Govt has set lower IT export target than others -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Govt has set lower IT export target than others

By Ijaz Kakakhel

ISLAMABAD: The government has estimated information technology (IT) exports at $350 million, which is extremely low as compared to the IT exports of other countries.

For example, Korea’s IT exports were $97 billion, Ireland’s IT exports reached $24 billion and India’s IT exports are estimated at $48 billion in the last fiscal year. For increasing the software and IT exports, besides attracting large multinational businesses in the country, local entrepreneurs and investors in large numbers should be attracted through incentives and infrastructure support to give impetus to the sector, experts suggested.

For this purpose, development of IT incubators to establish IT companies and encouraging venture capital funds to provide ‘one-window-facilitation’was recommended. A government-backed program to establish IT incubators will also be designed.

To attract large international businesses, the local IT companies need to complement their expertise as well as augment their capacity through clustering as well as mergers/acquisitions for successful business propositions. The mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures with foreign software houses will help in the promotion of software development, software business and transfer of technology. A proper mechanism to provide incentives should be put in place by the government, the experts further suggested. It would enable the local companies to transform into world-class companies.

The international businesses focus on adopting best practices to ensure delivery of quality services and products. The local IT companies should be encouraged in this direction. For this purpose, incentives such as tax concessions/rebates/support should also be given to local IT companies for achieving higher CMMI Level certification, opening offices overseas and for earning foreign exchange from software exports.

Silicon Valley USA, Multimedia Corridor in Malaysia, and Internet City in Dubai are examples that have led to the growth of IT industry in the respective countries.

The experts told Daily Times that IT is now recognized as an important vehicle for accelerated development and uplift of the people in many countries of the world. This, in turn, is facilitating the worldwide exchange of information and sharing of experience, knowledge and services. In the recent past, global recession has slowed down the economies, but information technology is showing the way to recovery of the businesses and economies through innovative and smarter solutions.

Pakistan’s economy has been under tremendous pressure in the last fiscal year and this has also affected the IT sector. The growth had slowed down with no significant and sizeable investments coming during the current year 2009-10 into the country. Despite this slow-down, the IT Sector is still vibrant enough and is envisaged to pick-up by the end of 2010-11. Several global IT companies such as NCR, IBM and Oracle use Pakistan as a regional hub for South Asia and Middle East. In the public sector development program (PSDP) 2010-11, the government allocated an amount of Rs 3.2 billion for IT sector for 71 projects costing total Rs 14 billion.

Official in the ministry of information technology told Daily Times here on Saturday that during the current fiscal year 2010-11, the government focused on human resource development related projects.

Five year National ICT Scholarship Program launched last year would be continued to provide opportunities to the students of rural and less developed areas to get access to best quality ICT education in Pakistani universities. The target for the year is to provide foundation training to about 9,000 students. About 700 successful students from this foundation training would get scholarships for four-year Bachelor’s degree programmes in various national universities.

Pakistan Computer Bureau (PCB) planned to provide basic IT training to 5,000 government employees. Training on Open Source Software will be conducted to raise the skills in the use of open source software for more than 6,000 users. Also, more than 1100 people will benefit from different professional courses.
Source: Daily Times