Pakistan’s IT industry has made exports of over 500 million dollars in the first six months of the financial year 2018-19. Far from being a success, it’s a worrying situation for policymakers, concerned bodies, and exporters. As per latest stats received from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), overall, the IT industry managed to export IT and IT-enabled services worth $540 million, seeing a miserable increase of $20 million compared to the exports figures of the same period last year.
The year-on-year increase of just 3.8% in the export value of the IT industry is a lot lower than expected and it is likely due to the impact of Rupee’s depreciation against Dollar. Realistically, development in IT exports is not observable, keeping in view the tax incentives and measures that were seen in recent years to promote this sector, mostly in the area of exports.
It is relevant to mention here that Pakistan’s Information Technology Business attained a target of $1 billion of exports in the last financial year 2017-18. But, Pakistan Software Exports Board (PESB) and Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) expected that the exports grew to an all-time high at $3.3 billion in the same year.
The exports of the IT industry could maintain their growth this financial year but won’t achieve the export earnings that were projected earlier. SBP worked extensively to provide banking channels to software houses and freelance workers of the IT industry but it seems that either the implementation is weak, not followed by IT exporters, or the exports of IT companies are stagnant.
Pakistan Software Exports Board (PSEB) chalked out a plan with the previous government to boost the exports to over $6 billion by the end of 2020 and $10 billion by the end of 2025. These targets seem unrealistic or highly unrealistic at present.