LAHORE: Caretaker Federal Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoITT) Minister Dr Umar Saif said due to timely decisions of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) on the recommendations of the Ministry of IT, the overall IT exports in the country have increased by a record 32 percent in the last 60 days.

He expressed these views while addressing the prize distribution ceremony organized by the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), an organization of the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, on Tuesday. PSEB Additional Secretary IT and Chief Executive Officer Ayesha Humaira Moriani, Member IT Syed Junaid Imam, PASHA Chairman Muhammad Zohaib Khan, other officials from MoITT and a large number of eminent personalities from the IT industry were present on the occasion.

On this occasion, he distributed PKR 825 million as a cash prize to the companies playing a significant role in IT and IT-enabled services exports and said if the performance of the IT sector continues like this, it is hoped that the target of US $10 billion for IT exports will be achieved soon.

He said “The IT industry, which has a pivotal role in the country’s economy, deserves maximum incentives, facilities and rewards; these companies are strengthening the country’s economy by earning huge foreign exchange in return for the services of digital talent of Pakistani talent worldwide.”

Highlighting the causes behind the distribution of huge cash prizes and awards, Dr Saif said the IT ministry decided to encourage companies with positive growth in IT exports for which the government had allocated Rs 1 billion in the annual budget. “In the first and second quarters of the current financial year, the performance of many companies in IT exports also showed a positive trend.

In such a situation, it was decided to give cash prizes from the allocated fund to encourage companies and accelerate positive growth,” he added.

The Minister further said that out of the fund of Rs 1 billion, Rs 825 million have been distributed to 550 companies with positive growth. “For this purpose, six categories have been made, the first top 100 companies have been awarded Rs 2.5 million, the second 100 companies Rs 2 million, the third 100 companies Rs 1.5 million, the fourth 100 companies Rs 1.25 million, the fifth 100 companies Rs 750,000 and the sixth and last category 50 companies have been awarded Rs 500,000 each. Out of these 550 companies, the top 10 have been awarded cash prizes and trophies for outstanding performance,” he added.

Dr Saif said that out of Rs 1 billion, the remaining Rs 175 million will be given to companies employing trained IT-skilled people. “For this purpose, a particularly innovative endeavor is the Industry Co-Opt Programme, developed in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and PASHA, IT industry association.

This program seeks to provide apprenticeship opportunities to IT students.

To incentivise IT and ITeS exporters to participate in and support the Co-Opt Programme in placing the final year students of bachelor’s degree in computer sciences and related computing technology fields as interns. An estimated 3,500 interns will be placed in the IT and ITeS exporters that will be a part of the Co-Opt Programme and Rs 50,000 per intern will be paid to the participant exporters.

This process will not only highlight the capabilities of the IT-skilled youths, but the industry will also be able to get talented youths according to their need and market demand. On the other hand, cash prizes will cause a significant increase in the country’s IT exports by creating an atmosphere of competition among IT companies,” he added.

Earlier, PSEB Additional Secretary IT and Chief Executive Ayesha Humaira Moriani said that six categories were created in terms of IT consultancy services, IT products and solutions, call centres, gaming and animation, women entrepreneurs, and fast growing companies. “The IT and ITeS Export Awards 2024 underscored Pakistan’s commitment to fostering innovation, driving economic growth, and positioning itself as a key player in the digital economy.” She added.

Speaking on this occasion, PASHA Chairman Mohammad Zohaib Khan termed the process of giving cash rewards and awards as the best step for the IT sector and said that this decision of the caretaker IT Minister is giving encouragement and confidence to the IT companies and freelancers. “We will continue to increase our role in the economic stability of the country,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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Ash Chak Feb 14, 2024 09:47am
What a farce.
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