KARACHI, Jul 07 (APP): Federal Minister for Information Technology Syed Amin-ul-Haq on Thursday said Pakistan was ambitiously working to achieve $15 billion IT exports in next three years.
He was addressing a panel discussion on “Promoting U.S.-Pakistan Innovation and Investment” at National Incubation Centre Karachi (NICK) here at the NED University of Engineering and Technology.
U.S. Department of State Special Representative (S/R) for Commercial and Business Affairs Dilawar Syed participated in the panel discussion with co-speakers Dr Syed Akbar Zaidi, Executive Director of the Institute of Business Administration and Atif Rais Khan, Founder and CEO of technology company LMKT.
The minister said Pakistan’s IT (information technology) exports reached $2.6 billion in the fiscal year 2021-22 while target for 2022-23 was set at $3 billion,. The IT Ministry was fully determined to enhance the IT exports to $ 15 in its three-year plan, he vowed.
Following the vision of Digital Pakistan, he said, the IT Ministry had taken multiple steps for promotion of the sector, which resulted in expansion of internet connectivity, broadband, and cellular coverage in the country. Nowadays, 193 million Pakistanis had mobile phones and internet connectivity while earlier in FY 2018-19 the figure was 160 million.
By ensuring a steady monthly growth of broadband coverage and expansion of 4G technology, the government was eying the launch of 5G in Pakistan during the ongoing year, Aminul Haq said.
The minister said after digitisation of all the federal ministries and paperless cabinet meetings, now “we are working to materialise the objective of paperless parliament till coming March.”
He said the National Incubation Centres (NICs) played a significant role in promotion of entrepreneurship and the number of startups crossed 1,000 in the country which created hundreds of employment opportunities. The financial volume of startups remarkably increased five times (500%) to $373 million from $75 million of FY 2019-20.
The IT minister, emphasising on the importance of gender inclusiveness in national development, said there was 36 % representation of females in NICs and the ratio would be raised to 50% in the coming year.
US representative Dilawar Syed, while speaking at the panel discussion, said,“The US investors are attracted to the Pakistani market because of its large, young population and its entrepreneurial spirit.”
The United States would keep working to broaden bilateral trade, boost investment, and expand entrepreneurial and educational opportunities for all as part of its effort to build on 75 years of US-Pakistan economic cooperation, he maintained.
Appreciating Pakistani women entrepreneurs, who have successfully established their own businesses, Syed stressed the importance of nurturing sustainable and inclusive economic growth for Pakistan’s long-term prosperity and suggested that boosting digital and financial literacy for women and marginalized groups, for example, would help ensure Pakistan realize its entrepreneurial potential.
Earlier, the IT minister and the US special representative held a meeting and discussed avenues of mutual cooperation to strengthen Pakistan’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. Following the meeting, they toured the centre along with NICK officials and met with the Pakistani entrepreneurs.