Anusha Rehman, State Minister for Information Technology and Telecom, came down hard on the Information Technology (IT) industry today while revealing that only 25% of IT exports are documented while remaining inflows were coming through undocumented channels.
She said that Pakistan’s IT exports range between $2.5-2.7 billion a year. However, only $500 million of IT exports are registered with State Bank of Pakistan..
“Information Technology is an entirely un-regulated sector but it’s not acceptable for the government to extend all sorts of support and ultimately get only undocumented exports in return”, said the Minister, adding that government may go tougher on IT sector.
She also hinted at regulating the IT sector while saying, “Will government not want to regulate the sector?”.
During her speech at “PSEB IT Awards 2016” the minister put direct questions to the country’s top IT exporters while raising questions about discrepancies.
Exporters, on the other hands, were of the the opinion that while all rules and regulations are being followed, some errors in filling forms might have resulted in discrepancies.
The minister said that the government and industry has to come together to resolve this matter while adding that these remittances should be reflected in the SBP data.
The IT exporters raised their concerns and termed security, infrastructure as major hurdles in their way. However, minister rejected the concerns about security while saying it was a fairly general argument.
About infrastructure, the minister said that government is going to establish IT and Software parks across the country to provide friendly environment to the industry.
Responding to media questions about the outcome of bringing Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Frequency Allocation Board (FAB) under the administrative control of IT Ministry, Anusha Rehman said Prime Minister is the Minister-In-Charge of IT Ministry as well as Cabinet Division, hence there would be no effect on these Regulatory bodies performance.
She further said that IT Ministry is already implementing its policies in collaboration with PTA.
The minister added that the government’s decision of bringing PTA and FAB under IT ministry would help in value addition.
Chairman PTA, when asked by this correspondent on the matter, decided not to comment on it.