Federal IT Minister Solicits Support for IT/ITeS Industry: P@SHA Demands Ease of Doing Business to Solve Pakistan’s Economic Crisis
P@SHA welcomes the unconditional public support extended by the Federal Minister of Information Technology & Telecommunications (MoITT), Syed Amin Ul Haque, for the IT & ITeS industry. P@SHA strongly supports the solicitation of relevant public offices to cooperate with the IT &ITeS Industry to ensure ease of doing business.
The Federal Ministry of Information Technology & Telecommunications (MoITT) and Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) have previously strongly advocated to implement conducive policies for the industry and build an organized tech ecosystem in Pakistan. MoITT has made genuine, and concerted efforts to garner support for strategic demands for the industry. The federal minister had also provided assurance to support demands for the industry. However, while MoITT and PSEB have been supportive to the industry, other relevant stakeholders have failed to provide a similar level of support. In an unprecedented manner, the Federal Minister has condemned the public office for the lack of cooperation and support provided to the IT & ITeS industry over the industry’s demands.
According to M. Zohaib Khan, Chairman P@SHA, “The industry acknowledges the stance of the Federal IT minister regarding the challenges of the IT Sector. It is high time that the relevant stakeholders such as the Finance Ministry, FBR, SBP and SECP play their role to facilitate the IT & ITeS industry. In terms of policy interventions, the industry demands tax holiday for five years (which was announced till 2025), hassle-free forex retention and simplified movement, 5% Cash Reward for IT/ITES exporters, and capacity building of IT skills for youth of Pakistan”
While Pakistan grapples with economic crisis, IT & ITeS is the only sector which can potentially stabilize Pakistan’s economy. To bridge the current account deficit, the industry offers an increase in IT Exports and the inflow of revenue in the form of investments–both of which are critical to Pakistan’s economy. According to M. Zohaib Khan, Chairman P@SHA, “In FY 21-22, the IT & ITeS industry export proceeds were approximately USD 2.6 billion. In the services sector, the IT industry records the highest exports and it is the only industry with 77% trade surplus.”
While Prime Minister of Pakistan–H.E. Shahbaz Sharif– has given industry the export target of USD 15 billion, the sector is deprived of the support and cooperation from the government offices. To achieve the revenue target, policy incentives have to be introduced and bottlenecks to ease of doing business have to be removed. The export-growth of the industry and business development would be stimulated by ease of doing business and capacity building initiatives. The IT sector of Pakistan employs more than 600,000 people in the organized sector and freelancers. The youth as well as the established business has the potential to increase export exponentially.
However, to boost the exports of IT & ITeS industry and Pakistan’s economic growth, policy implementation and continuity must be ensured. Pakistan must manifest itself as a favourable tech destination. To do so, basic incentives like tax holiday, hassle-free forex retention and movement, skill development initiatives and cash reward should be implemented. Consistent lack of support by the relevant departments is counterproductive to achieving the export growth objective of the Prime Minister.
We strongly urge the Prime Minister to assert its rightful leadership and ensure cooperation and synergy across the ministries and relevant departments to ensure economic growth of Pakistan through the enablement of the IT & ITeS industry. The key to Pakistan’s economic growth is as simple as the introduction of basic policy incentives and their consistency for the IT & ITeS sector.