While officially representing Pakistan at London Tech Week, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK, Mohammad Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan is rapidly becoming a preferred source of software developers, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) specialists, programmers, and designers, and has been ranked third most financially attractive location in the world for offshore services.
London Tech Week is an annual feature that attracts 55,000 tech-loving people, with a social media outreach of 297 million. The high commissioner Nafees in collaboration with Seers Digital Group and Retail Direct Group formally represented Pakistan in the session of “Tech Pakistan 2019 Initiative, the next big opportunity” during the event.
While talking about the presence of global tech companies in Pakistan, Zakaria said that global enterprises like Bentley, Ciklum, IBM, Mentor Graphics, S&P Global, Symantec, Teradata, and VMware had established consulting services centers, research & development facilities, and BPO support services centers in Pakistan.
The diplomat highlighted that Pakistan was ranked third most popular country for freelancing in the Online Labour Index published in July 2018 by Oxford Internet Institute (OII). He further stated;
“There were more than 6,000 IT (information technology) & allied companies currently registered in Pakistan. We are a vibrant economy of 220 million consumer market with 64 percent young population and a rapidly digitizing and an ever-growing appetite for technology and innovative services.”
The most intriguing part of his speech was the fact that Pakistan’s IT sector has a promising future, brimming with talent and with a potential to become the largest export industry of the country from currently $3.5 billion to $20 billion.
Zakaria also discussed several benefits that IT businesses get in Pakistan. These incentives including tax holiday for venture capital funds till 2024, zero income tax on IT exports till June 2025, and income tax exemption to Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) registered IT startups for three years with no or minimum withholding tax.
He believes that Pakistani startups are gaining international recognition and investment, whereas small and medium enterprises (SMEs) businesses also driving innovation, economic growth and job creation in the country.