There has been lots of discussion on Pakistan’s future and how we are to move towards more digital avenues for trade and export. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s ‘Digital Pakistan’ initiative is the latest iteration of this ambition to make our country a technological powerhouse. However, what often gets ignored is that even in the present, Pakistan’s nascent tech industry is making countless strides and is a valuable addition to our economy.

This is evidenced by the fact that the IT industry made $1302.730 million by exporting its services to other states in the Financial Year 2019-2020. Discussions on the future are imperative, but it is also important to take stock of the current situation and try and facilitate existing IT service exporters in any way possible.

The only way to really do that however, is to understand the industry; it is quite obviously unlike any traditional exporting sectors such as textile or agriculture. To make the IT industry thrive—more so than it is currently—is simple enough if we try and improve three areas in relation to this. The first of these is skill-building; we have to ensure that more and more members of the younger generation can participate in the IT industry, and the only way to do that is by improving skill sets and education in computer science-related subjects. In this sphere, the government is already trying its level-best and seeing results as well.

But what the government has so far failed in, are the other two aspects. Conducting business outside the country should be made easier by not overly regulating the internet and it is high time Pakistan also has access to international financial transaction platforms. These are issues that do not prevent the export of IT services, but do make it substantially difficult.

Pakistan is brimming with talented minds that can be international leaders in the IT industry, but so far, we are preventing ourselves from realising our true potential. The only way to do that is by completely integrating our IT industry with the international market.