Ex-Chairman P@SHA takes to Twitter to speak on Pakistan’s IT growth

By Muneeb Ahmad on
January 7, 2019
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Pakistan has got one of the most favorable conditions to economic growth and IT prosperity. Despite the large pool of the young-age population, the country hasn’t been able to have a ground-breaking growth. Former Chairman P@SHA very recently took to Twitter to explain what in his opinion were the reasons to the dismal growth of IT in Pakistan.

“Why is Pakistan’s IT Industry just generating 1 billion USD while India generates 150 billion USD and Philippines 40 billion USD? I get asked this question a lot,” ex-Chairman Pakistani Software Houses Association and CEO Vizteck mentioned in a tweet. Barkan Saeed then went on to explain his key observations surrounding this matter.

Barkan Saeed listed as much as 10 points on this issue which are summarized below.

1. No Special Economic Zones

Barkan started off with first writing about the non-existence of the Special Economic Zones in Pakistan. He mentioned that India has as much as 113 Special Economic Zones for IT since last 2 decades while Bangladesh was quickly following up with developing these since the past 2 years. Pakistan, on the other hand, had zero such zones.

Special Economic Zones, in Barkan’s opinion, are the key to developing ease of doing business. Special tax incentives are provided along with one-window facilities to stimulate the IT company growth within the country.

2. Provision of infrastructure like land

SEZs will also facilitate the availability of vacant land to be used by these tech companies, on decreased rentals.

With this, the discussion around developing tech cities also came under focus. Barkan mentioned that what if cities the size of big housing cities are developed to accommodate the regional office of big tech companies along with new startups. 5 of the top 10 companies in Pakistan have the capacity to add as much as 5000 jobs in Pakistan within six months, but there was no space to house them.

Barkan said that a company in Islamabad was looking for a suitable place for their company’s operation but hasn’t since been able to find one, since the past 6 months.

2. Political activity to make laws more flexible

The ex-Chairman P@SHA mentioned that the existing political laws weren’t very suitable to the lean startup culture, rather they had been developed keeping the traditional industries in mind. Active IT involvement of private sector aside, how far we are from IT progress that we haven’t yet been able to put relevant laws in place. “We haven’t worked on PPRA laws and have failed to develop the capacity of our local industry through helping them partner with international companies.”

3. Redefining Approach

Overall, all of the discussion was very rightly pointed towards tackling this problem with a very practical and renewed approach. A startup-friendly and a more tech-suited approach should be put in place. Barkan mentioned that many big companies want to enter Pakistan’s tech arena, Pakistani should be acting on a salesman kind of approach rather than a “Slow Customer Support Approach”. This could turn the table around for Pakistan, for good.

It’s no hidden fact that Pakistan has a lot of potential for scaling IT-related infrastructure. Now, facilitating the boom is all the government has to do. Pakistan should be able to ride on the IT wave that the world is now experiencing. This sector has given the world all of its most recent tycoons and multi-billion dollar companies. The earlier we understand this, more we can compete in the survival of the fittest game.

Featured Image Via P@SHA

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