Pakistan’s information technology sector has the potential to increase its exports by $10 billion in the next three years, which can help the country to earn foreign exchange and create jobs.
However, various policy and regulatory barriers are hindering the growth of IT sector. First, the process of opening a bank account for freelancers is complicated. Second, foreign exchange control mechanisms do not allow free movement of foreign exchange for IT sector firms and freelancers. Third, the central bank has failed to facilitate foreign investors in establishing venture capital funds. In a recent roundtable of investors organised by the National Incubation Centre (NIC) Islamabad, Learners’ Republic and other partners, the SBP’s regulatory policies emerged as a major reason for a lack of investment in the IT sector. Fourth, efforts to establish a payment gateway have not been successful. Considering this, the SBP should devise policies to allow for free movement of foreign exchange by IT sector firms as there are huge financial and economic benefits of removing regulatory hindrances.