Economic Survey of Pakistan 2024 Highlights Growth in IT and Telecom Sectors

A dynamic scene depicting the growth of the IT and telecom sectors in Pakistan, featuring modern technology elements like fiber optic networks, data c

The Economic Survey of Pakistan 2024 underscores significant growth prospects in the IT and telecommunication sectors, fueled by the China-Pakistan digital corridor. The Information Technology (IT) Industry Joint Working Group (JWP) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is dedicated to enhancing the ICT infrastructure of both countries. This group aims to establish a China-Pakistan digital corridor, boost investment cooperation in the digital economy, and support the development and implementation of new digital technologies.

SI Global Solutions CEO Noman Said shared with The Express Tribune, “This initiative, part of CPEC, aims to enhance digital connectivity through improved fibre optic networks, data centres, and cloud computing capabilities. These developments are expected to attract substantial Chinese investment, boost local startups, create job opportunities, and position Pakistan as a regional technology hub.”

Said highlighted the IT sector’s potential for growth in software development and IT services, supported by competitive labour costs and a skilled workforce. The expansion of 4G and the upcoming 5G networks further underscore the promising future of telecommunications in Pakistan.

He emphasized the need for a long-term policy framework to sustain and maximize these opportunities. The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) plays a crucial role in this regard by streamlining regulatory processes and fostering a business-friendly environment, particularly through initiatives like the one-window operation.

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb stressed the importance of growth in agriculture and IT, where locals can achieve substantial progress. The survey suggests that investing in Pakistan’s IT and telecom sectors can drive economic growth, generate employment, increase foreign exchange earnings, and improve productivity across various industries. Strategic investments in infrastructure, human capital development, and a supportive environment for technology-based businesses are essential for unlocking the sectors’ full potential.

The Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) reported significant growth in the ICT sector, with over 20,000 IT and IT-enabled Services (ITeS) companies registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). ICT export remittances increased from $339 million to $2.283 billion during FY2024 (July-March), compared to $1.944 billion the previous year. In March 2024 alone, ICT services export remittances surged to $306 million, a 36% increase from March 2023. The IT and ITeS industry achieved a trade surplus of $1.996 billion, the highest among all services, while the overall services sector recorded a trade deficit.

Pakistan’s ICT industry exports to 170 countries and territories, with top export destinations including the USA, UK, UAE, Ireland, Singapore, Canada, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, and Malaysia.

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