IT sector contributing $3.5b to GDP: minister

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HYDERABAD: Federal Minister for Information Technology Syed Aminul Haq has said that the IT sector contributes $3.5 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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He said this during a ceremony held to sign a contract for the establishment of an incubation centre in Hyderabad.

The Ministry of IT & Telecommunication will launch its 7th National Incubation Centre (NIC) in Hyderabad by summer of this year. The federal minister was the chief guest on the occasion.

The agreement was signed by Ignite CEO Asim Shahryar Husain and University of Sindh Jamshoro Hyderabad Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Siddique Kalhoro.

The ceremony was attended by MQM Member National Assembly Engineer Sabir Hussain Qaimkhani, Federal Secretary for IT & Telecom Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput, officials from IT Ministry, Ignite, University of Sindh, academia, business communities and others personalities from to IT Industries.

Speaking on the occasion, Haque said that the Ministry of IT & Telecom through its Organisation Ignite-National Technology Fund has already established five NICs, one each at Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta, Lahore and Peshawar, while the 6th NIC is being established in Faisalabad which will focus the agri-tech. In accordance with the government’s vision for ‘digital Pakistan’ and provision of an enabling environment for potential entrepreneurs, more NICs are being established in second tier cities and incubators in health-tech, gaming & animation and electronics, he added Therefore, to move forward, NIC is being established at Hyderabad to improve the effectiveness of variety of industries, including agriculture, livestock, ornamental industrial products, textile, sugar and cement, located at Hyderabad & its adjacent areas, he further said.

“Establishment of National Incubation Center at Hyderabad (13000 Sq Feet Area) has become a dire need for youth of Hyderabad and its surrounding rural Nd urban areas to transform traditional business approach into an innovative tech-oriented form,” Haque said.

He said that according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) global crises report 2021, the world could face many risks and threats pertaining to price instability, debt crises, commodity shocks, digital power concentration, and digital inequality. The good news is that Pakistan achieved decent economic growth in 2021 despite those risks, he added. This is due to the effective implementation of government policies and vision of the present government for prosperous Pakistan, he further said.

“During the outgoing year, an increase was observed not only in the yield of major crops but also in IT & ITeS exports. The IT Sector of Pakistan is contributing almost 1 percent of the GDP or almost around $3.5 billion,” he added.

Haque further stated that, Federal Ministry of IT sector & Telecom has been providing an enabling environment for all stakeholders of startup ecosystem to promote startup culture and attract foreign investments. Moreover, State Bank of Pakistan and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have also relaxed rules for attracting investment in technology-based business solutions, he added.

“As a result of these steps, investments in Pakistani startups have been at skyrocketing during 2021 and almost $373 million have been raised by Pakistani startup, which is almost five times higher than last year’s investment of $75 million,” he further said.

VC Dr Siddique stated that the establishment of NIC is highly a praiseworthy step of the government to fill-up this need.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the Ignite CEO stated that Hyderabad has always maintained its identity in all walks of life despite being the closest district near Karachi and is the agricultural hub of Sindh. Hence the city will maintain the same identity while having its own NIC, he added.

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