The promotion of the IT sector can be significantly enhanced through long-term financing, which can facilitate various aspects such as the development of IT-related infrastructure, support for small businesses, promotion of IT exports, and funding for research projects.
Babur Majid, Chief Executive Officer of the National Information Technology Board (NITB), said this while talking to WealthPK.
Long-term loans from the financial markets will provide the necessary capital to drive growth, create employment opportunities, and position Pakistan as a competitive player in the global IT industry, he said.
As per a report from the Ministry of Science, the ITes (IT-enabled services) sector is experiencing rapid growth, contributing nearly 1% to the GDP, equivalent to an absolute value of $3.5 billion.
Babur said the IT sector required a robust infrastructure, including reliable internet connectivity, data centres, and technology parks.
“Owing to the prevailing unfavorable fiscal position of Pakistan, the government alone lacks the capacity to fully fund the IT projects. To ensure the growth of this sector, it is imperative for the financial markets, including banks, to step forward and provide loans that are essential for the development and upgradation of infrastructure,” he explained.
He further mentioned that the export potential of the IT sector could be realized by funding export-oriented IT startups and companies.
“Pakistan has immense potential for exporting software, IT services, and digital products. Long-term financing loans can be utilized to support the export-oriented IT companies, enabling them to expand their production capacities, establish marketing networks, and participate in international trade fairs and exhibitions,” said the NITB chief executive officer.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), in the first seven months of the ongoing FY2022-23, Pakistan achieved revenue of USD1,523.280 million by providing a variety of IT services to different countries. This reflects a growth rate of 2.38% compared to the previous FY 2021-22.
Babur lauded the government’s plan to list Pakistani IT companies on the GEM Board of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).
“By extending financing loans to the IT sector, it will become feasible to establish research and development (R&D) labs and provide funding for research projects. This approach will encourage the development of cutting-edge technologies, software solutions, and digital products within Pakistan, fostering innovation and technological advancement,” he said.