The lack of emphasis on exports is one of the main reasons for our economic distress. The country is relying on the local manufacturing hoping that someday, it will become strong enough to compete with the international market.
A few decades ago, labor-cost arbitrage was the only purpose for the local manufacturing of goods, however, the execution of automation and artificial intelligence in the local industries has deteriorated the labor-cost arbitrage. As time passed, the local manufacturing of goods has become the backbone of a few countries including China.
The availability of skilled human resources, natural resources, and transport infrastructure have become the basic necessity of mass production. The importance of services like marketing, research & development can’t be denied which, on average, is around 30% of the total local manufacturing.
The foreign manufacturers who invest in Information Communication & Technology (ICT) local market in Pakistan use a stable environment to increase the market share. The protection of local manufacturing is only valuable if the local manufacturing goods are contributing to the country’s economy without discarding the use of ICT devices.
“The State of Pakistan’s Economy” is the first-quarter report for the year 2018-19 that devoted a special section to ICT services exports. As per this report, Pakistan’s IT service exports grew 16% to $1,088 million.
The recently released Jul-Dec half-yearly export figures of the SBP reveal that compared with the corresponding previous Jul-Dec half year, the overall increase in exports was 4.5%, out of which the increase in exports of services was 6.1%, but the increase in exports of ICT services was 21.1%.
The growth of the digital economy and the increase in exports of ICT services is only possible due to the lower cost availability of ICT devices. For this purpose, the Prime Minister needs to emphasize IT and telecom by preparing sets of recommendations relating to IT, telecom and related human resource development.