ICTs services exports register 14.5pc growth in first quarter

ISLAMABAD: The exports of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services and related sectors have registered a double-digit growth of 14.5 per cent, surging to $ 252 million during the first quarter of this year.

During the same period of July to September 2016-17, the exports recorded in this domain were $ 220.2 million.

The statistics issued by State Bank of Pakistan have shown that local companies and startups related to

Information Technology (IT) and similar sectors have continued to expand their market share in foreign market as a value of exports recorded double-digit growth.

Pakistani companies usually export ICT services to United States, Middle East and North African countries. Major heads of exports included software and hardware consultancy, telecommunication services, call centre services and export of software.

In the last financial year 2016-17, IT exports and related services touched nearly $ 1 billion reaching an all-time high. It is expected that exports will cross the $ 1 billion mark this year.

According to Pakistan Software Exports Board (PSEB), Pakistan has been showing a healthy growth rate of IT and ITES exports in South Asia during the last three years. It grew by 71 per cent from June 2013 to June 2016.

In last financial year as well, Pakistan’s IT and related services exports have grown at a faster pace than India and Sri Lanka. Pakistan’s growth rate during 2016-17 was 16 per cent whereas Sri Lanka was at 5 per cent.

The statistics of IT services exports are usually labelled as remittances under IT sector but the industry strongly believes that overall exports are three times higher than the reported numbers which include exports of services by freelancers and various IT services in different sectors such as financial and textile sectors.

Accordingly, the exports of IT and related services stand $ 756 million by end of first quarter of 2017-18, which will likely to touch a mark of $ 3 billion as per estimates.

In this regard, the central bank is working to bring IT companies and service providers on-board. It has designed a reporting structure of inflows that will help in increasing inflows of IT sector in future if companies follow this pattern.

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