The target for the inflow of IT export remittances for 2020-23 has been set at $5 billion, said Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque.

Responding to various supplementary questions during question hour in the Senate on Tuesday, the minister said IT exports registered a 40% increase in the past six months.

He informed the house that Pakistan would start assembling mobile phones and their accessories soon and a policy had been approved by the Economic Coordination Committee and the cabinet.

“IT sector has the potential to increase its exports to over $10 billion,” he said. “Pakistan’s IT industry is evolving rapidly, earning foreign exchange, creating high-paying jobs, improving national productivity and quality of life through innovative technological solutions.”

It could be reflected in the fact that remittances from the export of IT and IT-enabled services (ITeS) reached $1.23 billion with a growth of 23.71% in fiscal year 2019-20 despite the global economic challenges, he said.

The minister pointed out that exports had stood at $994.8 million in the previous fiscal year. IT and IT-enabled services comprise computer services and call centre services. He pointed out that North America, the UAE and the UK were currently the largest markets for Pakistan’s IT industry. “Pakistan’s IT sector exports products and services to over 100 countries and the world’s largest entities are among its regular clients,” the minister told the Senate. “It is the largest net service export industry in Pakistan.”

He underlined that Pakistan’s IT sector had enough room to provide state-of-the-art IT products and services. On the other hand, it has ample potential to significantly boost foreign exchange earnings for the country.

Haque said southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were mentioned in the Gazette published by the IT ministry for determination of underserved areas under Rule 2 (XXIV) of USF Rules 2006 for the launch of next generation broadband services in the unserved and underserved areas of Pakistan.

He added that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) was in the process of revising quality of service and rollout obligations to improve communication services all over Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2021.

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