IT leading Pakistan’s fast economic development

By Cheng Xizhong

On March 8, President Dr. Arif Alvi, while addressing a gathering, said that it was inevitable for Pakistan to quickly jump on the bandwagon of information technology to achieve fast economic development as well as fulfill the market needs for human capital.

In order to stimulate the development of information technology and information industry, the Pakistani government has announced record incentives and also ensured the immediate solution of the issues faced by the IT sector.

Last August, Pakistani Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin approved the establishment of a fund with a total amount of Rs.10 billion for stimulating the development of the IT industry. The main measures include giving cash bonuses to IT export enterprises, providing a 5% export tax rebate, allowing foreign IT companies to transfer home their profits, and allowing freelancers to open special accounts in US dollars to collect their IT export income.

The recent announcement of a special tax relief package for the IT industry by the Pakistani government is a more encouraging decision that will help boost the country’s exports. Despite the pandemic, the export of Pakistan’s IT industry bucked the trend in the fiscal year 2019-2000, with the export volume reaching $1.5 billion, a sharp increase of 24% year-on-year. In the current fiscal year, it is expected to surpass the target of $3.5 billion. By the fiscal year 2022-2023, the export goal of more than $5 billion set by the Pakistani government will be achieved.

At the same time, the Pakistani government attaches importance to IT education. So far, around 2.2 million students, including those from remote areas, have joined a course on digital skills. Work in the IT sector is not restricted by region or gender, so it is playing a key role for women empowerment by allowing them to work from home.

Due to far-reaching nationwide transformation initiatives such as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan Vision 2025, the Pakistani government is now outlining digital economy transformation agendas.

From textile, food, agriculture, and telecommunications sectors to healthcare and fashion industries, Pakistan is increasingly adopting digitalization to keep up with the fast-evolving environment.

During his recent visit to China, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, while meeting with senior executives of Chinese enterprises, said that the IT industry has great potential in attracting investment, creating taxes and driving economic growth.

Encouraged by Prime Minister Imran Khan, more and more Chinese IT enterprises are now landing and investing in Pakistan. I firmly believe that China-Pakistan cooperation in the IT sector will make an important contribution to the development of Pakistan’s IT industry and the implementation of Pakistan’s digital strategy.