KARACHI: Pakistan’s information technology exports rose 47% to $ 1.9 billion in the 11 months of the current fiscal year 2020/21, central bank data showed on Friday.
Computer exports rose 59% year-on-year to $ 200 million in May. Exports amounted to $ 126 million in the same month of last year.
Telecommunications, computer and information services are the major items of service exports.
Data from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) further showed that services exports amounted to $ 5.3 billion in July-May for fiscal year 2021, compared to $ 5 billion for the period. corresponding to the previous financial year.
The growth in the country’s exports of technology products and services is attributed to the COVID-19-induced surge in freelance business.
In information and communication technology services, the growth came mainly from software and hardware services. It should be noted that Pakistani workers, including freelancers, are already well integrated into the global concert economy. In fact, globally Pakistan hosts the third highest number of freelancers working on the most popular web platforms for contract jobs. This enabled the country to capture the increase in global demand for ICT services during the period. The Commerce Department facilitated the enrollment of more than 30 exporters in the world’s leading online marketplace, Amazon.com, on a trial basis. This could potentially open a new path for Pakistan to increase its exports and create new employment opportunities locally.
The actions taken by the SBP have contributed to the increase in exports of computer services.
The central bank has allowed exporters of goods and services, including IT services, to keep a certain portion of their export earnings in their special foreign currency accounts.
In order to make it easier for exporters, the SBP has broadened the purposes for which funds held in these special foreign currency accounts can be used. 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 earnings allowed to exporters for retention in these accounts.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated the pace of digital transformation across the world. Requiring widespread closures and social distancing protocols, the pandemic has served as a litmus test for the readiness and resilience of the global economy to deal with unprecedented and unforeseen societal and trade disruptions, ”the SBP said.