The 21st century boasts of a technological era. It’s about time this field got due recognition. The volume of growth in exports has increased tremendously, for example, currently China’s exports are at $86 billion and they are increasing with each passing year. This should set a motivating precedent for those wishing to pursue their career in the Information Technology (IT) industry in Pakistan.
Development and growth are two buzz words which are extremely common, but in practice, these simple words lack the planning in order to make the industry sustainable and boost productivity. This noticeable practice is visible to some extent under the leadership of Dr Umer Saif at the Punjab Information Technology Board, though it is lacking in other provinces.
Considering Pakistan has more than 20,000 computer science majors entering the market every year, the government and business set ups should look into expanding this market. Incentives and subsidies should be given by the government, just as they are for other sectors.
There’s no doubt that the development of the IT sector will contribute to the economy, it already accounts for $2.8 billion in global sales. Unfortunately, Pakistan (which has massive amounts of untapped potential) only contributes 1% to the global IT industry – a dismal number to say the least.
A clear example of countries flourishing due to their respective IT industries can be seen in India and Singapore. Thus, we as a nation, it is obvious that we have everything to gain from a boost in the IT sector.
In order to go the full way, we need to have a strong initiative and drive at all levels to produce results and convert our resources into foreign exchange earners. More IT centric universities need to be set up, along with workshops and internships. These steps can further hone individual skills.
But there are a few bumps along the road of course.
Firstly, the recognition of IT as an industry is next to nonexistent in Pakistan. The industry requires support in terms of a sound policy and a thorough road map. This can only be achieved through reigning in the youth, since that’s where most ideas and innovations come from. Today’s youth is tomorrow’s future; therefore they need to be stimulated and mentored so they end up becoming international achievers.
The IT Industry has demanded further 10 year tax holiday on exports of software and IT enabled services. The tax holiday for exports need to be clear and certain so as to control flight of capital to UAE and other countries.
As we’re still a developing nation, there’s plenty of room to grow and expand and with campaigns such as Digital Pakistan 2020, one can’t help but be hopeful for a bright future for our young and upcoming innovators.
Written by Noman Said