February 24, 2019: The exports of software consultancy services has grown to US$ 175.127 million in first six months of this fiscal year as compared to US $ 140.471, showing an increase of US $ 34.6 million amid 24 per cent growth.
Software consultancy services have become an increasingly central part of Pakistan's Information Technology (IT) industry with 32.4 per cent share in overall exports in first half of on-going year.
The growth in exports of software consultancy service is more than overall exports of ICT services which stood at US $ 540 million with a growth of 3.8 percent in first half which means business of software consultancy is leading overall IT sector.
According to the data updated by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the specialized field software consultancy attracts a significant share of exports earning as compared to other fields such as computer software, hardware consultancy services, call center, free-lancing, and telecom.
The exports of software consultancy have not only grown this year, but they have shown an upward trajectory for past couple of years including its dominating contribution to overall exports of Pakistan's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
The overall growth in this field was seen due to improvement in demand and acceptance of Pakistani companies and their hi-ended qualitative services in different foreign markets.
Besides, the particular field of IT has been developed painstakingly by local companies in-house through investment and talented human resource.
As for sector's composition, export revenues of 30 per cent of total 3,228 ICT exporting entities came from computer software including software consultancy service; the rest had either limited or revenues only from low value-added services (e.g. call centers).
Meanwhile, as per experts, the dominance of low value-added services is not favorable for the country on a sustainable basis, particularly from foreign exchange generation perspective.
The breakdown suggests that the average receipts from software exports including software consultancy were more than double the average receipts from other ICT exports. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that only 56 firms had exports of US $ 2 million and above, as an overwhelming majority of firms could not even fetch US $ 0.1 million receipts during current financial year.
The industry as well as the government need to take a unified initiative to explore markets of this exports-oriented field and develop a long-term phase-wise strategy to enhance size of local industry and its core strength. It is because the field of software consultancy could generate more exports income than other fields of IT.