The 4th Pakistan CIO Summit was held at a local hotel in Karachi, which was attended by the chief information officers (CIOs) and chief operating officers (CEOs) from Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector of Pakistan as well as government officials from Ministry of IT and Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB). The chief guest of the occasion was State Minister if IT Anusha Rehman, came specially from Islamabad.
The summit started with speeches by various executives from the industry followed by a documentary on Pakistan’s IT industry produced by PSEB under the auspices of MoIT. Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for IT Anusha Rehman, spoke about the ministry’s vision for IT, which is to put in place an accelerated digitisation ecosystem to enable socio-economic development, to expand knowledge-based economy, and to spur the economic growth.
She said that IT is the fastest growing exports sector of Pakistan at present with a growth rate of over 41% during 2014-15, adding that Pakistan is also in Upwork’s top 5 countries, the world’s largest freelancing network, in terms of freelancing revenue. She mentioned that the government is offering many incentives to investors in IT sector including zero taxes on exports, 100% repatriation of profits, 100% equity ownership, and 7-year tax holiday for venture capital funds. However, she added that the industry has to reciprocate and collaborate with the government on defining key performance indicators for IT sector over the next 5 years, such as increase in remittances, foreign direct investment and employment generation.
The minister emphasised the importance of public private partnership (PPP) and invited the IT industry to provide its inputs in the IT policy of the federal government to ensure growth of IT industry. She said that it is optimal time for local industries to use local software to support our own IT industry. She focused on the concept of gender balance in the IT industry and mentioned that the ministry has kept a minimum percentage of 30% females in all industry support programmes such as internships and trainings to motivate more females to join the IT workforce.
The chief guest also visited stalls of different exhibitors at the event and emphasised that the industry should play its role to aggregate figures to provide a better picture of Pakistan’s IT industry to the global world. The documentary was followed by a panel discussion on the changing face of telecommunications and evolving role of CIO.
The session was moderated by the PTCL chief digital services officer and included panelists from Faysal bank, Standard Chartered, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC), Unilever Pakistan, Telenor, Sanofi Aventis, and Pak Suzuki Motors.
The afternoon session included speeches from the State Bank deputy governor, RapidCompute, and New Horizon. This was followed by a panel discussion on cloud-based services and business intelligence. The moderator for the session was the Jaffer Brothers CEO while panelists were from Redtone, Bank Alfalah, Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB), Pakistan State Oil (PSO), Mobilink, Atlas Honda and Colgate Palmolive.