rate and being the largest net exporter in the services sector.

As of April 2020, ITeS export remittances, including telecommunication, computer and information services have surged to $1.177 billion at a growth rate of 20.85 percent over the first 10 months of 2019-2020, in comparison to $973.760 million during the same period in 2018-2019.

In view of the possible fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, the secretary IT directed to ensure close coordination with the IT industry to minimise the impact of the pandemic on the IT industry and to take all possible steps to ensure maximum facilitation and assistance to the industry during these challenging times.

The government has prepared an incentives package for promotion of information technology sector, envisaging increasing IT sector exports from the current around $1 billion to $10 billion by 2023.

Information technology is emerging as a vital organ of national economy and government is paying great deal of heed to promote IT sector, maintained in official documents.

The incentives package includes various measures and is being designed after a thorough analysis of other important IT destinations of the region such as Philippines, China, Bangladesh, and India. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) Secretary, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, told Business Recorder that the government was focused on increasing IT sector exports to $10 billion as soon as possible.

All the stakeholders are on board and the target is very much achievable, Siddiqui added.

He also confirmed the incentives package, while saying that the government wanted to facilitate that sector, which had huge potential to increase the country's exports manifold.

A summary to the prime minister is under process to encourage Pakistani products and to give preference to Pakistani software products by all ministries/divisions, which would help in growth of IT business. Special Technology Zones will be developed in the country to promote IT/ITeS growth.

In this regard, Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) proposal of Rs6.5 billion has been submitted to the Planning Commission by the MoITT. The MoITT has submitted proposal to the PM's Office for resolving issues related to double taxation of IT companies.

This initiative will help in removing impediments in IT business growth as well.

A summary to the prime minister is under process to declare Islamabad “Knowledge City".

This initiative will promote international branding of Islamabad as an attraction for investment by foreign IT companies.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020