Software exports booming -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Software exports booming

ISLAMABAD- Pakistan said it would offer its neglected but nascent information technology sector a major boost aiming to increase software export to over $1 billion annually within the next five years.

Science and Technology Minister Atta-ur-Rchman in an interview said that the country’s IT sector showed tremendous potential.

“If we talk about software exports we are aiming to have about 40,000 software engineers developed in the next five years so that we can have a multi-billion dollar export figure,” Rehman said.

Pakistan’s existing software exports are put at between $50 million to $100 million a year.

Military ruler General Pervez Musharraf, after seizing power in a bloodless coup in October 1999, hand-picked Rehman, a chemistry professor and a noted scientist, to spearhead his government’s drive to boost the IT sector.

Since being hired in 1999, Rehman has turned around what he calls the “criminal neglect of the sector to make a priority of the military government with the belief that it could be an engine of economic growth.

In the current financial year that ends on June 30 the budget for science and technology was raised to 4.8 billion rupees ($76 million) from a meager 200 million rupees the previous year.

For the next year starting in July Rehman hopes the budget for area of responsibility would be again raised by up to 35 percent most of it for the Information Technology sector and the rest for other scientific and research programmes.

“But Information Technology is getting the highest priority because it is here we feel the maximum impact on the society will be,” Rehman said, citing a long list of government achievements made in the last eight months.

Source: Business Recorder
Date:5/31/2001