Saturday Jun 26, 2021
KARACHI: A 47% increase was witness in Pakistan’s information technology exports, going up to $1.9 billion from July-May in fiscal year 2020-21, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan.
The central bank data showed IT exports increased 59% year-on-year to $200 million in May. The exports were $126 million in May last year.
Telecommunications, computer and information services are important items of services exports.
Exports of services stood at $5.3 billion in July-May fiscal year 2020-21 compared to the $5 billion in the corresponding period of last fiscal year, the SBP data showed.
The growth in the country’s technology product and services exports was attributed to the coronavirus induced surge in freelancing activities.
Within information and communication technology services, the growth mostly originated from software- and hardware-related services, The News reported.
Pakistani workers, including freelancers, are already well-integrated into the global gig economy. In fact, at the global level, Pakistan is host to the third-largest number of freelancers working on the most popular web platforms for contractual jobs.
This allowed the country to capture the increase in global demand for ICT services during the period.
The ministry of commerce facilitated enlisting more than 30 exporters on the world’s leading online marketplace, Amazon.com, on a trial basis. This could potentially open a new avenue for Pakistan to increase its exports and create new employment opportunities locally.
SBP's measures also contributed to a rise in the export of IT services.
The central bank allowed exporters of goods and services, including IT based services, to retain a certain portion of their export proceeds in their special foreign currency accounts.
The SBP broadened the purposes for which the funds retained in these special foreign currency accounts can be utilised. Banks are allowed to make payments from the accounts for a number of new purposes in addition to existing ones. However, there is no change in the percentage of export proceeds allowed to exporters for retention in these accounts.
The central bank said the coronavirus pandemic "significantly accelerated" the pace of digital transformation across the world.